Uber hiring two security researchers to improve technology: source

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 28, 2015 3:36 PM

By Joseph Menn

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Private ride service Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] is hiring two top vehicle security researchers as it ramps up its work on technology for self-driving cars, a person familiar with the matter said on Friday.

Charlie Miller, who has been working at Twitter Inc, and Chris Valasek, who quit Friday at security firm IOActive, will be announced Monday as new hires at the fast-growing company looks to expand its technology effort, the person said.

Miller and Valasek won wide attention this month after demonstrating that they could hack into a moving Jeep. The men said they could not comment until after the weekend.

If Uber plunges more deeply into developing or adapting self-driving cars, Miller and Valasek could help the company make that technology more secure. Uber had no immediate comment.

Uber on Tuesday announced a partnership with the University of Arizona, offering the university grant money to fund research into the optics and mapping technology needed for autonomous vehicles, and the San Francisco company will test self-driving cars on the streets of Tucson, Arizona.

This partnership follows a more tumultuous effort with Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, one of the world's top robotics research institutions, that resulted in Uber hiring away more than 40 of its experts in autonomous vehicles.

Miller and Valasek's Jeep efforts, which were coordinated with manufacturer Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, prompted the first vehicle recall to protect drivers from possible malicious hacking.

FCA USA LLC recalled 1.4 million vehicles to install software intended to prevent hackers from emulating the experiment, which used the cellular network to enter the entertainment system and then win control of the engine, brakes and steering.

(Reporting by Joseph Menn; Additional reporting by Heather Somerville and Jim Finkle; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)