Security Experts:

Flaws Allowed Hackers to Access Uber Driver, Passenger Details

Researchers from Portugal-based security consulting and audit firm Integrity have discovered more than a dozen vulnerabilities in Uber websites and services, including issues that could have been exploited to access driver and passenger information.

Experts identified a total of 14 issues, including six that were classified by Uber as duplicates and four that they cannot disclose just yet.

One interesting flaw identified by researchers was related to promotion codes. They discovered that the riders.uber.com website did not include any protection against brute-force attacks, allowing attackers to generate promo codes until they found valid ones.

The researchers managed to find over 1,000 valid codes using brute force, but Uber said the issue was not valid because promotion codes are supposed to be public. However, the ridesharing company’s security team changed its mind after experts found a $100 ERH (emergency ride home) code that could be applied on top of other promo codes, and which the security team had not been aware of.

While analyzing the Uber app, experts discovered that the response sent by the server when a user wants to split the fare with someone contains the unique identifiers (UUIDs) of both the driver and the person invited to split the fare. Using this UUID, researchers managed to obtain the associated user’s private email address using requests made to Uber servers via the Help section of the app.

Anyone can download and install the Uber driver app on their mobile device, but the application can only be accessed using accounts that have been activated by the company. Integrity found that the app could have been accessed simply by changing the value of a variable called “isActivated” from “false” to “true.”

After gaining access to the driver app, experts found a way to get a driver’s name, license plate, and information on the last passenger and their trip simply by knowing the targeted driver’s UUID. The UUID can be obtained by requesting a car and then cancelling the order – the UUID is included in the request.

Researchers also managed to access the full path of a driver’s trip, but they will disclose the details of this issue at a later time.

Another vulnerability found by Integrity could have been exploited by an attacker to impersonate a user whose UUID they knew to access their entire list of trips, including driver details, cost and locations.

The experts said they were happy with how Uber runs its bug bounty program, but advised the company to provide testing accounts that allow hackers to look for vulnerabilities without having to worry about getting blocked.

Earlier this month, a researcher received $10,000 from Uber after identifying a critical authentication bypass issue in a third-party plugin used on the company’s WordPress websites.

view counter
Eduard Kovacs is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.