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Uber Paid Man to Keep Breach Secret

07 December 2017

The stolen data of 57 million users, including 600,000 Uber drivers, included names, phone numbers, email addresses and license data.

The company then paid the hacker $100,000 to destroy the information, but did not notify those affected by the breach.

Uber declined to pursue criminal charges after determining that the person didn't pose an additional threat and eventually paid the hacker after confirming their identity and making them sign a nondisclosure agreement, Reuters reported. The bounty program is meant to reward security researchers who bring bugs to the company's attention so that a fix can be put into place.

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Then-chief executive Travis Kalanick and chief security officer Joe Sullivan made the decision to pay the hackers and keep the breach a secret from its customers and drivers.

"At the time of the incident, we took immediate steps to secure the data and shut down further unauthorized access by the individuals", Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in the announcement. 'In all cases when a bug bounty award is processed through HackerOne, we receive identifying information of the recipient in the form of an IRS W-9 or W-8BEN form before payment of the award can be made, ' he said, referring to U.S. Internal Revenue Service forms.

If the payment was actually made via HackerOne bug bounty program, it was an unusual incident as it involved a hacker who stole data. Officials for Connecticut, Illinois and MA also confirmed they're investigating the hack. They're a company that connected security researcher with other companies.

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'None of this should have happened, and I will not make excuses for it, ' Khosrowshahi, said in a blog post announcing the hack last month.

It is unclear whether Clark informed Uber's legal department, which typically handled disclosure issues.

Even if a company manages to contain and handle a data breach, it has a duty to report it to regulators, which Uber appears to have failed to do, aiming for a cover-up rather than mea culpa.

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Another three members of Uber's security subsequently resigned from their roles last week.

Uber Paid Man to Keep Breach Secret