Chris Valasek and Charlie Miller, the security researchers behind some of the most prominent car-hacking studies to date, are taking on their next automotive challenge.
Both announced Friday they're leaving their current positions. Miller said he's starting work next week at the Uber Advanced Technology Center, the Pittsburgh-based research arm of the ride-sharing giant.
"Looking forward to starting Tuesday with the great team at @Uber Advanced Technology Center," Miller tweeted Friday afternoon. "Should be a cool challenge and a lot of fun."
Valasek said Friday he's leaving IOActive, an information security firm where he's been the director of vehicle security research. Employees of the advanced technology center publicly welcomed both him and Miller on Friday, and an Uber spokesperson confirmed their hires later in the day.
The pair will "work closely with Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan and Chief Information Security Officer John Flynn to continue building out a world-class safety and security program at Uber," the spokesperson said. The company has been working on self-driving car technologies and is in the process of hiring more than a dozen engineers. Via Twitter, Miller also noted the Advanced Technology Center works on mapping and safety features.
Miller and Valasek, pictured above, caught the auto industry by surprise earlier this summer, when they showed they could remotely commandeer control of a Jeep Cherokee through a vulnerable cellular connection to the vehicle's infotainment system. From his home in Pittsburgh, Valasek hacked into and controlled the braking on Miller's Cherokee as he drove it along a St. Louis highway.
That demonstration built on their previous research, in which they determined which cars were most vulnerable to hacking and, earlier, demonstrations of how to manipulate critical vehicle controls. Automakers have scrambled to identify and fix cyber-security holes found in their wake, and often criticized the pair for providing detailed briefings of their exploits.
In response to their most recent hack, Chrysler issued the first-ever recall due to software vulnerabilities, and government officials worried about the unprecedented nature of the attack.
Whatever their specific roles at Uber, the jobs will mark a first for the pair – it will be the first time they've formally worked together. With Miller at Twitter and Valasek at IOActive, their car-hacking probes have often been side projects.