Why is Uber hiring people to hack Jeeps?

Why is Uber hiring people to hack Jeeps?

The ride-sharing company has just employed people to hack into Jeep systems -- but why?

Ride-sharing company Uber has just hired a bunch of hackers who made headlines for remotely taking over a Jeep Cherokee from miles away.

Uber hired Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek — both security engineers — to work in their office in Pittsburgh, where their robotics research lab is located, according to a New York Times report.

Why? The company is trying to lock up the top technical talent in the industry. The men will work closely with Uber chief security officer Joe Sullivan and chief information security officer John Flynn to develop better safety and security features at Uber.

It shows that Uber is intent on expanding and locking down top talent. Currently, the company is valued at more than $50 billion, and it has raised $6 billion in private capital. Uber had previously poached Sullivan from Facebook, and the company has also grabbed talent from Google.

The San Francisco-based company is placing a renewed focus on security ever since its computer systems were hacked in February. It was a bad breach, exposing the names and driver’s license information of 50,000 of the company’s drivers.

With cars evolving from mechanical objects to more software-driven machines, hacking becomes a growing concern in the automobile industry. Verizon released a report last year that found that 14 car manufacturers controlled 80 percent of the auto market, and all of them are trying to make cars that are more connected to the Internet.

This reality is a potential problem for Uber, as just one hacking of an Uber vehicle could spell disaster for the company.

In 2013, Valasek and Miller were able to take control of a Ford and a Toyota simply by plugging in a diagnostic port, allowing them to change the speed and take control of steering.

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