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Senators slam Uber over 2016 data breach

Uber logo on a mobile cell phone screen. Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Senators blasted Uber over their handling of a 2016 data breach and how it might affect a cybersecurity incentive program used to hide the breach from the public at a Senate Commerce Subcommittee hearing Tuesday.

Why it matters: The breach affected 57 million users worldwide, including 25 million in the United States. Uber opted not to notify the consumers whose data was stolen, instead paying the hackers to delete the data which was potentially in violation of many state breach notification laws. The fact that it took years to notify the public "raises red flags in this committee," said Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security Chair Jerry Moran (R-KS).

Uber admits it was in the wrong: Uber Chief Information Security Officer John Flynn acknowledged that not notifying users was a mistake.

"There is no justification for that. We should have notified consumers…We did not have the right people in the room."
— Uber CISO John Flynn at Senate hearing.

Why the coverup might harm other security programs: Uber paid the hacker to delete the files using money from a bug bounty program, which incentivizes good guy hackers to alert companies of security flaws that companies can then fix independently.

  • Katie Moussouris, the chief executive of Luta Security and an internationally recognized bug bounty guru, told the subcommittee that paying a hacker who maliciously stole records using bug bounty funds "muddied" the difference between a beneficial program and extortion.
  • Sen. Moran agreed this might cause problems saying, "These substantive concerns should not completely outweigh [bug bounties'] innovative crowdsourced approach [to security]."
Zachary Basu 2 hours ago
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Trump wants to meet Putin in "not too distant future"

Putin Trump

In an Oval Office meeting with Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman Tuesday, President Trump said he wants to meet Vladimir Putin in the "not too distant future" to discuss the "arms race" and North Korea, reports the AP. Trump also said he spoke with the Russian president earlier today and congratulated him on his recent election victory.

David McCabe 2 hours ago
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Facebook to brief Congress as data scandal rages

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks from behind a podium
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: Paul Marotta/Getty Images

Facebook will brief a spate of congressional committee staffers this week on the scandal over Cambridge Analytica's improper gathering of data on millions of users.

Why it matters: The social giant is trying to contain the controversy that has led to renewed calls for regulation of its service and a sizable drop in its share price. It's reportedly holding an emergency meeting for employees today.