back to article FBI probing Uber over use of 'Hell' spyware to track rival biz Lyft

The FBI is investigating allegations that Uber used its "Hell" program to track drivers from rival firm Lyft. The Wall Street Journal reports that one part of the investigation, led by the FBI's New York Office and Manhattan US Attorney's office, is into whether "Hell" counted as unauthorised computer access. An Uber …

  1. kain preacher

    Is there a word for some that can not follow the law ? Some one that is compelled to break all the rules and be a dick .

    1. Caltharian

      Yes there is!


      1. Nameless Faceless Computer User

        Re: Yes there is!

        no, American Corporation

  2. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge


    Uber is a criminal organization. It and it's VC's should be prosecuted under the RICO Act ( Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act). Plain & simple.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: RICO

      And the city mayors funded by political contributions from the taxi companies while charging $M for a taxi license and banning alternatives are a what ?

      1. whoseyourdaddy

        Re: RICO

        Uh, isn't ElReg chock full of articles where Uber is deliberately screwing their drivers to pay for driverless car technology with the ultimate hope of screwing everyone else?

        At least those medallions appreciate in value. At a certain price point, you don't have a glut of taxi services clogging the roadways agressively fighting over a limited number of customers. They're in a position to drive safe, be responsible, and in my experience, actually give a damn to care about customer service.

        "Banning alternatives".

        No one wins when pickup areas around airports are a parkinglot of Uber drivers trying to snare fares.

        My avoidance of Uber has everything to do with the observation that in the bay area, the majority of cars that slam on the brakes in traffic or double park while staring down at their phones...are Uber drivers.

        Never mind that a former coworker lost his life in a Nissan when his Uber driver pulled into traffic and was T-Boned. Sleep deprived? Don't care.

        F*ck Uber. Follow the laws or GTFO.

      2. G.Y.

        Re: RICO

        The $1M goes into a private person's pocket. Ask Charles I how this worked out.

      3. TVU

        Re: RICO

        "And the city mayors funded by political contributions from the taxi companies while charging $M for a taxi license and banning alternatives are a what ?".

        They are protecting their citizens from unchecked and unverified Uber drivers who, surprise surprise, often turn out to be convicted felons such as paedophiles, rapists and sex pests.

      4. FrankAlphaXII

        Re: RICO

        A Cartel. But don't call it that. People like the godawful Taxis here because they probably don't have to use them. If the Taxi cartel would fix their product Lyft and Uber wouldn't exist. But that makes sense. Can't have that. I will say that Lyft is better to work for, they had tipping about a year before Uber ever considered it.

        Anyway, a lot of drivers work for both Uber and Lyft (and some of the smaller companies), so l really wonder how useful tracking the competition would be. I don't see much of a need for it when the same people work for both.

    2. macjules Silver badge

      Re: RICO

      And obviously drug dealing as well. There is a definite subliminal message there that arrests were made in Portland, Oregon, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Austin. I hope they get all the Poppas.

  3. Jim-234

    Uber - All of your evil are belong to us

    It seems Uber is determined to be the most evil corporation possible & every day they invent new evil to do because the previous evil wasn't evil enough.

    The next time some Capitalist Utopian is blathering on about how the government shouldn't be interfering with corporations, and all that BS... you could just reply:... Uber....

    History seems to be repeating itself and we are going back to the late 1800s with the robber barons, trusts and mega industrialists of those days and the eventual laws that got put in place to keep them in check.

    The current batch of Technocrats are all pushing the limits of evil (Oracle is already into the pay us to work for us range of evil), and eventually it will once again cause public revolt & the politicians that looked the other way will come out in favour of big legislation to be seen to be fixing the problem (that they allowed in the first place). Politicians want that cash first but eventually get scared of being voted out of office (which would make them not able to get those sweet "contributions").

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Uber - All of your evil are belong to us

      Down vote as the only result of previous legislation, investigation and punishment is that every other corporation besides the ones that had bought the right politicians and regulators were put out of business. That's what will happen here. Crony Capitalism is very, very old. Older than capitalism and that's a neat trick indeed.

  4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    it's worth noting that the program is no longer operational,

    Ah, that's all right then. I'm no longer axe murdering people so no point in investigating that since any possible or alleged crimes are no longer happening.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: it's worth noting that the program is no longer operational,

      Works for the police / politicians / military - lessons have been learned, procedures put in place, people have been early retired on full pensions

  5. Tubz

    Uber should just sell up and go under, nobody likes them or wants them operating now, as they are just not trustworthy !

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      uber should just sell up and go under

      They would love to "sell up" in the form of an IPO.

