Uber Paid Hackers to Hide Exposed Data of 57 Million Users

Car-hailing service provider Uber paid hackers US$100,000 (about HK$780,000) to hide a massive breach in 2016, which exposed the data of around 57 million customers and drivers.

You read that right, Uber got hacked and your personal information with it.

Two members of the Uber information security team who "led the response" that included not alerting users that their data was breached were let go from the San Francisco-based company effective Tuesday, according to Khosrowshahi.

Khosrowshahi says hackers stole information including names, email addresses and mobile phone numbers.

They also downloaded names and licence numbers of 600,000 of the company's U.S. drivers, Mr Khosrowshahi said in a blog post.

Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi, who replaced co-founder Travis Kalanick as CEO in August, said the company had fired two senior security officials involved in the cover-up. He was not at the helm when it happened.

Uber has refused to disclose the identity of the hackers, although it did confirm they paid them $100,000 (or £75,000) to delete the data.

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The news that ride hailing service Uber has suffered, and covered up, a major hack means that millions of people could unknowingly have had their data put at risk.

Earlier in 2016, the company reached a settlement with the NY attorney general requiring it to take steps to be more vigilant about protecting the information that its app stores about its riders. Within hours of the disclosure, a customer filed a lawsuit seeking class-action status, and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman launched an investigation.

'I had the same question, so I immediately asked for a thorough investigation of what happened and how we handled it'. This latest incident is yet another black eye for a company that has been beat up in the media over questionable decision making in the past, such as using special software to evade detection from authorities, but better late than never, right?

Vera Jourova, the European Union commissioner in charge of data, said Uber's failure to come clean about the breach showed why the new data protection law was needed.

Khosrawshahi adds, "while I can't erase the past, I can commit on behalf of every uber employee that we will learn from our mistakes". "We are changing the way we do business".

"Nobody likes the idea of having their personal information out there, and being possibly used against them", said Uber driver Mike Daly.

Khosrowshahi, meanwhile, is offering free credit monitoring for drivers whose personal info was stolen in the hack and has hired security expert Matt Olsen, a former staffer at the National Security Agency and director of the National Counterterrorism Center to help the company going forward.

  • Ronnie Bowen