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Uber paid 20-year-old hacker to destroy data breach information

The Uber app
An Uber user opens the app on a smartphone. Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth / AP

Uber paid a 20-year-old man in Florida $100,000 to destroy data from 57 million passengers and 600,000 drivers that he'd stolen in a 2016 breach, Reuters reports, citing sources familiar with the events. Reuters was unable to establish the identity of the hacker.

The backdrop: On Nov. 21, Uber announced that it had paid a hacker to delete stolen data, but did not specify who was paid, or how. The man was paid through a "bug bounty" program companies use to pay hackers to test their software for vulnerabilities, although it appears that the hacker stole the information first and was then retroactively entered into the bug bounty.

It's still not clear who made the decision to pay the hacker and keep the breach quiet. Then-CEO Travis Kalanick is said to have known about the data breach and the payment to the hacker in November 2016, as did chief security officer Joe Sullivan (who was fired last month, following an investigation that first alerted Uber's board to the hack).

Haley Britzky 11 hours ago
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Women and jihad: from bride to the front line

Suspected Al Qaeda-aligned Shabaab militants, a woman and her three children, sit next to weapons after their arrest on May 5, 2016 in Mogadishu
Suspected Al Qaeda-aligned Shabaab militants, a woman and her three children, sit next to weapons after their arrest on May 5, 2016 in Mogadishu. Photo: Mohamed Abdiwahab / AFP / Getty Images

A women's magazine, unveiled in December, gives tips on how to be a "good bride" and make life easier for the man in your life. The twist: the magazine, "Beituki," is published by al-Qaeda as part of a propaganda campaign which "appears, in part, to be a reaction to Islamic State (IS), which has called women to the front lines," per the Economist.

The big picture: Extremist organizations are struggling to define what women's roles in their groups should be. While some force women to "remain indoors," as Beituki suggests, others have placed women on the front lines, or utilized them as recruiters.

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Cambridge Analytica data scandal highlights chaos at Facebook

Photo illustration: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Facebook was caught flat-footed again Saturday as it scrambled to deal with stories in New York Times and Guardian-owned Observer about user data illicitly obtained by a Trump-linked data analytics firm, including accusations from the British paper that Facebook had threatened it with litigation.

Why it matters: The scandal is another example of Facebook blaming outdated policies and ignorance for its platform being abused by bad actors — while struggling to contain the public relations fallout. The company is also tangling with the media outlets reporting on it.