      Tough to do when you've got a pack of clueless sociopaths in charge generating headlines like this.

  6. Terafirma-NZ

    As much as I have a distaste for Uber I wish the rest of the IT world would stop using them as the an example of the times and why I need to buy said vendors product.

    I get it you all make loads of $$ from pay as you go but using the most toxic company is current existence it not going to win me over.

    One recent event even went as far as using Uber as a positive example of woman in tech... Guess they never went online before writing their speech.

  7. imanidiot Silver badge

    I guess nobody saw that coming...

    The internal culture at Uber certainly WAS and probably still is rotten to the core. Companies where this sort of thing are happening are just screwed up internally from top to bottom. Replacing just management or just the underlings isn't going to do it. Once a culture like this sets in, it's very hard to get rid of.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like

  • NSO claims 'more than 5' EU states use Pegasus spyware
    And it's like, what ... 12, 13,000 total targets a year max, exec says

    NSO Group told European lawmakers this week that "under 50" customers use its notorious Pegasus spyware, though these customers include "more than five" European Union member states.

    The surveillance-ware maker's General Counsel Chaim Gelfand refused to answer specific questions about the company's customers during a European Parliament committee meeting on Thursday. 

    Instead, he frequently repeated the company line that NSO exclusively sells its spyware to government agencies — not private companies or individuals — and only "for the purpose of preventing and investigating terrorism and other serious crimes."

    Continue reading
  • Ex-Uber security chief accused of hushing database breach must face fraud charges
    Company execs and their lawyers are paying close attention to this one

    A US judge yesterday threw out an attempt to dismiss wire fraud charges against a former Uber employee accused of trying to cover up a computer crime.

    Former Uber security chief Joseph Sullivan is set to face criminal charges after US District Judge William Orrick yesterday [PDF] rejected his claim that prosecutors did not "adequately" allege that the goal of the claimed misrepresentation of the security breach was to get Uber's drivers to stay with the platform and continue paying service fees.

    In December last year, a federal grand jury handed down a superseding indictment adding wire fraud to the list of charges pending against Sullivan for his role in the alleged attempted cover-up of the 2016 security breach at Uber. The incident led to around 57 million user and driver records being stolen.

    Continue reading
  • Google: How we tackled this iPhone, Android spyware
    Watching people's every move and collecting their info – not on our watch, says web ads giant

    Spyware developed by Italian firm RCS Labs was used to target cellphones in Italy and Kazakhstan — in some cases with an assist from the victims' cellular network providers, according to Google's Threat Analysis Group (TAG).

    RCS Labs customers include law-enforcement agencies worldwide, according to the vendor's website. It's one of more than 30 outfits Google researchers are tracking that sell exploits or surveillance capabilities to government-backed groups. And we're told this particular spyware runs on both iOS and Android phones.

    We understand this particular campaign of espionage involving RCS's spyware was documented last week by Lookout, which dubbed the toolkit "Hermit." We're told it is potentially capable of spying on the victims' chat apps, camera and microphone, contacts book and calendars, browser, and clipboard, and beam that info back to base. It's said that Italian authorities have used this tool in tackling corruption cases, and the Kazakh government has had its hands on it, too.

    Continue reading
  • FBI warning: Crooks are using deepfake videos in interviews for remote gigs
    Yes. Of course I human. Why asking? Also, when you give passwords to database?

    The US FBI issued a warning on Tuesday that it was has received increasing numbers of complaints relating to the use of deepfake videos during interviews for tech jobs that involve access to sensitive systems and information.

    The deepfake videos include a video image or recording convincingly manipulated to misrepresent someone as the "applicant" for jobs that can be performed remotely. The Bureau reports the scam has been tried on jobs for developers, "database, and software-related job functions". Some of the targeted jobs required access to customers' personal information, financial data, large databases and/or proprietary information.

    "In these interviews, the actions and lip movement of the person seen interviewed on-camera do not completely coordinate with the audio of the person speaking. At times, actions such as coughing, sneezing, or other auditory actions are not aligned with what is presented visually," said the FBI in a public service announcement.

    Continue reading
  • LGBTQ+ folks warned of dating app extortion scams
    Uncle Sam tells of crooks exploiting Pride Month

    The FTC is warning members of the LGBTQ+ community about online extortion via dating apps such as Grindr and Feeld.

    According to the American watchdog, a common scam involves a fraudster posing as a potential romantic partner on one of the apps. The cybercriminal sends explicit of a stranger photos while posing as them, and asks for similar ones in return from the mark. If the victim sends photos, the extortionist demands a payment – usually in the form of gift cards – or threatens to share the photos on the chat to the victim's family members, friends, or employer.

