Uber, the popular smartphone app for hailing crowd-sourced taxis, last night saw its Chinese operations hacked, with customer data potentially compromised.
According to Sohu, last night Uber’s Chinese region software suffered difficulties and went offline. Shortly after, drivers were told in private that the company was under attack by hackers and that data had been lost. Another post was then released more widely explaining the outage.
The announcement reads: “Hello, we’re very sorry! This afternoon both passenger and driver applications have run into some problems, our staff are working hard to restore service. It is possible that you will be unable to accept passengers or complete your journey. If you are unable to complete your journey, after the system comes back online please send us feedback including specific data about your route and time. After carrying out checks, we will refund your outstanding balance. Thanks!”
As of yet, Uber has not made any statement as to whether or not customer data was stolen during this specific attack or why its infrastructure is seemingly so vulnerable to hackers.
Uber has run into several problems in the Chinese market since its entry. Last month during a previous attack by hackers, the company confirmed that a large number of customer accounts had been illegally accessed.
At the beginning of this month, Uber also received negative press after one of its drivers in Hangzhou sexually harassed a female passenger. The company then feebly tried to make amends with a 20 yuan coupon to be redeemed on future rides.
UPDATE, April 19, 2.58am: Huang Xue, Communications Lead for Uber China has reached out to Shanghaiist dismissing the report by Sohu as being based on “social media speculation”. Uber China has issued a statement saying no data has been compromised:
Uber China Statement on Service Outage on April 17
Earlier this evening, a few cities were affected by a brief technical disruption. We sincerely apologize to riders and driver-partners who were inconvenienced by this occurrence. Our engineer team acted quickly to fix the issue, and service was resumed shortly after. The outage was caused solely by hardware failure, where no data was compromised. We urge all concerned to remain calm and to refrain from speculation.