Uber used remote tool to shut off devices during police raids

Uber used remote tool to shut off devices during police raids

Uber used remote tool to shut off devices during police raids

The tool, dubbed Ripley after the female heroine in the movie Alien, was in use from the spring of 2015 until late in 2016 in cities such as Paris, Hong Kong and Brussels, said Uber spokeswoman Melanie Ensign.

Bloomberg reports Uber has used the system at least two dozen times to lock down equipment in foreign offices to shield files from police raids.

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.

The system has reportedly been called Ripley, after the character played by Sigourney Weaver in the Alien film franchise who declares the best way to defeat the aliens: "Nuke the entire site from orbit".

A report by Bloomberg today claimed the dial-a-ride broker built a tool called Ripley to remotely lock and remove potentially incriminating data from machines in branch offices that were being raided by cops. The authorities believed Uber had violated tax laws and had a warrant to collect evidence. Their rides would be cancelled or would never arrive.

Past year the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced it is probing to see if Uber used software to illegally interfere with its competitors, the Wall Street Journal reported. According to Uber the software is necessary to protect company data, along with the privacy of passengers, drivers and Uber employees.

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Think of it as a panic button and Uber is calling it "Ripley".

"Like every company with offices around the world, we have security procedures in place to protect corporate and customer data", Uber said in a statement.

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.

'When it comes to government investigations, it's our policy to cooperate with all valid searches and requests for data.

The tax investigators wound up leaving without the company documents they had a warrant to obtain, reported Bloomberg, citing people with knowledge of the event.

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

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