Uber Social Engineering Attack: How Lapsus Used WhatsApp to Trick an Employee

Learn about the Uber social engineering attack carried out by hacker group Lapsus in 2017. Find out how the hackers used WhatsApp to trick an employee into revealing login credentials and gain access to sensitive company data.

Dec 27, 2022 - 01:02
Jan 14, 2023 - 16:42
Uber Social Engineering Attack: How Lapsus Used WhatsApp to Trick an Employee
Uber Lapsus

In 2017, ride-hailing giant Uber suffered a major data breach that exposed the personal information of 57 million riders and drivers. While the company initially tried to cover up the breach, it was eventually revealed that the attack was the result of a successful social engineering campaign carried out by a group known as Lapsus.

The attack began with a phishing email sent to an Uber employee, purporting to be from the company's CEO, Travis Kalanick. The email contained a link that, when clicked, installed malware on the employee's computer. This gave the hackers access to the employee's login credentials, which they used to gain access to Uber's cloud-based data storage system. From there, they were able to download a large amount of sensitive data, including names, email addresses, and driver's license numbers.

To make matters worse, the hackers also used WhatsApp to trick another employee into revealing additional login credentials. By posing as a trusted colleague, they were able to obtain access to even more sensitive data.

So how can businesses protect themselves from similar attacks? Here are a few steps that can help reduce the risk of social engineering attacks:

  1. Educate employees: It's important to educate your employees about the dangers of phishing emails and other social engineering tactics. This includes training them to be on the lookout for suspicious emails and links, and to never reveal login credentials or other sensitive information to anyone they don't know.

  2. Implement strong passwords: Make sure that all employees are using strong, unique passwords for their accounts. This can help prevent hackers from guessing or cracking passwords and gaining access to sensitive data.

  3. Use two-factor authentication: Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to login processes by requiring employees to enter a second form of authentication, such as a code sent to their phone, in addition to their password. This can help prevent unauthorized access even if an employee's password is compromised.

  4. Regularly update security measures: Make sure to keep all security software and systems up to date with the latest patches and updates. This can help prevent hackers from exploiting known vulnerabilities.

  5. Limit access to sensitive data: Only grant employees access to the data and systems that they need to do their job. This can help reduce the attack surface and make it more difficult for hackers to gain access to sensitive data.

By taking these steps, businesses can better protect themselves from social engineering attacks and other cyber threats. While it's not possible to completely eliminate the risk of a data breach, these measures can help reduce the likelihood of an attack and mitigate the damage if one does occur.