Brookfield Residential admits suffering a data security incident

The home construction division of one of Canada’s largest publicly-traded companies has acknowledged it was hit with a cyberattack last week.

Brookfield Residential Properties, a wholly-owned division of Brookfield Asset Management (BAM), which owns or invests in $540 billion in real estate, energy and infrastructure companies in 30 countries, said late Monday that it was victimized by an unspecified cyberattack.

“We recently identified a data security incident, which involved unauthorized access to a limited subset of files,” the division said in a statement to IT World Canada. “We immediately alerted appropriate authorities, restored affected systems and implemented additional security measures.”

A spokesperson for Brookfield Properties said the company is also reaching out to any individual whose information may have been accessed. It believes only internal employees may be affected.

The statement did not address allegations by a new threat group called DarkSide, which said last week it had hit Brookfield with a ransomware attack and was threatening to release stolen data unless an unspecified amount of money is paid. The group data it allegedly copied included corporate and employee information. It did not say which of the many divisions of Brookfield were attacked.

The spokesperson for the parent company took pains to stress that Brookfield Residential has its own corporate network that is separate from the parent company, which wasn’t hit.

Brookfield Residential, which is wholly-owned by BAM, has $5.7 billion of attached and detached properties under development or construction in Canda and the U.S. The spokesperson, who asked not to be identified, said Brookfield Residential is an independently operating portfolio company that runs on an isolated network and domain.

The cyberattack comes at a sensitive time for publicly-traded Brookfield Asset Management. In 2019, it had a net profit of $5.4 billion. However, that was before COVID-19. On Aug. 13, it reported a net loss of almost $1.5 billion for the second quarter of this year in part after writing down the market value held by its commercial properties unit. In an Aug. 6 release, the Brookfield Property Partners unit said finances were “impacted significantly this quarter by the widespread closures of our hospitality and retail assets due to the global economic shutdown.”

Meanwhile, Brookfield Residential has weathered the storm relatively well. In a June 30 quarterly report, the unit said the pandemic significantly impacted the early part of the period sales. However, more recently, sales have sharply picked up. Net new home orders increased 18 per cent, and July was even better. For the three months ended June 30, 2020, income before tax was $22 million, which was similar to the same period of 2019. Despite the uncertainties and challenges due to COVID-19 the unit delivered 634 homes and 164 lots in Q2 2020, compared to 763 homes and 756 lots in the prior year.

(The original version of this story erroneously attributed some statements to Brookfield Asset Management. The statements should have been attributed to Brookfield Residential Properties. IT World Canada apologizes for the error).

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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