Facebook’s former head of security Joe Sullivan was named Uber’s first chief security officer, the ride-hailing service announced on Thursday. Sullivan's move to Uber comes after hackers infiltrated Uber last month and stole the names and license plate numbers of about 50,000 Uber drivers across the country, according to Recode.
While at Facebook, Sullivan helped defend the company from a near constant onslaught of hackers seeking to steal the troves of personal information and pedophiles seeking young people on the site, according to a 2012 Forbes profile of him. He was also responsible for what and how much user information Facebook gave to law enforcement when they asked for it.
“It’s no longer about traditional metrics for safe transportation or keeping our community’s data private and secure, but about how we lead efforts to redefine and strengthen physical and data security in the location-based world,” said Uber CEO Travis Kalanick in a blog post announcing Sullivan’s hiring.
The Massachusetts-born cybersecurity wizard headed security operations at eBay and PayPal for seven years before filling that role at Facebook for five. Prior to that, he worked prosecuting cybercrime at the Department of Justice. He graduated from the University of Miami with a law degree in 1993, but quickly began focusing on cybercrime after beginning work at the DOJ. Sullivan said he was actually the person who convinced his Miami DOJ office to connect to the Internet.
“This is a chance to help build the culture of a young and growing organization, and to continue building upon the safety and security initiatives that are the backbone of Uber’s success,” Sullivan said. “It’s not an easy decision to leave a great company like Facebook, but this is a challenge where I get to take what makes Silicon Valley special and apply it to a product that directly impacts people’s lives everyday as they move around the world’s cities.”