Lapse of IT security, breach(es) and OlaCabs’ statement
June 8th, 2015
OlaCabs is an online cab aggregator based out of Mumbai and among the fastest growing taxi hiring firms. Taxi booking facility can be availed through app, website or through calls.
It was founded on 3 December 2010 by Bhavish Aggarwal (currently CEO) and Ankit Bhati. By 2014, the company has expanded to a network of more than 18000 cars across more than 65 cities. In November 2014, Ola expanded to incorporate autos on-trial basis in Bengaluru. Post the trial phase, Ola Auto expanded to other cities like Delhi, Pune and Chennai starting December 2014.
OlaCab’s system has allegedly been hacked by a hacker group called ‘TeamUnknown’. They posted it on Reddit after their audacious success in the same and claimed it to be like ‘winning a lottery’. According to the group, their goal was to merely expose OlaCab’s weak security and have reportedly said that they have no intention to use the data obtained, which includes credit card information, unused vouchers and the user database.
Their Application design is very poor and their development server is weakly configured. The hack was a little tricky and involved many steps to get to the database. Once we got to the database it was like winning a lottery. It had all the user details along with credit card transaction history and unused vouchers. The voucher codes are not even out yet. Its obvious that we wont be using credit card details and voucher codes. We dropped them a mail but no response from their side as of now. You can see the snapshots in the links given below. I am sure OLA might be having a security team of their own. Not that good it seems 😉
The screenshots suggest that the hackers have access to email IDs of various employees along with their phone numbers, and can execute MySQL queries that can retrieve any information from OlaCabs database.
A fact to be noted is that this isn’t OlaCabs’ first ‘publicly out’ breach. Its previous system ‘hack’ came to surface in March 2015, two months after Shubham Paramhans noticed the glitch and several attempts to bring the OlaCab’s IT security team to fix the same. After waiting for more than sixty days, it wasn’t fixed and Shubham was forced to expose the same.
An official statement from the company on 8th June 2015 reads the following:
There has been no security lapse, whatsoever to any user data. The alleged hack seems to have been performed on a staging environment when exposed for one of our test runs. The staging environment is on a completely different network compared to our production environment, and only has dummy user values exclusively used for internal testing purposes. We confirm that there has been no attempt by the hackers to reach out to us in this regard. Security and privacy of customer data is paramount to us at Ola.