Uber security breach could have affected up to 50,000 drivers

Uber announced Friday that thousands of Uber driver names and driver’s license numbers may be in the hands of an unauthorized third party due to a data breach that occurred last year.

In a statement, Uber’s managing counsel of data privacy, Katherine Tassi, said the company discovered on September 17, 2014, that one of its many databases could have potentially been accessed because one of the encryption keys required to unlock it had been compromised. Upon further investigation, it found the database had been accessed once by an unauthorized third party on May 13, 2014.

The company said it could not say how the security vulnerability was first discovered because the matter was under investigation.

According to Tassi, the company immediately patched the security vulnerability. It has not received any reports of misuse of the data.

The database contained the names and license numbers of approximately 50,000 former and current Uber drivers from various states, the company said. Of the affected drivers, approximately 21,000 are based in California.

Timothy Ryan, a cybersecurity expert for risk mitigation firm Kroll, said:

Access to a name and driver’s license number may not be enough for identity theft, but if used in conjunction with other personal information like a credit card number or date of birth, it can be a potential problem.

Uber began contacting current and former drivers Friday, and was also notifying the California attorney general’s office of the breach.

Uber has filed a John Doe lawsuit in the San Francisco Federal Court to gather information that may lead to the confirmation of the identity of the third party.

Uber is offering all affected drivers one-year free membership in an identity protection service, and is encouraging affected drivers to monitor their credit reports for fraudulent transactions.