Russian taxi company Yandex had its ride-sharing app hacked earlier this week, leading to a massive traffic jam in Moscow. The hacktivist collective Anonymous took credit for the attack.
Hackread reports that the hackers bypassed Yandex’s security mechanisms, creating several fake taxi orders and sending all available cars to the same location, the city’s Fili district, which is outside central Moscow and heads towards Kutuzovsky Prospekt.
A representative of Yandex confirmed the cyberattack to Vice, stating that “on the morning of September 1, Yandex Taxi encountered an attempt by attackers to disrupt the service – several dozen drivers received bulk orders in the Fili district of Moscow “.
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someone hacked #YandexTaxi and ordered all available taxis to Kutuzov Prospect in Moscow
Now there is a huge traffic jam with taxis.
It’s like a James Bond movie. pic.twitter.com/IatuAEtA2i
— Russian market (@runews) September 1, 2022
The spokesperson claimed the issue was resolved in about an hour, a figure more or less repeated by Forbes Russia. Anonymous, who say they acted with the help of the Ukrainian computer army, claim that the traffic jam lasted more than three hours.
It is unclear why the Fili district was targeted, but the traffic jam occurred along a busy thoroughfare, which likely caused it to be inconvenienced for a large number of people. The city is no stranger to traffic jams, however, and CBS News reported earlier this year that Moscow has the second-worst traffic in the world behind Istanbul, Turkey.
Although the hack appears to have been a mere inconvenience, it shows how increasingly connected vehicles can be compromised remotely. Car hacking has become so big, in fact, that DEF CON, a hacking conference, has started organizing a car hacking village.
Yandex Taxi, however, claims that it will be better protected against hackers in the future, as it told The Verge that its “algorithm for detecting and preventing such attacks has already been improved to prevent incidents similar to the ‘coming”.
JUSTINE: #Anonymous confirmed that the attack on the Yandex Taxi application was carried out in cooperation with the Ukrainian IT army, as part of #OpRussia cyber campaign. #SlavaUkraini https://t.co/VYiD2IDIEJ
— Anonymous TV 🇺🇦 (@YourAnonTV) September 2, 2022