There is something deeply disturbing about the most recent, public, Uber breach. Come to think of it, there are multiple things disturbing about this breach. As a security professional, I am baffled by these events and not sure how to even prioritize the things they did wrong. There are so many of them, and every business should consider these as lessons learned and not make the same mistakes. Just like a child, hopefully they have learned not to touch a hot stove. They just plainly acted like irresponsible children.
Let us look at the facts to understand my position of disgusted amazement:
- The breach occurred in October 2016 and we are just finding out about it now - over a year later.
- The breach contained details of 57 million riders worldwide.
- The information included names, email addresses, and phone numbers – Personally Identifiable Information in the simplest form.
- Approximately 600,000 driver’s licenses were exposed as well and Uber failed to notify any local or state governments of the compromise despite legal obligations to do so
- The company paid a ransom of $100,000 to the hackers to delete the breached information and keep the incident quiet.
- The company has chosen to go public now under new leadership since they were under privacy investigations at the time of the breach and choose to hide the incident.
- The breach occurred due to a failure to secure credentials on a Github site used by engineers. This was then leveraged using stolen privileges to gain access to Amazon AWS instances that support Uber. An archive file was then compromised containing the data.
- Uber maintains none of the stolen information has been used in any other attacks or incidents (for now).
- Uber agreed to an FTC settlement three months ago over privacy concerns, without admitting wrongdoing, and before telling the agency about the breach – thus completely misleading the government!
Clearly, their new executive team gets it, but the former CEO and legal officers were clueless. This is just another case of privileges being used in a targeted attack, hackers demanding ransom for stolen information, and companies not being morally responsible for the stolen user data.
I really cannot add more. The facts speak from themselves and everyone needs to secure privileges and be morally responsible in case the worst happens. Unfortunately, it is too late for Uber, Yahoo, and Equifax. Hopefully, we can fix these problems and not add any more companies to the list.
Morey J. Haber, Chief Security Officer, BeyondTrust
Morey J. Haber is the Chief Security Officer at BeyondTrust. He has more than 25 years of IT industry experience and has authored four books: Privileged Attack Vectors, Asset Attack Vectors, Identity Attack Vectors, and Cloud Attack Vectors. He is a founding member of the industry group Transparency in Cyber, and in 2020 was elected to the Identity Defined Security Alliance (IDSA) Executive Advisory Board. Morey currently oversees BeyondTrust security and governance for corporate and cloud based solutions and regularly consults for global periodicals and media. He originally joined BeyondTrust in 2012 as a part of the eEye Digital Security acquisition where he served as a Product Owner and Solutions Engineer since 2004. Prior to eEye, he was Beta Development Manager for Computer Associates, Inc. He began his career as Reliability and Maintainability Engineer for a government contractor building flight and training simulators. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.