By Victor Ochieng
According to a New York Times report, Uber allegedly paid some hackers $100,000 so they'd keep quiet about the fact that they managed to hack into the rent a ride company's system and accessed 57 million of the company's rider accounts.
To hide having paid the hackers not to snitch, Uber said they'd actually spent the money on the hackers to try to find security pitfalls in their system. Since the expose, the company's head of cybersecurity, who organized payment to the hackers in conjunction with CEO Travis Kalanick, has been fired.
Commenting on the issue on the rider company's blog, the company's current CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, who took over from Kalanick in August, said, "I recently learned that in late 2016 we became aware that two individuals outside the company had inappropriately accessed user data stored on a third-party cloud-based service that we use. The incident did not breach our corporate systems or infrastructure."
Khosrowshahi said no sensitive information was accessed by the hackers, assuring riders and the company's customers that their information is intact.
"Our outside forensics experts have not seen any indication that trip location history, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, Social Security numbers or dates of birth were downloaded. However, the individuals were able to download files containing a significant amount of other information, including; The names and driver’s license numbers of around 600,000 drivers in the United States; personal information of 57 million Uber users around the world" such as "names, email addresses and mobile phone numbers."
He also used the post to assure their customers among other stakeholders that as soon as the hacking was detected, they took the necessary steps to secure their data, as well as block all unauthorized access to their systems.
Uber has faced numerous challenges over the recent past. Eric Holder was roped into the company after a former female employee of the company raised public concerns about worrying levels of s*xual misconduct at the company's offices.
The company was also widely criticized over its decision not to come forward to condemn President Donald Trump alongside New York City cab drivers, when the president issued an executive ban on Muslims seeking to enter the U.S.
At the time, the New York City cab drivers, comprising of a notable number of individuals from Muslim countries, stopped offering their services at NYC's airport in protest against Trump's ban. People got really angry after Uber, instead of supporting the cab drivers, stepped in to offer services to passengers, something that saw the birth of #deleteUber.
Following accusations of racism by Uber drivers and the company's clear lack of diversity within its ranks, the company moved in to up accountability by bringing in former Xerox CEO Ursula Burns to its board of directors. They also hired talented marketer Bozoma Saint John as their chief brand officer.