Regulators to press Uber after it admits masking up information breach

TORONTO/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Struggling ride-hailing agency Uber [UBER.UL] faces a recent regulatory crackdown after disclosing it paid hackers $100,000 to maintain secret a large breach final 12 months that uncovered private information from round 57 million accounts.

Discovery of the U.S. firm’s cover-up of the incident resulted within the firing of two workers answerable for its response to the hack, mentioned Dara Khosrowshahi, who changed co-founder Travis Kalanick as chief govt in August.

“None of this could have occurred, and I cannot make excuses for it,” Khosrowshahi mentioned in a weblog submit. (

Britain’s information safety authority mentioned on Wednesday that concealment of the information breach raises “enormous issues” about Uber’s information insurance policies and ethics.

“Intentionally concealing breaches from regulators and residents might entice greater fines for firms,” James Dipple-Johnstone, deputy commissioner of the UK Data Commissioner’s Workplace, mentioned in a press release. Present British regulation carries a most penalty of 500,000 kilos ($662,000) for failing to inform customers and regulators when information breaches happen.

The stolen data included names, e mail addresses and cell phone numbers of Uber customers all over the world, and the names and license numbers of 600,000 U.S. drivers, Khosrowshahi mentioned. Uber declined to say what different international locations could also be affected.

Khosrowshahi additionally mentioned Uber had begun notifying regulators. The New York legal professional normal has opened an investigation, a spokeswoman mentioned. Regulators in Australia and the Philippines mentioned on Wednesday they might additionally look into the matter.

Lengthy identified for its combative stance with native taxi regulators, Uber has confronted a stream of top-level govt departures over points from sexual harassment to information privateness to driver working circumstances, which compelled its board to take away Kalanick as CEO in June.

In current months, London’s transport regulator stripped Uber of its license to function citing the corporate’s failure to cope with public security and safety points, though Uber is interesting in opposition to the choice and the brand new CEO has held talks with Transport for London to resolve the stand-off.

The company mentioned it was in search of extra data from Uber.

“We’re urgent them for the total particulars of what has occurred in order that we may be glad that each one the appropriate protections are in place for the private information of drivers and clients in London,” a Transport for London spokesman mentioned.

Britain’s Nationwide Cyber Safety Centre mentioned it was working with different nationwide authorities to find out how UK residents could have been affected, however added that it has no data, to this point, that buyer monetary particulars had been compromised.


The breach occurred in October 2016 however Khosrowshahi mentioned he had solely just lately came upon about it.

Bloomberg Information first reported the information breach on Tuesday.

However Kalanick discovered of the breach in November 2016, a month after it occurred, a supply aware of the matter instructed Reuters. On the time, the corporate was negotiating with the U.S. Federal Commerce Fee over the dealing with of client information.

FILE PHOTO: The emblem of Uber is seen on an iPad, throughout a information convention to announce Uber resumes ride-hailing service, in Taipei, Taiwan April 13, 2017. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/File Picture –

A board committee had investigated the breach and concluded that neither Kalanick nor Salle Yoo, Uber’s normal counsel on the time, have been concerned within the cover-up, one other particular person aware of the difficulty mentioned. The particular person didn’t say when the probe occurred.

Uber mentioned on Tuesday it was obliged to report the theft of the drivers’ license data and had failed to take action.

“There isn’t a query that the earlier administration and safety group at Uber failed of their accountability to their drivers, to regulators, to justice and above all to clients,” mentioned Rik Ferguson, vp of safety analysis at software program agency Pattern Micro. “That’s a reasonably lengthy checklist”.

There isn’t a proof of fraud in opposition to passengers because of the information breach, whereas drivers whose license numbers had been stolen are being supplied free id theft safety and credit score monitoring, Uber mentioned.

Two hackers gained entry to proprietary data saved on GitHub, a service that enables engineers to collaborate on growing software program code. There, the 2 individuals stole Uber’s credentials for a separate cloud-services supplier the place they have been capable of obtain driver and rider information, the corporate mentioned.

A GitHub spokeswoman mentioned the hack was not the results of a failure of GitHub’s safety.

The chief govt of Uber Applied sciences Inc, Dara Khosrowshahi attends a gathering with Brazilian Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles (not pictured) in Brasilia, Brazil October 31, 2017. REUTERS/Adriano Machado

“Whereas I can’t erase the previous, I can commit on behalf of each Uber worker that we are going to be taught from our errors,” Khosrowshahi mentioned.


Uber is negotiating with a consortium led by Japan’s SoftBank Group (9984.T) for recent funding that could possibly be value as much as $10 billion, sources instructed Reuters earlier this month. SoftBank declined to touch upon whether or not the safety breach could lead on it to renegotiate phrases of its proposed deal.

Uber mentioned it had fired its chief safety officer, Joe Sullivan, and a deputy, Craig Clark, this week over their position within the dealing with of the incident. Sullivan, previously the highest safety official at Fb Inc (FB.O) and a federal prosecutor, served as each safety chief and deputy normal counsel for Uber.

Sullivan declined to remark when reached by Reuters. Clark couldn’t instantly be reached for remark.

Kalanick, by means of a spokesman, declined to remark. The previous CEO stays on the Uber board of administrators, and Khosrowshahi has mentioned he consults with him repeatedly.

Though funds to hackers are not often publicly mentioned, U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation officers and personal safety firms have instructed Reuters that an rising variety of firms are paying felony hackers to get well stolen information.

Uber has a historical past of failing to guard driver and passenger information. Hackers beforehand stole details about Uber drivers and the corporate acknowledged in 2014 that its workers had used a software program software known as “God View” to trace passengers.

Khosrowshahi mentioned on Tuesday he had employed Matt Olsen, former normal counsel of the U.S. Nationwide Safety Company, to restructure the corporate’s safety groups and processes. The corporate additionally employed Mandiant, a cyber safety agency owned by FireEye Inc (FEYE.O), to research the breach.

The brand new CEO has traveled the world since changing Kalanick to ship a message that Uber has matured from its earlier days as a rule-flouting startup.

“The brand new CEO faces an unknown variety of issues fostered by the tradition promoted by his predecessor,” mentioned Erik Gordon, an skilled in entrepreneurship and know-how on the College of Michigan’s Ross Faculty of Enterprise.

Reporting by Jim Finkle in Toronto; Heather Somerville, Joseph Menn and Stephen Nellis in San Francisco, Manolo Serapio Jr in Manila, Byron Kaye in Sydney, Sam Nussey in Tokyo and Eric Auchard in London; Modifying by Lisa Shumaker, Stephen Coates and Adrian Croft

Our Requirements:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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