Uber Hires Security Researchers Who Hacked A Jeep To Protect Its Self-Driving Cars From Cyber Attacks

uberlogodogsAs technology advances and our cars become more and more autonomous, they are also opened up more and more to a new danger that didn’t used to exist on the roads — hack attacks. To protect that new technology and reassure future customers that riding in self-driving cars can be safe, Uber has hired the same two vehicle security researchers who managed to remotely hack a Jeep earlier this summer.

Uber Technologies announced that Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek would be joining the company as of this week, reports Reuters. Miller had been employed at Twitter and Valasek was working at security firm IOActive.

They’ll be joining other autonomous vehicle experts hired away from Carnegie Mellon University at Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center, a research center the company opened in Pittsburg in February.

A spokeswoman said the duo will work with the company’s top security officers “to continue building out a world-class safety and security program at Uber.” It’s likely that their jobs will include figuring out how to protect the cars against attacks from people like themselves.

If Uber didn’t have to pay the hundreds and thousand of contract drivers ferrying passengers around every day, it would mean it could pocket a lot more money from each fare. To achieve this dream, Uber has been hiring experts from universities and research centers to stock its talent pool.

The company also announced a partnership last week with the University of Arizona that will put money toward research into the mapping and safety technology needed for autonomous vehicles. Uber will then test those prototypes on the streets of Tucson.

After Miller and Valasek hacked a Jeep Cherokee, exploiting the system’s cellular network to sneak in through the entertainment system and get control of the car’s engine, brakes and steering, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles recalled 1.4 million vehicles so users could install software to prevent hackers from replicating the attack.

Jeep Cherokee owners have since filed a lawsuit against FCA and Harman International, the makers of the UConnect infotainment system that was breached. The three plaintiffs are seeking class-action status, accusing FCA and Harman of fraud, negligence, unjust enrichment and breach of warranty.

Uber hires two security researchers to improve car technology [Reuters]