Taxi app

Hacked Russian taxi app orders dozens of taxis to same address, chaos ensues

Hackers caused chaos west of downtown Moscow this week after briefly taking over Russia’s largest taxi service, Yandex. The hackers, who have not been identified, reportedly ordered all taxis in the area to go to the same pick-up point. Russian media reported severe traffic delays in the area as a result, with a stoppage lasting 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. The police were there, although they seemed helpless in the face of the situation.

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

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

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