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Posts Tagged ‘#safety’

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Uber to end post-trip tracking of riders as part of privacy push

August 31, 2017

Uber Technologies Inc. is pulling a heavily criticized feature from its app that allowed it to track riders for up to five minutes after a trip, its security chief told Reuters, as the ride-hailing company tries to fix its poor reputation for customer privacy.

The change, which restores users’ ability to share location data only while using the app, is expected to be announced on Tuesday and rolled out to iPhone users starting this week. It comes as Uber tries to recover from a series of crises culminating in the ouster of Chief Executive Travis Kalanick and other top executives.

Dara Khosrowshahi, the CEO of travel-booking company Expedia Inc., is set to become Uber’s new chief executive, sources have told Reuters.

The location-tracking update is unrelated to executive changes, said Joe Sullivan, Uber’s chief security officer, in an interview with Reuters. Sullivan and his team of about 500 have been working to beef up customer privacy at Uber since he joined in 2015.

“We’ve been building through the turmoil and challenges because we already had our mandate,” said Sullivan, who is a
member of the executive leadership team that has been co-running Uber since Kalanick left in June.

Uber must make changes at top to fix culture woes, experts say
uber
An update to the app made last November eliminated the option for users to limit data gathering to only when the app is in use, instead forcing them to choose between letting Uber always collect location data or never collect it. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

An update to the app made last November eliminated the option for users to limit data-gathering to only when the app is
in use, instead forcing them to choose between letting Uber always collect location data or never collect it.

Safety feature

Uber said it needed permission to always gather data in order to track riders for five minutes after a trip was completed, which the company believed could help in ensuring customers’ physical safety. The option to never track required riders to manually enter pickup and drop-off addresses.

But the changes were met with swift criticism by some users and privacy advocates who called them a breach of user trust by a company already under fire for how it collects and uses customers’ data. Uber said it never actually began post-trip tracking for iPhone users and suspended it for Android users.

‘Data is the new oil’: Your personal information is now the world’s most valuable commodity

Privacy experts call on Uber to investigate after man gets nearly $1000 bogus bill
Sullivan said Uber made a mistake by asking for more information from users without making clear what value Uber
would offer in return. If Uber decides that tracking a rider’s location for five minutes is valuable in the future, it will seek to explain what the value is and allow customers to opt in to the setting, he said.

Sullivan said Uber was committed to privacy but had previously suffered “a lack of expertise” in the area.

The change comes two weeks after Uber settled a U.S. Federal Trade Commission complaint that the company failed to protect the personal information of drivers and passengers and was deceptive about its efforts to prevent snooping by its employees.

Uber agreed to conduct an audit every two years for the next 20 years to ensure compliance with FTC requirements.

The location-tracking changes will initially only be available to iPhone users, but Uber intends to bring parity to Android devices, Sullivan said.

The changes are part of a series of updates expected in the coming year to improve privacy, security and transparency at Uber, Sullivan said.

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Hackers Take Control of a Moving Tesla’s Brakes at a 12 miles distance.

September 26, 2016

Now that cars such as Tesla’s are increasingly high-tech and connected to the internet, cybersecurity has become as big an issue as traditional safety features, and Chinese researchers were able to interfere with the car’s brakes, door locks and other electronic features, demonstrating an attack that could cause havoc.

Three months since the first fatal crash involving a Tesla driving in autopilot mode, hackers have taken remote control of a Tesla Model S from a distance of 12 miles, interfering with the car’s brakes, door locks, dashboard computer screen and other electronically controlled features in the high-tech car.
A team of Chinese security researchers – Samuel LV, Sen Nie, Ling Liu and Wen Lu from Keen Security Lab – were able to target the car wirelessly and remotely in an attack that could cause havoc for any Tesla driver.
The hack targeted the car’s controller area network, or Can bus, the collection of connected computers found inside every modern vehicle that control everything from its indicators to its brakes. In a video demonstrating the vulnerability, the hackers targeted both the Tesla Model S P85 and Model 75D, although they said it would work on other models too.
Three months since the first fatal crash involving a Tesla driving in autopilot mode, hackers have taken remote control of a Tesla Model S from a distance of 12 miles, interfering with the car’s brakes, door locks, dashboard computer screen and other electronically controlled features in the high-tech car.
A team of Chinese security researchers – Samuel LV, Sen Nie, Ling Liu and Wen Lu from Keen Security Lab – were able to target the car wirelessly and remotely in an attack that could cause havoc for any Tesla driver.
The hack targeted the car’s controller area network, or Can bus, the collection of connected computers found inside every modern vehicle that control everything from its indicators to its brakes. In a video demonstrating the vulnerability, the hackers targeted both the Tesla Model S P85 and Model 75D, although they said it would work on other models too.
The researchers acted responsibly in disclosing the vulnerabilities they had discovered to Tesla, and the company created a software update that it delivered over-the-air.
Tesla said of the vulnerability: “The issue demonstrated is only triggered when the web browser is used, and also required the car to be physically near to and connected to a malicious Wi-Fi hotspot. Our realistic estimate is that the risk to our customers was very low, but this did not stop us from responding quickly.”
The hackers said in a blogpost that it “appreciates the proactive attitude and efforts” of Tesla’s security team on fixing the problems efficiently.
This is not the first time that Tesla has been hacked. A group of researchers at the University of South Carolina were able to fool the Tesla Model S’s autopilot system into perceiving objects where none existed or in other cases to miss a real object in Tesla’s path.
Now that cars are increasingly high-tech and connected to the internet, cybersecurity has become as big an issue as more traditional safety features.
Tesla is known for its commitment to this challenge and has hired dozens of security researchers to test its cars. The company also runs a bug bounty program, which invites other hackers to point out vulnerabilities – as happened with Keen Security Lab – in return for cash prizes.

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