Hackers meddled with ride-hailing service Yandex Taxi to create a two-hour-long traffic jam in the Russian capital.
Dozens of drivers working for Yandex Taxi in Moscow likely had a frustrating day. Hackers breached the app, sending dozens of cars to the exact location, forming a traffic jam that lasted up to three hours.
Reports on Twitter claim that cars were sent to the Kutuzovsky Prospekt, a major avenue in Moscow. One of the best-known objects in the area is the Stalinist-era building, the ‘Hotel Ukraina’ or Hotel Ukraine.
Yandex Taxi is owned by Russia’s largest IT corporation Yandex, often dubbed the Russian Google. EU has sanctioned the company’s co-founder Arkady Volozh, claiming his search engine is “de-ranking and removing content critical of the Kremlin, such as content related to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.”
While it’s unclear who was responsible for the Yandex Taxi hack, the Twitter page Anonymous TV claims that the Anonymous collective was behind the breach, which is part of a more extensive hacking campaign against Russia, dubbed ‘OpRussia.’
According to Russia’s cyber policy expert Oleg Shakirov, hackers likely bypassed Yandex’s safety measures, creating multiple fake orders that prompted drivers to simultaneously go to the same location.
Flames of cyberwar
Cyberwarfare has been plaguing Europe since Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February. Groups supporting Ukraine started targeting organizations in Russia to help the country defend against the invasion.
Kyiv succeeded in rallying an international IT army to help it fight the digital war. Anonymous, Ukraine’s IT Army, Hacker Forces, and many other hacktivist groups started targeting Russia’s private and state-owned enterprises.
Meanwhile, pro-Russian groups carried out several DDoS attacks against countries supporting Ukraine. Government websites in Finland, Italy, Romania, Germany, Norway, and Lithuania, as well as websites in Czechia, Latvia, and elsewhere, were under cyber fire.
According to the United Nations, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has created the ‘fastest-growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.’ Over 12 million people were displaced due to the conflict in a nation with 44 million residents.
Witness testimonies from Ukrainian towns Russian forces have occupied for close to a month point to severe human rights violations and targeted lethal attacks against civilians. Reports of “gross and systematic violations and abuses of human rights” got Russia suspended from the UN Human Rights Council.
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