Moscow traffic jam as hackers send dozens of taxis to Hotel Ukraine
Hotel Ukraine was built by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin in the 1950s and is one of seven moody Gothic towers that stand sentinel around central Moscow.
For years, taking a taxi in Moscow meant hailing a so-called “gypsy taxi” by standing on the side of the street with a thumbs-up and negotiating a price with any car that stopped.
But with smartphones and apps taking over, Yandex is now Moscow’s largest taxi service, operating similarly to Uber.
Anonymous claims credit for the attack
Hacking group Anonymous claimed credit for the prank. “Moscow had a stressful day yesterday,” reads AnonymousTV’s Twitter account, which adds that the “Anonymous collective” is responsible.
Anonymous, a loose alliance of Western-based hackers, previously declared digital war on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine and hacked into various ministries and TV channels.
Yandex is Russia’s leading tech company and, with its Russian-language search engine, has been touted as Russia’s answer to Google.
But the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine in February broke its momentum.
Thousands of technicians left Russia, plans to expand outside of Russia were scrapped, and analysts wondered if Yandex could repay its debt.
US company Uber has a 29% stake in Yandex Taxi, which it says it wants to sell.