Uber Security Bug: Hacker Gets Free Unlimited Uber Rides

4 March 2017, 5:50 am EST By Vittorio Hernandez Mobile & Apps

By selecting an invalid payment method, such as “abc” or “xyz,” an Uber passenger could ride the cab for free. It is an Uber security bug that Anand Prakash, a product security engineer, discovered while testing the app of the ride-hailing service for security loopholes.

Trials In U.S. & India

Prakash tried exploiting Uber’s security loophole and he avoided paying for the ride when he exploited the bug by specifying an invalid payment method, The Telegraph reports. But before he did that, he sought permission from the Uber team and tried the security loophole in India and the U.S. to demonstrate the bug.

“I wasn’t charged from any of my payment methods, Prakash, also a computer programmer, shares. He notes that attackers could misuse the security loophole and get away having unlimited free rides from their Uber accounts. However, since he identified the issue in August 2016, the bug has been fixed and freeloaders could no longer exploit it.

Uber, in turn, rewarded Prakash under its bug bounty hunters program which has 200 researchers looking for bugs that hackers could exploit. The reward for researchers who could identify critical issued could be up to $10,000.

Uber's Bounty Reward

Since it is Prakash’s source of livelihood, he has so far been paid by Uber $13,500 as bounty reward. Besides Uber, Prakash had also identified how to take over any Facebook account and alter its password. As a result, Facebook signed him up under its White Hat bug-finding program where Prakash is one of its top hackers.

Prakash has a blog on web application security where he wrote about the Uber security bug and Facebook hack, The Sun reports. Had he not discovered the bug and other hackers did and exploited it, the security loophole could potentially dent the financial viability of San Francisco-based Uber which has operations in 528 cities globally.

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