Uber paid 20-year-old Florida man to keep data breach secret

Uber paid 20-year-old Florida man to keep data breach secret

Uber revealed last month that it paid a hacker $US100,000 ($131,857) to keep quiet about the fact that he stole personal data on 57 million users.

You can potentially understand the panic and attempt to hush it up - especially in light of how much controversy Uber has courted in the past few years - but with the information of so many users at stake who trust the company, this is a awful failure and was a huge mistake which may be extremely hard to recover from.

A payment of $100,000 through a bug bounty programme would be extremely unusual, with one former HackerOne executive saying it would represent an "all-time record". Sources familiar with the hack have told Reuters that the payment was made through a program created to reward bug hunters who report flaws.

Uber spokesman Matt Kallman declined to comment to Reuters.

Reuters' sources said that ex-CEO Travis Kalanick was aware of both the breach and payment when he led the company. Rewards for identifying bugs in code are more normally in the range of $5,000 - $10,000. Uber directed him into the bug bounty program and used the process to uncover the hacker's identity.

One source described the hacker as "living with his mum in a small home trying to help pay the bills", adding that members of Uber's security team did not want to pursue prosecution of an individual who did not appear to pose a further threat.

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Uber has said hackers accessed names and email addresses, as well as the drivers' license numbers of 600,000 Uber drivers, by stealing the password to a cloud database hosted by Amazon Web Services. Reuters said Uber made the man sign a nondisclosure agreement, and verified that the data had been erased.

GitHub said the attack did not involve a failure of its security systems.

"People familiar with the matter" told Reuters that that Uber paid the hacker the $100,000 bribe to destroy the data through a bug bounty programme.

When a valid vulnerability is discovered and submitted through a bug bounty program, there is usually a public disclosure and often a technical explanation of the problem to promote news of the fix and to encourage other researchers to take an interest.

The 20-year-old man reportedly paid a second person involved for accessing GitHub.

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