Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Markets | By Erika Turner

Uber Used Another Secret Software Program to Evade Police

Uber Used Another Secret Software Program to Evade Police

According to three people worth knowledge of the system, Ripley was utilised between Spring 2015 and late 2016 to routinely prevent authorities across the world from obtaining evidence against the company.

Ripley was developed by Uber's security and legal teams; Joe Sullivan and Salle Yoo, who respectively ran the company's security and legal departments, have since left Uber.

Uber employees took to calling the program Ripley after Sigourney Weaver's character in the "Alien" movies.

Company spokeswoman Melanie Ensign confirmed that the tool existed, but said it was no longer in use.

The outlet reports Uber used a system dubbed "Ripley" multiple times to remotely shut off computers in its overseas offices, a way of keeping law enforcement out of the systems. The reported cited an incident back in 2015 where Quebec's tax authority came to Uber's office in Montreal, believing the company to have violated tax laws.

In addition to Ripley, Uber also reportedly explored other ways to avoid compliance with investigations. Uber maintained that it never deleted the files and cooperated with another search warrant in which the files were covered once again. But as he works to rebrand Uber in the eyes of the public and set the company back on track, he continues to uncover new messes that Kalanick left behind, including regulatory threats to Uber's business overseas, and a major data breach made worse by former employees' efforts to hide it.

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We understand why Uber has to be extra careful with their data, considering that they access to the private data of millions of people across the world.

It also mentions another system, called uLocker, which it says was contemplated for times when Uber wanted to be "less transparent".

According to Bloomberg, 'The Uber HQ team overseeing Ripley could remotely change passwords and otherwise lock up data on company-owned smartphones, laptops, and desktops as well as shut down the devices'. "When it comes to government investigations, it's our policy to cooperate with all valid searches and requests for data".

Ryan Kalember from cybersecurity firm Proofpoint added that although it is standard practice to be able to remotely lock all systems or wipe data from devices, it's less typical to develop a specific tool and to give it such an evocative name.

Less than a week after Greyball was exposed, Uber said it stopped using the software.

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