A Florida man, who is 20, was responsible for the data breach previous year at Uber Technologies and was paid by the company to destroy that data through what is known as a bug bounty program that is normally used in identifying vulnerabilities, said three sources who are familiar with this situation.
Even if a company manages to contain and handle a data breach, it has a duty to report it to regulators, which Uber appears to have failed to do, aiming for a cover-up rather than mea culpa.
The man is "living with his mom in a small home trying to help pay the bills", a person close to the matter told Reuters.
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The allegation will make life more hard for Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who had only became aware of the breach recently, as he had only joined the company in August. Since that time, CEO Travis Kalanick stepped down and was replaced by Dara Khosrowshahi in August.
The high payment through a bug bounty programme should have raised a few alarm bells.
The culprit's message was forwarded to Uber's "bug bounty" team and ultimately made its way to HackerOne, a third-party company that awards researchers for revealing security flaws in clients' products.
Uber spokesman Matt Kallman declined to comment, the report said. Uber also conducted a forensic analysis of the hacker's machine to make sure the data had been purged, the sources said.
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"Our thoughts remain with Pc Dixon's family and friends, as well as those of the 91-year-old woman, at this very hard time". She added: "Heard so many great things about him today, we truly have lost an unbelievable officer".
The Florida hacker paid a second person for services that involved accessing GitHub, a site widely used by programmers to store their code, to obtain credentials for access to Uber data stored elsewhere, one of the sources said. The rideshare company did not disclose any more information.
Uber had not responded to Silicon UK at the time of writing. The breach occurred in October 2016, but was not revealed until last month.
Last week, three more top managers in Uber's security unit resigned.
Once he became aware of the hack, Khosrowshahi reportedly sacked the company's chief security officer and one of his deputies for their roles in hiding the hack, as well as for making the payment.
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