Hackers access personal data of 14 million Careem taxi users

Updated 23 April 2018

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.


Jubilant cheers as Dubai begins one-year countdown to Expo 2020

Updated 20 October 2019

Jubilant cheers as Dubai begins one-year countdown to Expo 2020

  • Dubai prepares for eye-catching countdown on Burj Khalifa
  • Live performances from singer Mariah Carey and acclaimed Emirati singer and Expo 2020 ambassador Hussain Al-Jassmi

DUBAI: Crowds gathered at different locations in the UAE on Sunday night to mark its one-year countdown to Expo 2020 in October next year, with host emirates Dubai staging a spectacular concert, topped by a light projection on the iconic Burj Khalifa.

American superstar Mariah Carey was the star of the night, which also saw performances from regional artists including Khalifa, Shamma Hamdan, Abri and Funk Radius, Showcase and Jaysus Zain. The audience also grooved to a few Arabic tunes from Emirati singer Hussain Al-Jassmi.

A make-shift stage was set up at the Burj Park in Dubai’s downtown area to host the performances, while people also enjoyed a good view of the tallest building in the world. The countdown was facilitated by Emirati social media sensation Khalid Al-Ameri and Bollywood actress Shraddah Kapoor. 

A 3-minute firework display lit up the skies of Dubai as the crowd eagerly waited for Carey to appear on stage.

The 49-year-old singer sang her all-time favorite songs, including “Emotion,” “We Belong Together,” and a revival of the Motown classic “I’ll Be There,” to an enthusiastic audience who didn’t mind the heat and humidity at the outdoor venue.

The other six emirates also marked the occasion with free-for-all activities in venues such as the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Al Majaz Waterfront in Sharjah, Ajman Museum, Umm Al Quwain Corniche, Al Qawasim Corniche in Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah Fort.

The events, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Expo 2020 Director-General Reem Al-Hashimy said, will “offer a window into the once-in-a-lifetime celebration that awaits from October 20, 2020.”

“The next 12 months will see us put the finishing touches to ensure an exceptional World Expo,” she added, in a report by state-run WAM.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi featured YouTube sensation Sandra Sahi, as well as singers Stephon Lemar, Layla Kardan, the Emirati Trio.

Indian band ROOH, singer and pianist Clarita de Quiroz, Egyptian oud player Rami Zaki and other regional artists were celebrating the count down at Sharjah’s Al Marjaz waterfront.

While the Ajman Museum hosted Arabic fusion band, pop-rock musician Hydyy, Emirati soul singer Chakram, poet Storm Fernandes, artist Humaira Hussain and MC Mohammed Enaba.

The 6-month Expo 2020, to be held at a vast new site in the south of Dubai, will officially open on Oct. 20 next year, with organizers expecting an estimate of 25 million visitors.