Due to the potential of foreign intelligence entities capitalizing on rideshare services to acquire sensitive information—particularly related to national security—the public should avoid discussing personal details, intellectual property, or business information with rideshare drivers. Rideshare services—including Uber and Lyft—have become increasingly popular means of transportation with Uber providing five billion rides last year, according to Forbes.
According to a Gallup poll, the District, Maryland, and Virginia rank the highest nationally in the proportion of residents who work for federal, state, or local government entities—38 percent of residents in DC, 27 percent in Virginia, and 26 percent in Maryland.
In July 2018, multiple attendees at a national security conference in Colorado reported suspicious, probing questions from a rideshare driver.
Rideshare company background checks may not adequately screen potential drivers, some of whom may have foreign government experience that make them valuable intelligence collectors.
In May 2019, open-source media reported that a former Somali military commander and alleged war criminal had secured employment as a rideshare driver in the National Capital Region.
The NTIC encourages the public to:
Avoid drawing attention to yourself—do not volunteer information about your work and responsibilities.
Prepare to answer questions—think about what you can and cannot share about your employment.
Do not sync your wireless device to the driver’s vehicle. Doing so could inadvertently expose your network to surveillance software or other malware.
Do not display official documents or emails so others can see them. Wait until you arrive at your destination to go over paperwork that might include sensitive information.
Ask to be dropped off early if anything about the ride or the driver makes you uncomfortable.
In addition to protecting information, do not forget basic safety practices:
Confirm that you have the right car before entering.
Compare the vehicle description—including plate number, vehicle make, and color—on the app to the vehicle stopping to pick you up. Ensure they are the same.
Ask the driver for their name before entering the vehicle. The app will display the driver’s name. Ensure they are the same.
Never give your name first. If the driver asks, confirm your identity.
Always wear your seatbelt.
Tell your friends and colleagues when you are traveling or share your location via the app.