Uber’s former security chief found guilty of covering up 2016 data breach • TechCrunch

Cheryl Allison

Uber’s previous head of stability has been discovered guilty of legal obstruction for making an attempt address up a information breach that observed tens of tens of millions of purchaser and driver records stolen.

A federal jury in San Francisco convicted Joseph Sullivan, Uber’s former main protection officer (CSO), of obstructing justice and concealing knowledge that a federal felony experienced been fully commited, the Division of Justice verified on Wednesday.

The circumstance pertains to a breach of Uber’s units in 2016 that exposed the data of 50 million consumers and seven million motorists, which include names, e-mail deal with, cell phone quantities and about 600,000 driver license numbers for US drivers were being also involved in the breach.

The data breach transpired just a few months after Sullivan was employed by Uber to help the firm beef up its cybersecurity soon after a lesser breach in 2014 that saw hackers entry the around 50,000 consumers’ personal info.

Immediately after learning of the 2016 breach, Sullivan commenced a plan to hide it from the general public and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which experienced been investigating the 2014 breach, prosecutors say.

Sullivan, who now serves as Cloudflare’s CSO, informed a subordinate that information and facts about the breach wanted to be “tightly controlled” and that the the story exterior of the protection group was to be that “this investigation does not exist.” He also organized to shell out the hackers $100,000 beneath the guise of a bug bounty method in exchange for them signing non-disclosure agreements promising not to expose the hack.

Uber fired Sullivan in 2017 and in 2020 federal prosecutors billed him with a single rely of obstruction and one rely of misprision of a felony. His trial is considered to be the initially time a firm executive has confronted prison prosecution about a hack.

“Technology firms in the Northern District of California gather and store large amounts of info from consumers,” said US Attorney Hinds. “We expect all those firms to safeguard that knowledge and to alert consumers and acceptable authorities when these facts is stolen by hackers. We will not tolerate concealment of essential info from the general public by corporate executives more fascinated in guarding their standing and that of their businesses than in protecting end users. Wherever these kinds of conduct violates the federal law, it will be prosecuted.”

Uber did not publicly disclose the incident or advise the FTC until a new chief government, Dara Khosrowshahi, joined the business in 2017. Considering that, Uber has compensated $148 million to settle a case brought by 50 US states and the District of Columbia for trying to protect up the breach. It was also strike with fines from the British isles and Dutch information protection authorities totaling just about $1.2 million the breach afflicted 82,000 motorists primarily based in the British isles and 174,000 Dutch citizens.

A sentencing day has not yet been set, but Sullivan faces a optimum of 5 many years in jail for the obstruction of justice charge, and up to 3 many years for failing to report the crime, in accordance to the DOJ.

Information of Sullivan’s conviction will come just months right after Uber confirmed a modern breach that observed hackers split into the firm’s network and access systems that keep wide troves of consumer details. Uber later exposed the Lapsus$-affilated hacker stole some inner information and facts and Slack messages, but reported that no sensitive details — like credit rating card information and excursion histories — was taken.

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