Uber fined £385,000 for losing United Kingdom customer data

Cab-hailing service Uber took now steps to inform users affected by data breach says UK official. — File

The details on 2.7 million customers were part of a massive cache of information on 57 million people taken by the hacker group in October and November 2016. In the Netherlands, 174,000 clients and drivers were affected.

Simultaneously, UK's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) declared Uber will be fined £385,000 (around €433,000) for the same data breach back in 2016.

Uber's massive 2016 data breach, which exposed the details of 57 million people around the world - and which the company tried to cover up - has earned it $1.17 million in fines from data protection regulators in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

The cyber attack had led to the theft of names, email addresses and cellphone numbers of 5.7 crore riders around the world.

The regulator said the incident had the potential to expose customers and drivers affected to increased risk of fraud.

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The ICO said the hackers used a process known as "credential stuffing", in which compromised username and password pairs are entered into websites until they are matched to an existing account, to gain access to Uber's data storage.

"At the time, no steps were taken to inform anyone affected by the breach, or to offer help and support".

The company thereby failed to comply with laws stating it must report data breaches to the authorities and the data subjects within 72 hours after the discovery of the breach.

In response, Uber said it had changed how it handled data since 2016 and now employed a chief privacy officer and a data protection head who oversaw its operations. "As we shared with European authorities during their investigations, we've made a number of technical improvements to the security of our systems both in the immediate wake of the incident as well as in the years since".

Chun Wong, partner at law firm Hodge Jones and Allen, which specialises in data breach cases, said: "Uber's flagrant disregard with people's data and then attempts to cover it up signifies one of the worst data breaches we have seen to date".

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