Uber Hires Jeep Hackers, Becomes Bigger Threat
Uber recently hired two new associates for their Advanced Technologies Center, and they’re whoppers: Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek. If those names sound familiar, it’s because they’re the guys who hijacked a Jeep with their computer this year.
Earlier this summer, Wired published a story and video about the two security researchers who hijacked a Jeep remotely from a couch to cover automotive vulnerabilities. The stunt had polarized reactions—some disgusted by the riskiness of it, while others celebrated its guts and relevance.
The fact is that cars are becoming increasingly linked to technology and the Internet. The problem with creating dialed-in cars, is that automakers haven’t necessarily taken the steps needed to keep each vehicle’s system autonomous; that is, they’re vulnerable to hackers and all of the potential hazards that come with being hijacked from a computer.
Uber has a lot of moving variables as a $50 billion ride sharing company (pun intended), and hiring Miller and Valasek could make riders feel more secure and have competitors shaking. In theory, Uber could hack all of their competitors and make a mess of ride sharing for their own gain—not that they would do that.
Beyond the immediate implications of this news, many continue to be impressed by the seemingly effortless ability of Uber to hire top tier talent. Miller was a security engineer for Twitter and Valasek was the vehicle safety researcher at Idactive. In fact, they poached the bulk of their staff from leading companies like Google and Carnegie Mellon.
With a reach like that, it would appear that they don’t need to use their powers for evil. Their power is undeniable. Uber can instead use Miller and Valasek to ensure the continued safety of their own service from potential technology-driven threats. (At least, that’s what we hope.)