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More news from the east. The infamous hacker group known only as “Anonymous” has struck again, but this time in Russia. A massive traffic jam former after Russia’s Yandex Taxi had its ride-hailing app hacked earlier this week. Anonymous came out and took credit for the hacking of the app. Anonymous has a long history of employing its hacker network to enact its activism. Let’s see what the digi-demonstrators are up to this time.

Cyber attack in Russia!

Not only was the “hacktivist” group Anonymous involved in the cyber attack, but they claim to have done so in cooperation with Ukraine’s IT Army. The folks at Hackread report that Anonymous confirmed this with the tech publication. 

Russia’s Yandex Taxi app was hacked, which resulted in a massive traffic jam on September 1st. At first, it was met with the same blind aggravation that all traffic jams are met with. However, the sea of yellow taxis eventually grew so large that it was clear that something else was afoot. While a traffic jam can be inconvenient, it doesn’t really seem like a brutal strike considering Russia’s unprovoked and brutal invasion of Ukraine.

Can a traffic jam really hurt anything?

A Boston highway packed with standstill traffic, exit signs for Cambridge visible in the background.
Traffic | Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

While that remains true, this wasn’t your normal rush hour mess. The Hackers created quite a more substantial tangle than anyone could imagine. The group hacked the app and ordered every taxi in the Moscow area to the same place. Yeah. That’s a bit more than your average lane closure. In fact, Hackread calls it an “unprecedented traffic jam.” 

Not only did the hackers order all the cabs, but they also ordered them all to the same address in Moscow’s city center. According to Forbes Russia, the cabs were directed to one of the main avenues in Moscow, Kutuzovsky Prospekt. The knot of cars lasted over 3 hours. Many drivers reported waiting for over 40 minutes individually. 

How did Anonymous even hack the app?

Anonymous’ lack of accountability makes them a problematic group. Still, it also allows for things like this to affect an invading nation with no one to point a red finger at. Hackread reports that a Russian cyber security expert calls the hacking a “frustrating mix-up of taxis.” He went on to say that “the hackers bypassed the company’s security mechanisms and created multiple bogus orders, sending all the drivers to the same place.”

Did this hurt Russia in a significant way? 

The cyber attack doesn’t appear to have been anything more than an inconvenience, ultimately. CBS News sheds light by reporting that Moscow is known for having some of the worst traffic in the world anyway. 

The takeaway should probably be that our car’s increasing interconnectedness might be a bit more of a liability than we would like to think. Car hacking is on the rise, and, of course, it is. However, Yandex spokespeople are assuring customers that the app is stepping its security up and will be more secure than ever. 

Maybe Anonymous managed to delay a Russian General or another important statesman. Whatever the reason for the attack, it revealed a new, albeit mostly only annoying, weapon in the ways of modern war. 


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