Tech

Regulators To Probe Uber After Covering Up Massive Data Breach, Says Report

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Eric Lieberman Deputy Editor

Regulatory bodies in multiple countries are set to investigate Uber after the company revealed Tuesday that it was hacked last year, leaving 57 million people’s personal data compromised.

Uber reportedly attempted to hide the massive security breach — which included the theft of millions of users’ and drivers’ email addresses, names, and phone numbers — by paying the attackers $100,000, according to Bloomberg.

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a Democrat, is launching a probe, according to Reuters, and so is Britain’s data protection authority.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who took over the helm for effectively ousted co-founder Travis Kalanick in August, said “none of this should have happened, and I will not make excuses for it.”

“While I can’t erase the past, I can commit on behalf of every Uber employee that we will learn from our mistakes,” he continued in a blog post, after describing how the company is starting an internal investigation into how such a breach, and the subsequent coverup could happen.

Uber has said it notified Schneiderman’s office, as well as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Khosrowshahi fired Joe Sullivan, the now outgoing security chief, because he apparently led the decisions during the aftermath of the cyber breach. Uber also let go of Craig Clark, a senior lawyer who worked under Sullivan, according to Bloomberg.

Khosrowshahi says he just recently learned of the breach, but Reuters reports that Kalanick learned of the breach Nov. 2016.

“There is something deeply disturbing about the most recent, public, Uber breach,” Morey Haber, vice president of technology at BeyondTrust, a security solutions firm, said in a statement. “Clearly, their new executive team gets it, but the former CEO and legal officers were clueless. This is just another case of privileges being used in a targeted attack, hackers demanding ransom for stolen information, and companies not being morally responsible for the stolen user data.”

The respective official reviews of Uber’s conduct are certainly not the first.

A U.S. judge in May called for an investigation into accusations that Uber’s self-driving subsidiary Otto stole trade secrets from Waymo, Google’s driverless car team.

The U.S. Department of Justice decided sometime earlier in the year to analyze claims and suspicions that Uber unlawfully conducted bribery with a foreign entity.

U.S. authorities, specifically the FBI and Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office, initiated a probe into Uber in September over allegations it spied on the ride-sharing company Lyft. (RELATED: Former Lyft Driver Sues Uber For Allegedly Spying On Him Through ‘Hell’ Software)

And they weren’t just accused of spying on competitors.

The FTC in June commenced an official inquiry into potential violations of customer’s privacy through one if its many spying programs.

The FTC — along with the other authoritative entities like the N.Y. attorney general and a U.K. agency — will also likely be looking into the most recent incident due to the magnitude of the infiltration into Uber’s systems, and the apparent overall mishandling of the situation.

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