A hacker attacked Yandex Taxi and sent dozens of cars to the same location

The hack created a massive traffic jam in Moscow.
Loukia Papadopoulos
Moscow, Russia


Drivers working for Yandex Taxi, the largest taxi service in Moscow, did not have a good day on Thursday as hackers messed with the company’s app and sent dozens of cars to the same location resulting in a traffic jam that lasted up to three hours, according to Twitter reports.

The vehicles were all sent to the Kutuzovsky Prospekt, a major avenue in Moscow that is the location for the ‘Hotel Ukraina’ or Hotel Ukraine. It has not yet become clear whether the hack was a protest in favor of Ukraine or whether other reasons were behind it.

A co-founder sanctioned for propaganda

Yandex Taxi is however owned and operated by Russia’s largest IT corporation Yandex. Yandex is the equivalent of the Russian Google.

Europe has thus far sanctioned the company’s co-founder Arkady Volozh, because of accusations that Yandex is “de-ranking and removing content critical of the Kremlin, such as content related to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.”

No one yet knows for sure who was behind the Yandex Taxi hack. However the Twitter page of Anonymous TV has taken responsibility claiming the Anonymous Collective was the initiator of the cyber attack. It further claimed the breach was part of a more extensive hacking campaign against Russia dubbed ‘OpRussia.’

Russia’s cyber policy expert Oleg Shakirov stated that the hackers likely bypassed Yandex’s security and generated several fake requests that directed drivers to simultaneously go to the same location.

So far the Russian military's warfare on Ukraine has included cyber attacks against Ukrainian government websites and affiliated organizations. These have been executed through various malware including but not limited to activating a data-wiping program dubbed HermeticWiper.

In February 2022, Russia launched several DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks which temporarily forced government websites to go offline. DDoS attacks barrage websites with junk traffic so they become unreachable.

These attacks were further made against countries supporting Ukraine, seeing government websites in Finland, Italy, Romania, Germany, Norway, and Lithuania, as well as websites in Czechia, Latvia, and elsewhere, suffer the consequences.

More cyber warfare to be expected

Then in June 2022, Neal Higgins, deputy national cyber director for the US Office of the National Cyber Director, warned of more cyberwarfare by Russia.

“A slow military progress continues to thwart the Russians on the ground in Ukraine. They may increasingly consider cyber options to divide our allies and to dilute international resolve against its action,” Higgins said at the time. “We have not seen that yet, but we’re not out of the woods. We have to keep our shields up, we can’t let our guard down.”

Considering these facts, it’s not surprising that the Anonymous Collective would target Russia and its propaganda influencers such as Yandex. The organization is sending a message in support of Ukraine and its ongoing battle to keep its country safe and free.