All Island Blog

The Uber App and Data Insecurity Go Hand-in-Hand

Posted by Nick on Jun 14, 2016 11:07:46 AM

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The Uber app carries with it some serious risks to personal information. From security breaches to Uber employees spying on its customers, the data insecurity of Uber is quite obvious.


Uber App Breached by Hackers

Throughout 2015, there were reports of active Uber accounts being bought and sold on the Internet for about $1 each. After infiltrating the Uber app, hackers gained access to the information of numerous accounts and listed them for sale. People who bought the accounts would take rides with Uber while the rightful owners of the accounts would foot the bills unknowingly—until they checked their credit card statements, that is.

Later in the year, Uber addressed the issue of hacked accounts by emailing new passwords to users in plaintext, which doesn’t provide many layers of security.

Uber General Manager Uses “God View” Function to Stalk Passengers

In 2014, Johana Bhuiyan, a tech reporter for BuzzFeed News, arrived at Uber’s New York headquarters to interview general manager of Uber New York, Josh Mohrer. As Bhuiyan stepped out of the vehicle, Mohrer was waiting for Bhuiyan. Holding his iPhone, he said, “I was tracking you.”

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"God View" was once available to all employees. Source: Vice

Two months prior, to indicate just how much information Uber collects, Mohrer emailed Bhuiyan logs of her Uber trips—trips she had not granted him permission to see.

Mohrer and other executives were able to see customers’ personal information with a tool known internally at Uber as “God View.” Essentially, “God View” shows the user whatever information they would like to see about a given ride. In early 2016, Uber finally agreed to sign an “assurance of discontinuance” to keep its users personal information private, something they should have been doing all along.

Uber Gives Data on 12 Million Users to Government

In the company’s first-ever transparency report, Uber admitted that they gave data on nearly 12 million riders to the government. In the transparency report, Uber said, “Like other companies, we receive requests from law enforcement agencies for information about our riders and drivers during the course of a criminal investigation or other emergency.”

Uber app

Some people are bothered by companies sharing their data with the government for fear of surveillance, and some people don’t mind because they believe it aids security. No matter which belief you subscribe to, it’s still important to know that the personal information you share within the Uber may be given to other agencies.

Uber also monitors customers’ smartphone battery levels, banking on the theory that people with low batteries will be more likely to impulsively hail a ride before their phones die, even if the price is a bit steeper than usual. If Uber has the ability to see your phone’s battery percentage, it likely has access to other sensitive data.Subscribe to Our Newsletter to Receive Updates, Coupons and More!

Topics: TNCs

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