Damac customer data on eBay

Given that so many organizations in so many parts of the world have managed to lose customer data, its not surprising that the UAE has finally caught up and had its own high profile data loss

Tags: Cyber crimeDAMAC PropertiesData leakageeBay Incorporated
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By  Mark Sutton Published  June 7, 2008

Given that so many organizations in so many parts of the world have managed to lose customer data, its not surprising that the UAE has finally caught up and had its own high profile data loss.

This particular incident seems a bit curious though - and not just curious that Dubai didn't go for its usual superlative 'biggest data leak in the world ever!' approach.

I'm inclined to think that this is possibly a malicious hoax meant to discredit Damac, the real estate developer who is reported to have lost the details of 8,000 high net worth customers. Given that the company recently upset a number of their customers by attempting to cancel a real estate project, its not unimaginable that someone pretended to have their customer data and posted it up on the world's biggest online auction site to 'sell' it.

There's a fair bit of detail surrounding what was leaked, but Damac's spin masters haven't exactly confirmed whether they really lost the data or not, and are probably not likely to.

Of course, stealing a database, for an inside job, can be a easy as copying files over the network onto a USB stick. Given standards of security among so many companies in the region, its entirely possible this is what happened.

If it was an outside theft, again, I'm not convinced that many organizations in the region are properly secure, especially in the real estate sector, so its possible that it was the work of a hacker. 

If the theft was genuine, then whoever did it was a bit of an amateur. Note to the data thief - next time, try 'quietly' selling the data to either a Damac competitor, or on a hacker auction site. And the data is worth a fair bit more than 750 quid...

Which brings me back to the idea of a malicious hoax. eBay is pretty good at removing illicit items from sale, but its also seen by hundreds of thousands of people every day. Claiming to have customer data and posting an offer to sell it in a high profile auction site seems like a pretty effective way to grab some headlines.

If anyone can shed any light on the situation - any high net worth Damac customers started getting phone calls from crappy banks in the UAE trying to sell them credit cards perhaps? - then please let me know...

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