When an online platform that spans across 13 countries and holds data belonging to millions of customers announces that it has been hacked, it is inevitable that all hell will break loose.
So naturally, when transportation network company Careem announced a couple of days ago that it had experienced a security breach way back in January that resulted in the personal data of 14M customers being compromised, there were two questions on everyone’s minds. First, why tell us almost 3 months later? And second, exactly which data are we talking about here? Here is what might have been compromised in the process.
1) Family Feuds
You know how your taxi rides to and from work/college were the perfect time to rant to your sister or mom over the phone about annoying family members and friends? Well, guess what, 14M other people were doing the same thing.
You might have been calling your khala’s friend’s neighbor dirty names. But what about the things your khala was saying about you? 558,000 captains… someone must’ve kept tabs.
2) Significant Others
I know you think you were very clandestine about meeting your dates…
But this security breach has left no rock unturned. Don’t think that they aren’t aware that you met with three different people over the past week. And, in fact, rest assured that the hackers now know more about your dates than you do; all your dates used Careem as well. (So, just FYI, that last guy was a professional drug dealer.)
3) Passenger Ratings
You thought it was just between you and the rider how many times you changed the drop-off location mid-way. Or canceled your ride when he was just three minutes away. But no more!
All those embarrassing little tidbits, all those times you and your ten friends stuffed yourselves into one cab, are no doubt going to be part of the information the hackers stole, in the form of your abysmally low passenger ratings.
4) Shades of Broke
People are worried about their bank account information being part of the data that was stolen, despite assurances by Careem that this is not the case; but that’s okay, it’s not like you had any dough in the bank in the first place. And you better believe the hackers know it.
Surely, there have been many times some of us have wished Careem had an “udhaar” system where you could pay them at a time when, preferably, you had more than 90 rupees in your pocket.
5) Incognito, Always
There’s something else the would-be hackers now know in hilarious detail: your efforts to make sure that no one finds out you took a taxi, including your overly thorough attention to petty detail.From evading the nosy gatekeepers at school, and lying to your parents about “that friend who offered me a ride”, to getting dropped off a good three blocks away from your intended location so you can keep up the pretense. (Sometimes not even knowing why you’re going to such great lengths.) Not to mention the many times you paid extra to keep the car running while you waited for a friend to show up before you went inside.
6) What Music Genre?
You know how you have those separate playlists with all the wistful, teary songs? They probably know it back to back, from all the times you listened to it with headphones on, at full blast.
(It’s no longer a secret that you like to listen to sad songs while it’s raining, and also that you never got over Akon.)
7) Dunhill Switch
You’re no angel; you’ve requested stop-overs to buy your favorite, go-to brand of cigarettes more than a time or two. Careem’s hackers will be well aware of the fact that you love the mint flavor. Dunhill Light is a big no-no.
Also, no sharing. You’ll even lie and pretend you don’t have any if your driver asks, even though you bought them two minutes ago right in front of him.
8) Loner Status: Max
There’s another unfortunate fact now out in the open; most of the times when you’re getting dropped off at a cafe, you’re usually going to be eating alone.
And even if you do have some company, it’s always the same two people you always go out with. That’s okay though, you know these loner hacker types; maybe they relate.
9) Stupid Screw-ups
Come to think of it, there are a lot of stupid things that we do every day thinking that no one’s watching or that no one will find out. And considering the fact that we spend most of every day with the Careem taxi service, they probably get a lot of opportunities to witness our silliest moments.For example, running all over the block and madly calling up the driver every other minute to find out where he is, only to find out that he was right in front of you the entire time. Or handing the driver a 50 when he asked for a 500, or mistakenly putting the phone on speaker while multitasking so the driver can also hear loud and clear what your mother is yelling at you.
Something to think about isn’t it? It’s not just our email addresses and phone numbers we need to worry about; all our most private quirks and habits hang in the balance as well…