Hacked Russian Taxi App Orders Dozens of Cabs to the Same Address, Chaos Ensues

The resulting frenzy reportedly caused hours of traffic delays.
SyncMedia via YouTube

Hackers caused chaos west of downtown Moscow this week after briefly taking control of Russia’s largest taxi service, Yandex. The hackers, who have not been identified, allegedly ordered every cab in the area to the same pickup point. Russian media sources reported severe traffic delays in the area as a result, with the standstill that lasted from 40 minutes to two hours.

A video of the incident sums it up pretty well. A huge group of taxis can be seen waiting for fake passengers, clogging the street around them. Police were there, although they looked powerless by the situation.

The identity of the hackers is unclear. Yandex confirmed in a statement to Russian media that there was a breach, not just a glitch in the app. Yandex says that the algorithm used to manage hailed cabs will be changed so such an incident will be impossible in the future. It also said that the issue of compensation for all of the drivers who showed up to pick up fake passengers will be resolved.

Something similar happened earlier this year with autonomous cabs in San Francisco. Several self-driving Cruise taxis, developed by General Motors, all got stuck at the same intersection in the city. It took hours before employees showed up and manually drove the vehicles, first-generation Chevy Bolts, away to safety. Faulty software was to blame as opposed to hackers but had there been more driverless cabs around it’s entirely possible that situation could’ve ended up looking like this.

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