Uber has patched a flaw that allowed free rides to the ones who were able to discover it. The hacker has been rewarded by Uber for identifying and reporting the bug.
Anand Prakash is a Security Researcher and a white-hat hacker. He earns money by identifying vulnerabilities in the websites. He spotted the bug in the Uber system a few months ago. With permission from Uber, he exploited the bug to get free rides in the US and India.
Prakash reported the issue through Uber’s bug bounty program, which rewards hackers for reporting security vulnerabilities. Many tech companies have bug bounty programs including Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and Microsoft. Depending upon the type of vulnerability, Uber rewards the hackers an amount within the range of $100-$10,000.
The ride-hailing company paid Prakash $5000 for identifying a loophole in the system that would allow anyone to enjoy unlimited rides, free of cost. He writes in his blog,
“Attackers could have misused this by taking unlimited free rides from their uber account.”
The vulnerability existed in the payment methods. Prakash demonstrated this in a video where he was able to dodge the system by specifying an invalid payment method such as abc or xyz. An Uber spokesperson told Techcrunch,
“Uber’s bug bounty program works with security researchers all over the world to fix bugs, even when they don’t directly impact our users. We appreciate Anand’s ongoing contributions and were happy to reward him for an excellent report,”
Prakash is ranked 14th in Uber’s Bug Bounty Program. Last year, he was rewarded $15,000 by Facebook for identifying a bug that could hack Facebook accounts.