SoftBank knew about the massive hack Uber suffered in late 2016 before details of the incident were publicly revealed on Tuesday, the ride-hailing company confirmed in a statement issued to Bloomberg. The breach that compromised approximately seven million drivers and 50 million riders was disclosed to the Japanese conglomerate as part of its due diligence investigation into the world's most valuable startup which it intends to back with around $10 billion in the near future, seeking to gain at least a 14 percent stake in it. As per a statement from an Uber official, the information that was given to SoftBank was still "incomplete" as the firm didn't conclude its investigation into the matter at that time, but the management opted for disclosure in an effort of negotiating with a potential investor in good faith.
Good faith is what some critics claim Uber was lacking in its approach to addressing the general public that was unaware of the incident for over a year despite being affected by it. People from all over the world were compromised in the breach that occurred at some point in October 2016, with Uber's management led by now-former Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick opting to cover up the ordeal and paying $100,000 to hackers responsible for the incident in exchange for having them delete the stolen data. Uber believes the leaked information was never used but previously refused to reveal the identities of the hackers, though it's currently unclear whether it even holds such information. No highly sensitive data like social security numbers, riding histories, and credit card info is said to have been compromised in the hack whose perpetrators allegedly obtained names, email addresses, and phone numbers of tens of millions of riders around the world, as well as numerous driver's license of people working for Uber.
Uber Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan was fired in the aftermath of the ordeal as new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi continues to clean house in an effort to repair the startup's damaged public image. The company says it didn't disclose the hack to the public earlier as it still didn't have a complete picture of the event. At least four European Union state members are presently investigating the incident and may opt to fine the San Francisco, California-based ride-hailing startup next year.