Gang of “Hackers-for-Hire” Tried to Steal Baidu’s Self-Driving Car Secrets

Rafia Shaikh
Baidu hackers

A group of hackers was hired to steal self-driving car technology from Baidu, the Beijing-based company's head of cybersecurity, Ma Jie, said. Ma said that "hackers-for-hire" tried to steal the company's driverless car technology, prompting it to bulk up its cybersecurity team, Bloomberg first reported.

Baidu says someone tried to steal secrets from the Chinese-American company

The company isn't sure who was behind the criminal hacking group that tried to steal its technology. "It's very difficult to know who employs them to do that, but we know someone tried to hire someone in the underground market to steal from us," Ma said.

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While details are scarce at the moment, the Chinese tech giant has certainly beefed up its cybersecurity team following the attempt. Baidu is supporting a group of white hat student hackers from Tsinghua University. "If we can help students find the right way, that means less enemies in the future," Ma added.

Along with that, Baidu is also joining forces with rival companies like Tencent and Alibaba to better protect its technology against such threats. "The underground industry is getting bigger, and getting stronger so we must help each other against the whole underground industry," Ma said.  "We're not enemies, they are the enemy."

Baidu has been testing its driverless car technology since 2015 and has since let the public take rides in a fleet of electric cars retrofitted with the company's driverless tech. By next year, the company is planning to produce a limited number of vehicles for a shared shuttle service, with plans of mass production in 2021. Last year, the company received a permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicle that allowed Baidu to test its autonomous tech. Along with being a Chinese web giant, Baidu has also been building up its team of engineers in the United States.

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