Uber ex-security chief must face fraud charges over hacking coverup: US judge

Former Uber security chief Joseph Sullivan hoped to reduce charges against him for allegedly covering up a 2016 hack exposing the data of 57 million people.

A US federal judge has confirmed that former Uber security chief Joseph Sullivan must face charges of wire fraud over his alleged role in the events following a hack on the ride-sharing startup in 2016. The hack leaked the personal data of 57 million drivers and passengers.

Reported by Reuters, Sullivan was initially charged by the US Department of Justice in December 2021 for arranging to pay money to two hackers to silence them, as well as concealing the hack from passengers, drivers, and authorities. These charges were added to an earlier indictment against Sullivan.

Sullivan's attorneys had tried to claim that he had not deceived the drivers, but rather Uber Founder and then CEO Travis Kalanick and the company's general counsel. However, the judge rejected the premise of the argument.

"Those purported misrepresentations, though not made directly to Uber drivers, were part of a larger scheme to defraud them" the presiding judge wrote.

Sullivan was initially indicted in September 2020, and is believed to be the first corporate information security officer to be criminally charged with concealing a hacking. Sullivan allegedly arranged to pay the hackers $100,000 in bitcoin, and asked them to sign non-disclosure agreements falsely stating that they had not stolen the data.

Edited by Teja Lele


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