by Graham Pierrepoint
Where did it all go wrong for Uber? 2017 has been an incredibly disastrous year for the taxi-hailing app and brand, once hailed – no pun intended – as the future of ride-hiring, the popular app has experienced a twelve months that no firm anywhere in the world would ever want to endure. Where do we begin – an investigation into alleged gender politics in the firm’s main offices saw heads roll – and their public reputation was damaged massively after they decided to increase surge pricing at the time of a protest at JFK airport relating to Donald Trump. This resulted in a public backlash that saw Twitter users screenshotting their #DeleteUber moments ▶ – and beyond that, Italy decided to delete Uber altogether, having judged them unfair to local competition. Throw in the city of London deciding not to renew their licence in light of management concerns, and you have a firm that’s one CEO down with a ton of points yet to make up.
And yet, it gets worse for Uber – more specifically, their users. This week, it’s emerged that a data breach which impacted the firm last year – through which 57 million customers’ details were hacked and obtained – was covered up. The firm made the decision to pay off the hackers in question to the tune of $100,000 – which it has owned up to. It is illegal for public firms to conceal data breaches – and it’s not the first time that they have failed to come clean regarding a hack, having been fined $20,000 three years ago for covering up and earlier expose.
Watch: Uber Paid Hackers to Hide a Massive 2016 Data Breach ▶
It’s thought that the hackers in question were able to access Uber’s credentials for the Amazon Web Services cloud service – and made away with millions of customer details and thousands of driver credentials, too. BBC Business refers to Uber’s continuing troubles – and apparent ability to find themselves in one after another as like ‘a game of Whac-a-Mole’. “No sooner has one crisis been dealt with when another one rears its ugly head,” advises the site’s analysis of the latest saga.
The fact that Uber concealed such a massive breach is being remarked upon as ‘greatly concerning’ – and it’s thought that tensions between ex-CEO Travis Kalanick and shareholders Benchmark could flare upon once again. In any case – for the public – it is an event that may see even more users deleting the app.
Watch: Uber hack concealment raises 'huge concerns' ▶