Massive breach and cover-up: Uber paid hackers to delete stolen data of 57m people

The ride-sharing firm paid $100,000 to hackers to keep breach quiet

Uber concealed a massive cyberattack and breach of personal data of 50m users and 7m drivers in October 2016, and also failed to notify the individuals and regulators.

The New York Attorney General’s office said it had opened an investigation into the data breach, in a sign of the legal reckoning that Uber could face from regulators around the world over its handling of the incident.

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The company’s former chief executive Travis Kalanick knew about the breach over a year ago, states Bloomberg which first broke the news.

The ride-sharing firm confirmed yesterday that it had paid the hackers responsible $100,000 to delete the data and keep the breach quiet.

The data includes names, email addresses and mobile phone numbers of users and driver’s license numbers of about 600,000 drivers in the United States. The company said more sensitive information, such as location data, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, social security numbers, and birth dates, had not been compromised.

Uber has also stated to drivers that it would offer those affected free credit monitoring and identity theft protection.

“None of this should have happened, and I will not make excuses for it,” Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi said in a statement acknowledging the breach and cover-up. “While I can’t erase the past, I can commit on behalf of every Uber employee that we will learn from our mistakes.”

Khosrowshahi also stated that the company had “obtained assurances that the downloaded data had been destroyed” and improved its security, but that the company’s “failure to notify affected individuals or regulators” had prompted him to take several steps, including the departure of two of the employees responsible for the company’s 2016 response.

According to Bloomberg, the breach occured when two hackers obtained login credentials to access data stored on Uber’s Amazon Web Services account.

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