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Uber Takes Over 5 Months To Issue Breach Notification

50,000 Uber drives just being told now that their names and license numbers were exposed.

Uber, the service that allows users to hire cars or conduct ride shares via mobile app (which has banned in several cities), last Friday announced it had experienced a data breach that exposed the names and license numbers of approximately 50,000 current and former Uber drivers. In a statement, Uber's Managing Counsel of Data Privacy Katherine Tassi said that the company initially discovered the suspicious activity Sep. 17.  

Upon discovery, says Tassi, Uber immediately changed the access protocols for that database. After investigation, they determined that the database was accessed by an unauthorized party one time, May 13, 2014. No reports of misuse of this data have been reported yet, she says.

Uber is notifying its drivers and offering them one year of Experian's ProtectMyID credit alert service. The company has also filed a "John Doe" civil lawsuit -- used to subpoena ISPs, email providers, and other services that may contain identity information for an unknown fraudster. 

Mark Bower, vice-president of product management and solution architecture for Voltage Security believes that Uber might use PostgreSQL for their database, because an Uber job posting specifically requests experience with Postgre. Bower points out that Postgre has known problems regarding encryption key disclosure, and that the Uber breach underscores the need for better key management.

“It’s a bit like [having] a well-locked door but the keys left in the lock or under the mat nearby," says Bower. "Encryption keys should be isolated and separated from the database and independently controlled and monitored, otherwise they are prone to disclosure. Data should be protected at a field level using modern methods which avoid the need to decrypt data for applications to work. The less decryption needed, the less exposure of sensitive records during analytics, operations and lookups."

See Uber's full statement at http://blog.uber.com/2-27-15.

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