Federal prosecutors have reportedly charged former Uber Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan with covering up a massive 2016 data breach by paying hackers $100,000. The personal data of 57 million Uber passengers and drivers was stolen in the breach.
NPR reports that Joe Sullivan, the former chief security officer of Silicon Valley giant Uber has been charged by federal prosecutors for allegedly paying $100,000 to hackers that breached Uber’s security in 2016 and stole the personal data of 57 million Uber passengers and drivers.
According to a complaint filed in federal court in California on Thursday, Sullivan has been charged with obstructing justice and concealing a felony for the alleged cover-up. Prosecutors allege that Sullivan “engaged in a scheme to withhold and conceal” the data breach from regulators and failed to report the incident to law enforcement or the public.
David Anderson, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of California, told NPR: “Sullivan is being charged with a corporate cover-up and Sullivan is being charged with the payment of hush money to conceal something that should have been revealed.”
A spokesperson for Sullivan sent a statement to NPR which claims that there is no merit to the charges and that Sullivan was just one member of Uber’s larger security team. The spokesperson said: “If not for Mr. Sullivan’s and his team’s efforts, it’s likely that the individuals responsible for this incident never would have been identified at all.” The spokesperson alleges that Uber’s legal team was responsible for deciding if the data breach was disclosed, not Sullivan.
Uber spokesman Matt Kallman said: “We continue to cooperate fully with the Department of Justice’s investigation. Our decision in 2017 to disclose the incident was not only the right thing to do, it embodies the principles by which we are running our business today: transparency, integrity, and accountability.”
Prosecutors allege that Sullivan not only hid the breach from authorities but also concealed it from other Uber employees, including management. However, Sullivan reportedly informed Uber’s CEO at the time Travis Kalanick about the data breach and subsequent $100,000 payment to hackers. Kalanick has not been charged and would not comment on the story.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address firstname.lastname@example.org