Chinese search giant Baidu has disclosed that a “gang” of hackers tried to steal autonomous trade secrets from the company’s internal servers earlier this month.
The company is conducting an internal investigation to figure out more about the attackers, but so far has kept tight lipped on details. “It’s very difficult to know who employs them to do that, but we know someone tried to hire an underground market hacker to steal from us,” said Ma Jie, the firm’s head of cybersecurity.
Baidu has tested autonomous vehicles for two years in China and the United States. Unlike Google and Tesla, which have publicized self-driving reports and outfitted cars with semi-autonomous tech, the firm has kept most of its progress secret.
It recently ended a partnership with BMW, shortly after the German automaker joined forces with Intel, Mobileye, and Delphi to create a self-driving consortium. Some speculated that this could be Baidu lowering its investment in self-driving, although the company denies that is the case.
Hacking in China is becoming a serious worry for major tech firms. Baidu, Tencent, and Alibaba—the big three tech firms in China—have all bulked up on cybersecurity experts in the past year. The trio have also teamed up to counter the growing threat of hackers.