Uber recognises need for consumer trust after breach cover up

Uber recognises need for consumer trust after breach cover up

57 million riders and drivers were affected by a 2016 data breach, which Uber attempted to cover up by paying off the hackers to stay silent.

"Uber's announcement about a concealed data breach last October raises huge concerns around its data protection policies and ethics", said James Dipple-Johnson, the Deputy Commissioner at the Information Commissioner's Officer in an emailed statement.

Uber joined the likes of Google, Sony, Yahoo and Target among companies that have suffered massive data breaches from hackers in recent years.

Two hackers penetrated GitHub which is a private site used by Uber software engineers to obtain access to login credentials that were used to access an separate cloud-services provider. Uber says no Social Security numbers or location data was involved. Among those, the hackers stole 600,000 driver's license numbers of drivers for the company.

Uber is now going to inform individuals who had their information stolen about the thefts, and will provide free credit monitoring for drivers.

'You may be asking why we are just talking about this now, a year later, ' new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said.

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". More states and the Federal Trade Commission, which had settled with Uber over another privacy matter in August, will probably pile on, said Jeremiah Grossman, chief of security strategy at SentinelOne Inc., which aids companies with cyber-defense.

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The hack didn't penetrate Uber's corporate systems or infrastructure, he said.

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Of the 57 million affected users, 50 million were riders and the other 7 million drivers.

The New York attorney general has opened an investigation.

The breach took place under the former chief executive, Travis Kalanick, who found out about it in November 2016.

The severity of the incident was compounded amidst revelations that the company had paid $US100,000 ($A132,000) to the hackers to delete the data. The hack introduces an unexpected factor in negotiations between SoftBank Group Corp. and Uber shareholders over a planned investment of as much as $10 billion, a deal Khosrowshahi has been championing.

Two employees responsible for the hack were fired by the company.

The Uber CEO said that he only recently learned that outsiders had broken into a cloud-based server used by the company for data and downloaded a "significant" amount of information.

However, Uber did not reveal the incident to the public at the time.

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