Florida Man… pockets Uber cash to keep quiet about data breach

2016 Data Security Incident | Uber Newsroom

The decision to pay someone off that had damaging information about the company and then pretend it never happened has become something of a pattern for Uber under its former CEO Travis Kalanick.

UBER'S MASSIVE data breach that saw the personal information of 57 million users pilfered, was all down to a pesky 20-year-old Floridian man. Sources familiar with the hack have told Reuters that the payment was made through a program created to reward bug hunters who report flaws.

Katie Moussouris, a former HackerOne executive, told Reuters that Uber's payout and silence at the time was extraordinary under such a program. 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. The bug bounty service at Uber is hosted by HackerOne a company that offers its own platform to several tech companies.

But the firm caused much anger when it was revealed it had actually paid the hacker $100,000 to hide the information for over a year.

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Reuters claims to have other sources that revealed that the hacker in question was forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement as part of the deal and to have his machine undergo forensic analysis to ensure that the data has been fully deleted.

"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", HackerOne CEO Marten Mickos told Reuters. Uber spokesman Matt Kallman refused to comment.

Khosrowshahi was hired amid concerns about the practices and ethics of previous members of the senior management team. "I have always been a strong advocate for Uber's innovative technology, but if these revelations prove true, I am disgusted by this cover-up and Uber will be held accountable". He said the incident should have been disclosed to regulators at the time it was discovered past year, Reuters reported.

Had the incident taken place after the introduction of the EU's General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) next May, the penalties could have been more severe.

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