Uber Technologies Inc. said its database was accessed by an unauthorized third party last year, resulting in the possible theft of information on 50,000 drivers.
The drivers, who are part of Uber’s mobile car-booking network, were notified and Uber took legal steps to gather information about the breach, the startup said in a statement on its website Friday.
The hack, which happened in May 2014, follows other recent data breaches, including the theft of sensitive information from Sony Corp.’s film unit and a data breach at JPMorgan Chase & Co. that resulted in gigabytes of data being stolen from the bank. Uber said it changed access permissions for its database and removed the possibility of unauthorized access after discovering the breach in September.
“To date, we have not received any reports of actual misuse of any information as a result of this incident, but we are notifying impacted drivers and recommend these individuals monitor their credit reports for fraudulent transactions or accounts,” Katherine Tassi, Uber’s managing counsel for data privacy, said in the statement.
The incident also follows Uber’s tussles with regulators around the world, which are seeking more information on whether drivers are carrying the right licenses and insurance. This week, Uber agreed to provide Maryland’s Public Utility Commission with the names of its drivers in the state after authorities sought to regulate its operations.
While the data breach only affected a “small percentage” of Uber’s drivers, according to the company, it underscores the sensitivity of the data collected as part of Uber’s operations.
Only the names and driver’s license numbers were compromised, Uber said, adding that it’s offering a year of free identity protection services for affected drivers.
Uber, founded in 2009 by Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp, has been expanding at breakneck pace and is now in more than 277 cities in 54 countries. The company recently boosted its latest fundraising round by $1 billion, bringing total funds raised to date to around $6 billion in equity and debt, at a valuation of $40 billion.