Uber fined $491k by UK regulator over cyber attack that leaked data of customers, drivers

Uber Technologies, already facing a range of legal and regulatory headaches in London, got another on Tuesday after it was fined £385 000 (over R6.8m) over a cyber attack that compromised the data of millions of customers and tens of thousands of drivers.

The Information Commissioner’s Office said that the personal details of about 2.7 million UK customers - including email addresses and phone numbers - may have been downloaded during a 2016 hack. Clients weren’t told for more than a year and the company paid the hackers $100 000 (over R1.3m) to destroy the data. In addition, information about 82 000 drivers was exposed.

"This was not only a serious failure of data security on Uber’s part, but a complete disregard for the customers and drivers whose personal information was stolen," Steve Eckersley, the ICO’s director of investigations, said in a statement. "At the time, no steps were taken to inform anyone affected by the breach, or to offer help and support. That left them vulnerable."

The fine comes as Uber battles London drivers over their employment status and the number of benefits they are entitled. It was only in June that the ride-sharing company was given a new 15-month probationary license to operate in the UK capital after transport regulators raised concerns about its gung-ho attitude and the safety of passengers.

Officials at Uber didn’t immediately return an email seeking comment.

The Dutch Data Protection Authority also imposed a fine Tuesday on Uber’s operations in the Netherlands for a data breach in 2016.

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