Hackers access personal data of 14 million Careem taxi users

Updated 23 April 2018
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Hackers access personal data of 14 million Careem taxi users

  • Careem has said there’s been no breach of customers’ payment data, but advised users to monitor their bank accounts
  • The company was aware of the hack in January, but only notified users on Monday

DUBAI: Millions of Careem customers were urged on Monday to check their bank and credit-card accounts after the taxi company admitted that cybercriminals had hacked into app users’ account details three months ago.

The company told Arab News that financial data such as bank account details had not been accessed in the breach, but that other data had, including people’s names, phone numbers and emails. 

Nevertheless, it advised customers: “Continue to review bank account and credit card statements for suspicious activity – if you see anything unexpected, call your bank.”

The security breach took place on Jan. 14, but Careem advised customers only on Monday. Raed Nesheiwat, a cyber information security expert in Amman, said the delay was a “huge” problem. 

“Hackers got all Careem’s clients and captains’ personal information. Waiting three months to reveal this to the public is completely unacceptable,” he said.

“They allowed the hackers to use that data while their clients were not aware of the breach.”

Careem told customers in an email on Monday that it had “identified a cyber incident involving unauthorized access to the system we use to store data.”

It said credit-card information remained safe, but the hackers had been able to access customers’ names, email addresses, phone numbers and trip data.

The company said it had “seen no evidence of fraud or misuse related to this incident.”

It went on: “It is our responsibility to be open and honest with you, and to reaffirm our commitment to protecting your privacy and data.”

Careem is thought to have about 14 million customers across the Middle East, all of whose data has been accessed.

A Careem call handler in Dubai told Arab News: “We wanted to make sure we had all the information before we notified customers.”

She said that on discovering the breach Careem worked with the Dubai authorities to establish what had happened.

Asked why customers were not told sooner, she said: “We did not want to alert the hackers that we were aware of the breach before the issue was fixed.”

She said no bank account details had been hacked as this data was held separately, but that other personal information as listed in the company’s email had been accessed.

On the Careem email customers were told to change their passwords and avoid opening emails and links from suspicious or unfamiliar sources.


Saudi Aramco to invest in refinery-petrochemical project in east China

Updated 18 October 2018
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Saudi Aramco to invest in refinery-petrochemical project in east China

  • This is the third such project in China that Saudi Aramco has set its sight on
  • Last month, Saudi Aramco signed a long-term deal with the Zhejiang project’s operator Zhejiang Rongsheng to supply crude oil

ZHOUSHAN, China/SINGAPORE: State oil giant Saudi Aramco signed an agreement on Thursday to invest in a refinery-petrochemical project in eastern China, part of its strategy to expand in downstream operations globally.
The memorandum of understanding between the company and Zhejiang province included plans to invest in a new refinery and co-operate in crude oil supply, storage and trading, according to details released by the Zhoushan government after a signing ceremony in the city south of Shanghai.
Zhejiang Petrochemical, 51 percent owned by textile giant Zhejiang Rongsheng Holding Group, is building a 400,000-barrels-per-day refinery and associated petrochemical facilities that was expected to start operations by the end of this year.
This is the third such project in China that Saudi Aramco has set its sight on as it seeks to lock in long-term outlets for its crude oil and produce fuel and petrochemicals to meet rising demand in Asia and cushion the risk of a slowdown in oil consumption.
Last month, Saudi Aramco signed a long-term deal with the Zhejiang project’s operator Zhejiang Rongsheng to supply crude oil.
The oil giant had not yet finalized the size of its stake in the project and still needed to complete due diligence, Aramco’s Senior Vice President of Downstream, Abdulaziz Al-Judaimi, said on the sidelines of the event.
Saudi Aramco expects to supply 170,000 barrels per day of Saudi crude to the refinery in Zhoushan when it starts operations, he said.
The first crude carrier supplying the refinery should arrive in December or January, depending on when the project starts, he added.
Aramco also owns part of the Fujian refinery-petrochemical plant with Sinopec and Exxon Mobil Corp, and has plans to build a 300,000-bpd refinery with China’s Norinco. It is also in talks with PetroChina to invest in a refinery in Yunnan.