Looks Like Uber Got Hacked Last Year: Here’s How to Protect Your Identity

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Another day, another hack.

We hate to say it, but data hacks are becoming the norm. Think: Pizza Hut, Equifax and Forever 21.

The latest company to join the never-ending list? Uber.

Although this data breach only recently come to light, it actually occurred more than a year ago — in October 2016. Hackers got their hands on the data of more than 57 million riders and drivers, according to Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi’s blog post.

The data included names, email addresses and phone numbers. The driver’s license numbers of about 600,000 U.S. Uber drivers were also exposed.

So why are we just hearing about Uber hack?

Well, the company managed to keep the breach a secret under former CEO Travis Kalanick, according to multiple news outlets, including the New York Times, by paying a $100,000 ransom. The incident was uncovered after a recent internal investigation.

Now, Khosrowshahi, who didn’t know about the Uber hack until recently, is making strides to be transparent.

Khosrowshahi also ensures Uber drivers and riders that their information is OK.

“At the time of the incident, we took immediate steps to secure the data and shut down further unauthorized access by the individuals,” his announcement states.

“We subsequently identified the individuals and obtained assurances that the downloaded data had been destroyed. We also implemented security measures to restrict access to and strengthen controls on our cloud-based storage accounts.”

That’s great and all, but what if this happens again?

How to Protect Yourself From Data Breaches…

…even if they’re kept secret…

We’ve got two easy steps you can take to help protect yourself in the future. Do note: You can definitely do both of these.

Option 1: Protect Your Identity — for Free

Start by taking a super simple — and free — step: Sign up for credit-monitoring alerts.

You can find this service on a number of platforms, including Credit Sesame. Here, you’ll gain access to your credit score and your credit report. You can also sign up for email or text alerts, so the service will let you know if anything weird is going on.

It also offers $50,000 in identity theft insurance. Again, for free.

Option 2: Freeze Your Credit

If you want to take a more aggressive approach — and don’t mind dropping a few dollars — consider freezing your credit.

Credit Sesame defines a credit freeze as  “a process which locks down your credit file and prevents identity thieves and cyber criminals from opening credit in your name.”

Basically, no one can do anything with that information except you.

When you do need access to your credit — for example, when you open a new bank account, sign up for a credit card or apply for a mortgage — you’ll unfreeze (or thaw) it. The process  only takes a few hours and shouldn’t cost more than $20.

If you want to learn the ins and outs of credit freezes, read up on this guide.

Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

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