Uber hacker is a 20-year old man from Florida (allegedly)

Uber hacker is a 20-year old man from Florida (allegedly)

Uber revealed last month that it paid a hacker $US100,000 ($131,857) to keep quiet about the fact that he stole personal data on 57 million users.

According to Marten Mickos, the CEO for HackerOne, in all cases when a bug bounty award is processed through HackerOne, the company receives identifying information of the recipient in the form of an IRS W-9 or W-8BEN form before payment of the award can be made. When the hacker approached Uber asking for money in exchange for the data he had accessed, it is unclear why he was directed to Uber's bug bounty programme, why the authorities were not notified of the theft immediately, and who at Uber made the decision to finalise the payment.

After the hack occurred, instead of publicly announcing it, the company paid $100,000 to the hackers to delete the information.

According to three unnamed sources, as reported by Reuters, a 20-year-old was responsible for the catastrophic data breach, rather than a sophisticated group or state-sponsored team.

Uber spokesman Matt Kallman declined to comment to Reuters.

Katie Moussouris, a former HackerOne executive, told Reuters that Uber's payout and silence at the time was extraordinary under such a program.

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Security professionals said rewarding a hacker who had stolen data also would be well outside the normal rules of a bounty programme, where payments are typically in the $5,000 to $10,000 range.

While the exact identity of the hacker hasn't been revealed, it's being suspected that then-CEO Travis Kalanick was aware of the breach and payment.

Uber also conducted a forensic analysis of the hacker's machine to make sure the data had been purged, the sources said.

Speaking to the publication, one source described the hacker as "living with his mom in a small home trying to help pay the bills". Uber's "bug bounty" service, a program known in the industry, is hosted by HackerOne, a company that offers its platform to several tech companies, the report said. "Our recommendation is to never store access tokens, passwords, or other authentication or encryption keys in the code", the company said in a statement.

The 20-year-old man reportedly paid a second person involved for accessing GitHub.

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