Entangled by government inquiries that will lead to the loss of its license to operate in London, Uber had to admit that 2.7 million users were exposed by the hack of their ride-sharing app that affected 57 million users worldwide.
For the United Kingdom, the number of Britons affected by the breach could easily represent half of their total user base, upwards of 5 million individuals.
Uber is facing an international backlash for its handling of the security breach, because it occurred in 2016 and was hidden until only weeks ago. The San Francisco-based company asserted that “only” customers and drivers names, email addresses and mobile phone numbers were stolen.
But for London mayor, Sadiq Khan, this incident was another nail in the coffin of Uber credibility. “Uber needs to urgently confirm which of their customers are affected, what is being done to ensure these customers don’t suffer adversely, and what action is being taken to prevent this happening again in the future,” said Mr. Khan on public statements extensively reported by UK media.
Uber even paid $100 thousand to the hackers as ransom to delete the stolen data and keep quiet about the heist. But the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), the British data protection agency, confirm the type of data taken. Also, Uber acknowledged, in the “Help” section of its site, that they continue investigating the scope of the hack and the kind of information compromised: “Our outside forensics experts have not seen any indication that trip location history, credit card numbers, bank account numbers or dates of birth were downloaded. When this happened, we took immediate steps to secure the data, shut down further unauthorized access, and strengthen our data security.”
With a serious front against cabbies and regulators in the UK, there’s possibly no worse timing for a new Uber-scandal. The Britons will have to wait and see how much heat the company can endure moving forward.