Russian taxi Snafu shows that CDOs are not immune to geopolitics

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The “Big Tech” discussion always includes major players like Alphabet, Apple, Google and Meta. These are the big guns with massive market caps and large user bases.

Russian Yandex is rarely checked. The country has grabbed the headlines for all the wrong reasons this year, but Russia’s leading tech conglomerate rarely makes headlines.

Until September 2022 when someone Yandex Taxi.

The Russian Google

The internet-powered gig economy benefits from leading regional brands in specific market sectors. Southeast Asian customers can use an umbrella provider like Grab or Gojek for food delivery, groceries, and transportation. Other users call Uber or Lyft for transportation while preferring Grubhub or Doordash for restaurant delivery.

Yandex positions itself as the alpha and omega of these services. The Russian multinational technology company – Yandex LLC (Яндекс) – provides “Internet-related products and services, including an Internet search engine, information services, e-commerce, transport, maps and navigation, mobile apps and online advertising,” says Wikipedia.

Yandex’s history is rooted in search engine technology. In the early 90, “[co-founder] Arkady Volozh coined the word “Yandex”. Arcadia had launched a new version of a research program, and they wanted to give it an original name. [Fellow co-founder] Ilya Segalovich sat down with a sheet of paper and wrote words describing the essence of the program, brainstorm around the words “search” and “index”.

The result: “Yandex” – short for “yet another indexer” because back then players like Lycos and Alta Vista were competing with Google for search engine supremacy (today Google is competing with privacy-centric search engines like DuckDuckGo and Home Page.)

But while Yandex may have started as the “Russian Google,” the company has branched out into services in both the internet and the meat space. Yandex has been listed on NASDAQ since 2011 and now “offers internet search and other services such as maps, browser, public transport, taxi, weather, news, music, tv program, translation, online shopping… free email service and cloud storage.

The company also offers its Web browserbut a recent Business Insider article shed less than positive light on the Yandex browser.

questionable browser

“While it’s no surprise that browsers track user history, the fact that this data is stored on companies’ servers means it’s also likely to be shared with government agencies or business partners. third parties – and could be disclosed in a data breach,” said Business Intern. And which navigators occupy the last echelon, according to a study by Douglas Leith of Trinity College Dublin?

Yandex: listed on NASDAQ since 2011

The study tracked the information sharing practices of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari and Microsoft Edge, as well as open source Yandex and Brave. While the latter has been hailed for its privacy-centric operations, Microsoft Edge and Yandex have been pilloried. “From a privacy perspective, Microsoft Edge and Yandex are significantly more concerning than the other browsers studied,” Leith wrote.

However, privacy issues did not appear to affect Yandex Taxi’s business until the taxi snafu in Moscow earlier this month.

Taxi chaos

According Wikipedia.

The transportation company builds on its tech giant parent: “In 2020, Yandex.Taxi is said to have developed AI-infused proprietary hardware and software for its vehicles that monitors drivers’ attention levels, as well as a facial recognition system that determines the identity of the person behind the wheel.”

But Yandex’s plan to become an Eastern European rival to Elon Musk’s Tesla was stalled on September 1, when “hackers meddled with ride-sharing service Yandex Taxi to create a two-hour traffic jam in the Russian capital.” “A traffic jam clogged the center of Moscow on Thursday [September 1] after hackers broke into a popular ride-sharing app and ordered dozens of drivers to the same address,” said msn.

It was not a pleasant sight on the streets of the Russian capital. “Reports on Twitter claim that cars were sent to Kutuzovsky Prospekt, a major avenue in Moscow,” said cybernews.com. “One of the best-known objects in the area is the Stalin-era building, “Hotel Ukraina” or Hotel Ukraine.”

While it’s unclear who was responsible for the Yandex Taxi hack, “the Anonymous TV Twitter page claims that the Anonymous collective was behind the breach, which is part of a larger hacking campaign against the Russia, dubbed ‘OpRussia,'” cybernews.com said. “According to Russian cyberpolitics expert Oleg Shakirov, the hackers likely bypassed Yandex’s security measures, creating multiple fake orders that tricked drivers into driving to the same location simultaneously.”

Technological business = global business

This whole incident should remind CTOs that technology doesn’t inhabit any particular realm outside of geopolitics. The “Big Tech” label applies globally to certain cyberfactions, and given the nature of the activity, not all sanctions will be applied unilaterally.

That said, co-founder Arkady Volozh didn’t sympathize at Yandex earlier this month. Russian internet giant Yandex (YNDX.O) said [in June 2022] that Arkady Volozh had resigned as CEO and left the board after the European Union included him on its latest sanctions list against Russian entities and individuals,” said Reuters.

“The European Union (EU)…has named Volozh and many others in its sixth round of sanctions against Russia,” it said. The register. “” As the founder and CEO of Yandex, he supports, materially or financially, the government of the Russian Federation and is responsible for supporting actions or policies that undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine,” said the EU. States.”

Stefan Hammond is editor of CDOTrends. Best practices, IoT, payment gateways, robotics and the ongoing fight against cyber hackers pique his interest. You can reach him at [email protected].

Photo credit: iStockphoto/Vlad Petin

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