Uber Hires Jeep Hackers to Improve Automobile Security
NEWS ANALYSIS: Two of the most (in)famous hackers in the world have a new job—thanks to their hack of a Chrysler Jeep that led to the recall of 1.4 million vehicles.In the world of security research, much of the work is long, boring and tedious, but somehow the best researchers make it all seem interesting and exciting. Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek are not your average security researchers—while they have the technical chops to do the tedious work, they also have an unmatched onstage persona and charisma that electrify those who see them speak. Miller and Valasek made headlines around the world earlier this month with a remote stunt hack of a Chrysler Jeep that led to the recall of 1.4 million vehicles. The two men conducted the Jeep research together, even though they both worked at different companies. Miller had been working at Twitter at the time, while Valasek was employed by security firm IOactive. As of today, both researchers are now employed by Uber, tasked with looking at automotive security. The fact that Miller and Valasek left their employers so they could work together shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who has been watching. In a press conference at the Black Hat USA 2015 event where the duo presented their car hacking research, they were repeatedly asked about job offers from auto companies. The answer from the charismatic duo was that they hadn't been approached. Perhaps the most amazing aspect of Miller and Valasek's research is the fact that the two men said that it was done as a hobby. Miller's day job at Twitter had nothing to do with car research, and Valasek admitted that he still had to do other things at IOactive as part of his day job. At IOactive, Valasek held the title of director of vehicle security research, so car research was at least under the larger banner of his overall responsibilities.
Valasek leaving IOactive doesn't mean that company will discontinue its vehicle research efforts. In fact, Jennifer Steffens, CEO of IOactive, tweeted to eWEEK that her company isn't giving up on vehicle research.