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Here’s how we could’ve ridden for free with Uber

Anand Prakash
January 26th, 2018 · 1 min read


This post is about a critical bug on Uber which could have been used by hackers to get unlimited free Uber rides anywhere in the world. This post also explains few best practices while integrating payment gateways.


Uber Technologies Inc. is an online transportation network company, headquartered in San Francisco, California, with operations in 528 cities worldwide. Users can create their account on and book a ride. When the ride is completed a user can either pay cash or charge it to their credit/debit card.

But, by specifying an invalid payment method (for example, abc, xyz, and so on), we were able to ride Uber for free.

To demonstrate the bug, we got permission from the Uber Team and took a free ride in India. We weren’t charged for any of our rides, using the invalid payment method.

Vulnerable request:

1POST /api/dial/v2/requests HTTP/1.1
3Host: {“start_latitude”:12.925151699999999,

Steps to reproduce:

  1. Replayed the above request with random characters as payment_method_id.

  2. Ride was free.

Video POC:

Thanks to Uber Security team for fixing this quickly.

The timeline

Aug 22nd 2016: Vulnerability Report to Uber.

Aug 26th 2016: Uber requested more information about the bug.

Aug 26th 2016: Took a free ride and replied with ride details

Aug 27th 2016: Vulnerability fixed by Uber.

Sep 10th 2016: Rewarded with $5000 bounty by Uber.


As a developer, you should always take care of the below test cases when integrating payments:

a) Verify if the payment was success or failure by doing a server to server request to payment gateway or verifying checksum to the payment gateway provider.

b) Always validate the amount of the item with the amount which was paid by the user to the payment gateway.

c) Validate currency in the payment API calls. For example, the attacker can pay 50 IDR for a 50 USD item.

d) If you are storing credit cards/debit card information, then always check for authorisation if an identifier is being passed in one of the API requests.

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