Google-owned crowdsourced navigation service Waze was caught napping as an intelligent student duo’s program hacked into the system, causing the service to report fictitious traffic jams on the streets of Israel and leading drivers to take alternative routes. The whole exercise didn’t just show the students’ potential but also exposed the weak points in Waze’s system, reports the website No Camels.
The duo created innumerable profiles, made the Waze system believe that users are traveling by faking GPS locations, and using that, fooled the navigation system into believing that there was traffic moving in a specific direction. All this combined, Waze’s system thought that there were a couple of traffic jams and hence kept reporting about the same. Because of that, many drivers had to take detours, even though there was no need to but since the app alerted them about approaching traffic jams, they had no other choice either.
Thankfully, this wasn’t an attack by a cyber criminal and was an exploit to reveal a hole in the service. Waze is used by millions of users and a hack like this can create chaos on the road. Google too has started implementing Waze-sourced alerts in its Google Maps navigation service. With the threat of being hacked like this, it remains to be seen how Waze makes itself foolproof. The vice president of Waze was reported saying that the company is devising ways to prevent such attacks.
Last year, Google acquired Waze in a deal reported to be worth more than $1 billion. Google used Waze’s services to enhance Google Maps, while enhanced Waze by adding Google search capabilities to it.