Hackers created a traffic jam in Moscow on Thursday by ordering a large number of taxis from the ride-hailing app Yandex Taxi to converge on a single location in another of the initial known cases of attackers utilizing an app-based taxi company to generate chaos on the roads.
Video circulated on social media marketing showing an extremely long traffic jam of taxis along an otherwise lightly trafficked road. The video was then shared by the account @runews where it had been retweeted a lot more than 6,500 times around this writing.
A Yandex spokesperson confirmed the incident in a statement to Motherboard. On the morning of September 1, Yandex Taxi encountered an effort by attackers to disrupt the serviceseveral dozen drivers received bulk orders to the Fili district of Moscow, said the Yandex spokesperson.
The Fili district is beyond your Moscow city center along Kutuzovsky Prospekt, a primary thoroughfare that goes from the southwest into central Moscow. It isn’t clear why this area specifically was targeted, and a Yandex spokesperson declined to talk about additional information on the attack.
Moscow is legendary because of its traffic jams, regularly ranking on the list of cities with the worst traffic jams on earth. The Yandex spokesperson said the problem was resolved in under one hour and the security service of Yandex Taxi promptly stopped the attempts of artificial congestion of cars and improved the algorithm for detecting and preventing such attacks to avoid similar incidents later on.
To the Fast and Furious fans on the market, the hack may seem familiar. In 2017, in the eighth installment of the franchise, The Fate of the Furious, Charlize Therons character Cipher starts a gigantic traffic jam in NY saying with a faint wry smile: Hack em all, its zombie time. That hack differs, needless to say. Cipher gets control the cars themselves, and does so remotely, including ones which are parked and switched off. However the effects are virtually exactly the same, albeit on a more substantial scale.
Hackers targeting cars through various means has been the main topic of significant research in the cybersecurity industry for a couple years. Probably the most famous case could very well be the main one where two security researchers hacked right into a Jeep Cherokee driven by Wireds journalist Andy Greenberg and killed its engine while he was driving on the road. If so, the researchersCharlie Miller and Chris Valasekgot in through the internet-connected entertainment system. Car hacking is becoming so prominent that the worlds premiere hacker conference DEF CON has been hosting a Car Hacking Village, a workshop that runs parallel to the conference where hackers and security researchers can understand how cars hook up to the web, and how exactly to exploit vulnerabilities in the cars systems.
Its unclear who’s in charge of the traffic jam in Moscow, but what we can say for certain underscores the dangers of an extremely connected world.
Join Motherboards daily newsletterfor a normal dose of our original reporting, plus behind-the-scenes content about our biggest stories.