Uber Security Breach: User Accounts Taken For a Ride?

March 31, 2015 @ 9:20 AM
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2 min read

Looking for a nearly free ride? According to The Hacker News, thanks to an alleged Uber security breach, two separate users on the Dark Web marketplace AlphaBay are offering stolen Uber accounts for less than $5. The users, Courvoisier and ThinkingForward, say they have thousands of legitimate, active accounts for sale, while the company itself denies any breach took place. So what’s the real story?

Quite the Trip

This all started just a few weeks ago, when the accounts and a guide for black-market Uber users to avoid getting caught suddenly appeared on AlphaBay. While it’s possible the offerings aren’t real, The Register reports that Courvoisier has sold more than 3,000 accounts in total, while Motherboard notes that satisfied buyers have commented on the “speedy delivery” and say the credentials work perfectly.

What comes with a stolen Uber account? Both the $1 and $5 versions include access to payment details, allowing purchasers to order rides and charge them to original account owners. More worrisome, however, is the access to the other data Uber’s app routinely collects, such as users’ partial credit card data, trip history, email address, phone numbers and home and work addresses, if available.

In other words, this is all the information needed to not only book free rides but potentially make life very difficult for original account owners, many of whom don’t even know they’ve been hacked. Motherboard contacted several account owners after being provided with sample credentials from the AlphaBay sellers and was able to confirm they are genuine.

The Fault in Our Cars

So who is to blame for this Uber security breach? In a prepared statement, the ride sharing company claimed it “found no evidence of a breach.” This is tough to swallow, however, given the recent Uber data breach that put more than 50,000 driver accounts at risk because a private security key was left on a public GitHub page.

While the more recent account issues may not be Uber’s fault, the company’s track record isn’t exactly stellar. One user contacted did admit his Amazon and Uber logins were identical, suggesting cybercriminals may have breached personal security rather than Uber’s corporate defenses, but either way, the outcome is the same. Those willing to shop on the Dark Web can get nearly free Uber trips on the back of legitimate account holders.

No matter who is responsible, users need to change their login information and make sure no extra trips have been taken on their credit cards. On Uber’s end, it’s likely the company won’t be able to ignore this issue, even if its network security is up to snuff. With users and drivers increasingly worried they’re being taken for a ride, Uber needs to find a way to slow cybercriminals’ roll.

Douglas Bonderud
Freelance Writer

A freelance writer for three years, Doug Bonderud is a Western Canadian with expertise in the fields of technology and innovation. In addition to working for...
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