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ISSUE 73 – March 11, 2019
Zillow slapped with $60 million lawsuit over hacked listing of Bel Air mansion
Seller sues listings giant for negligence after hackers post false sales info.
Zillow Group is facing a $60 million lawsuit for negligence after a listing on its site was hacked last month.
The listing – for a $150 million property in Bel Air, California – was hijacked by someone using a Chinese internet protocol address who posted false sales information about the property, according to an article in The Washington Post.
The hackers claimed that the property had been sold multiple times for tens of millions of dollars below asking price – once for $110 million, then for $90.5 million and then $94.3 million. They also posted notice of an open house for the property, which would be unusual for a luxury listing at this price.
The new construction property is a 38,000-square-foot mansion overlooking the Pacific Ocean with 12 bedrooms, 21 bathrooms, three kitchens, five bars, a bowling alley, tennis courts, wine cellars and an infinity pool. (Check out photos here.)
According to a complaint filed in federal district court in Los Angeles by the seller of the property – a limited liability company controlled by luxury builder Bruce Makowsky – the false sales information inflicted damage on the sellers by dramatically corrupting the listing price.
According to the suit, the hackers were able to get past Zillow’s security questions to gain control of the listing. The plaintiffs also allege that Zillow ignored repeated requests over the course of a week from the seller’s attorneys to block the hacker’s access.
The suit claims that Zillow did not have appropriate safeguards in place to prevent hackers from logging into its system to post false information.
A Zillow spokesperson told the Post that the company is in the process of updating its verification system that grants owners access to their property’s page on the site.