    Such sextortion scams have been going on for years in one form or another, even attempting to hit Reg hacks, and has led to suicides.

    Continue reading
  • Former chip research professor jailed for not disclosing Chinese patents
    This is how Beijing illegally accesses US tech, say Feds

    The former director of the University of Arkansas’ High Density Electronics Center, a research facility that specialises in electronic packaging and multichip technology, has been jailed for a year for failing to disclose Chinese patents for his inventions.

    Professor Simon Saw-Teong Ang was in 2020 indicted for wire fraud and passport fraud, with the charges arising from what the US Department of Justice described as a failure to disclose “ties to companies and institutions in China” to the University of Arkansas or to the US government agencies for which the High Density Electronics Center conducted research under contract.

    At the time of the indictment, then assistant attorney general for national security John C. Demers described Ang’s actions as “a hallmark of the China’s targeting of research and academic collaborations within the United States in order to obtain U.S. technology illegally.” The DoJ statement about the indictment said Ang’s actions had negatively impacted NASA and the US Air Force.

    Continue reading
  • Man gets two years in prison for selling 200,000 DDoS hits
    Over 2,000 customers with malice on their minds

    A 33-year-old Illinois man has been sentenced to two years in prison for running websites that paying customers used to launch more than 200,000 distributed denial-of-services (DDoS) attacks.

    A US California Central District jury found the Prairie State's Matthew Gatrel guilty of one count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, unauthorized impairment of a protected computer and conspiracy to commit unauthorized impairment of a protected computer. He was initially charged in 2018 after the Feds shut down 15 websites offering DDoS for hire.

    Gatrel, was convicted of owning and operating two websites – and – that sold DDoS attacks. The FBI said that DownThem sold subscriptions that allowed the more than 2,000 customers to run the attacks while AmpNode provided customers with the server hosting. AmpNode spoofed servers that could be pre-configured with DDoS attack scripts and attack amplifiers to launch simultaneous attacks on victims.

    Continue reading
  • Enemies Waymo, Uber now friends making self-driving-ish trucks for US highways
    When you think about it, it makes cents

    Waymo and Uber announced on Tuesday a "long-term strategic partnership" promising to work together to deploy autonomous freight trucks on US roads, years after both companies fought bitterly over self-driving technology. 

    The collaboration will see Waymo retrofitting trucks with its AI-powered driving software operating on Uber's logistics and network infrastructure. Shippers can tap into the Uber Freight service to connect with truckers willing to deliver their goods across the country. Vehicles running the Waymo Driver software will be able to complete part of the journey autonomously, although human drivers will still need to be present.

    "With trucking, we plan to first tackle highway driving," a spokesperson from Waymo told The Register. "It's a natural environment to start this deployment due to the large number of highway miles, which are often the most tiring stretches for humans to drive, and which are a large opportunity to improve efficiency in the industry."

    Continue reading
  • Five Eyes alliance’s top cop says techies are the future of law enforcement
    Crims have weaponized tech and certain States let them launder the proceeds

    Australian Federal Police (AFP) commissioner Reece Kershaw has accused un-named nations of helping organized criminals to use technology to commit and launder the proceeds of crime, and called for international collaboration to developer technologies that counter the threats that behaviour creates.

    Kershaw’s remarks were made at a meeting of the Five Eyes Law Enforcement Group (FELEG), the forum in which members of the Five Eyes intelligence sharing pact – Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the UK and the USA – discuss policing and related matters. Kershaw is the current chair of FELEG.

    “Criminals have weaponized technology and have become ruthlessly efficient at finding victims,” Kerhsaw told the group, before adding : “State actors and citizens from some nations are using our countries at the expense of our sovereignty and economies.”

    Continue reading
  • Beijing-backed baddies target unpatched networking kit to attack telcos
    NSA, FBI and CISA issue joint advisory that suggests China hardly has to work for this – flaws revealed in 2017 are among their entry points

    State-sponsored Chinese attackers are actively exploiting old vulnerabilities to "establish a broad network of compromised infrastructure" then using it to attack telcos and network services providers.

    So say the United States National Security Agency (NSA), Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which took the unusual step of issuing a joint advisory that warns allied governments, critical infrastructure operators, and private industry organizations to hurry up and fix their IT estates.

    The advisory states that network devices are the target of this campaign and lists 16 flaws – some dating back to 2017 and none more recent than April 2021 – that the three agencies rate as the most frequently exploited.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022