Other news articles on this matter in the Updates
Victoria Police cancel hundreds of speeding fines after WannaCry virus attack
Liam Mannix, Melissa Cunningham June 23 2017 – 3:42PM
Victoria Police has taken the extraordinary step of cancelling all fines issued by speed and red-light cameras hit by the “WannaCry’ computer virus.
Acting Deputy Commissioner Ross Guenther made the announcement on Friday afternoon, saying about 55 cameras were affected by the the WannaCry ransomware virus between June 6 and June 22.
The cameras, most of them in inner-city Melbourne, issued 590 speed and red-light fines during that time.
Drivers will soon receive letters noting that those fines had been cancelled.
Despite the cancellation, Mr Guenther said he had confidence the cameras had been correctly issuing fines.
He decided to cancel the fines in the interest of community confidence in the camera system, he said.
“I cancelled the fines because I think it’s important the pubic has 100 per cent confidence in the system,” Mr Guenther said.
“My advice is during the period the cameras were operating correctly and were not impacted by the virus. I’m confident in the advice I’ve been given that the fines would stand.”
However, Cybersecurity experts have serious doubts about that claim.
Dr Vanessa Teague, a cybersecurity expert from the University of Melbourne, said given the ransomware had only just been detected it was almost impossible for camera-system operator RedFlex to be fully confident in their technology.
She said the ransomware only affected old computer software that had not been recently patched. Microsoft released a patch for Windows machines to stop the virus in March.
“This indicates that we need to invest in just some basic infrastructure for cybersecurity. Basic things, like running updated and patched operating system. It’s the very most basic thing that you need to do.”
Security researcher Matthieu Suiche said the virus was designed to encrypt files on infected machines.
He said it was very unlikely, given the damage to organisations such as Honda and Britain’s National Health Service, the security cameras would have come through unscathed as claimed.
Typically ransomware spreads by people unwittingly opening emails, clicking on unsafe links or opening attached documents infected with a malware.
But the WannaCry developers have taken advantage of an old Windows exploit (a hole in the code) to remotely access computers and install their encryptor, allowing the virus to attack networks across the world.
It follows a global WannaCry ransomware attack in May – believed to be the world’s biggest online extortion attempt – which struck more than 100,000 organisations in 150 countries, including British hospitals, German rail operators and Chinese universities.
Britain’s National Health Service had to turn away patients after WannaCry locked up hospital computers, forcing the closure of wards and emergency rooms. A Honda car plant in Japan was also hit by the virus, forcing it to shut down.
The virus typically locks up infected computers and demands a ransom – payable in Bitcoin – to unlock them.
But Mr Guenther said it was his understanding that no ransom demands had been made.
More than 550 speed and red light camera fines withdrawn across Melbourne after camera virus
WES HOSKING, Herald Sun June 23, 2017 4:00pm
MORE than 550 fines issued through speed and red light cameras across Melbourne have been withdrawn after a computer virus.
The cameras will continue operating but future fines will be quarantined until their accuracy is assured.
An inquiry will begin next week.
Acting Deputy Commissioner Ross Guenther said it was suspected 55 cameras, mostly in inner Melbourne, but also in some country locations, had been impacted.
The problem related to fines issued from June 6 to 22.
A total 590 infringements were today cancelled.
Of those, three had resulted in loss of licence. The drivers had been identified.
Victoria Police Acting Deputy Commissioner Ross Guenther said the assistant commissioner of road policing, Road Safety Camera Commissioner and Sheriff would on Monday commence an inquiry into issues surrounding the cameras.
Mr Guenther had been advised the cameras were operating correctly despite being infected but said it was important the camera commissioner make an independent assessment.
“I cancelled the fines because I think it’s important the public has confidence in the system — 100 per cent confidence,’’ he said.
“Until I’m satisfied from the meetings next week that that’s actually the case I think the public would expect that those fines are withdrawn.’’
Police were made aware of the drama — caused due to an infection of “WannaCry” ransomware — only yesterday.
No demands had been received from cyber attackers.
Mr Guenther said: “In the meantime the cameras continue to operate.”
“There have been a number of other fines identified by the cameras — those fines have all been quarantined and will continue to be quarantined until Monday.
“I think what it highlights is the need for us to consider all aspects of our information security right across not just camera networks but the law enforcement networks.
“Here’s an opportunity really to test whether the systems were operating, whether they were affected so it probably has a positive outcome in that respect.”
The ransomware used in the attack infects a computer’s operating system and asks the user to pay to deactivate the program.
But it’s understood the intersection and highway cameras infected were not linked to a network with the virus sitting dormant.
The Department of Justice and Regulation has confirmed the virus was successfully removed from all affected cameras as of Friday.
There was no evidence it was the result of a cyber attack, it advised.
Victorian traffic cameras infected with computer virus but all fines will remain
ANDREW JEFFERSON, TRANSPORT REPORTER, Herald Sun June 22, 2017 3:19pm
MORE than 50 speed and red-light cameras have been infected with a computer virus but the State Government says all infringement notices issued will remain.
The Department of Justice and Regulation has confirmed 55 intersection and highway cameras statewide have been infected with WannaCry ransomware.
The ransomware, which this week caused an entire Honda car plant to shut down, is often spread via cyber attack.
But the department says the virus was caused by “human error” after mistakenly being introduced by a contractor.
The Herald Sun was told that each camera was corrupted by an infected USB.
All cameras remain online and all infringement notices issued will remain.
Justice and Regulation spokesman Michael Newhouse said a system patch has been applied, which prevents the spread of the virus, which was discovered late last week.
“The department is in the process of removing the virus from the affected cameras,” he said.
“The remaining sites will be rectified in the next couple of days.”
Mr Newhouse said the software virus has not impacted the accuracy of the camera system.
“While the software virus has impacted 55 camera sites, it has not caused any damage to these sites or the system more broadly,” he said.
“All 55 cameras have been operating correctly and accurately during this period.
“The system has robust processes in place to ensure incidents like this cannot impact the rest of the camera network.”
Victoria Police spokeswoman Belinda Batty said it was aware of allegations of an apparent speed and red light camera cyber-attack.
“We have been in discussion with DOJR and independent operators in relation to these claims,” she said.
“Our advice at this stage is that a software virus has been detected; however, the camera system has not been compromised.
“We will look into all incidents detected by the speed and red light cameras during the time in question as a matter of course.
“The integrity of the camera system has not been affected.”
As requested by the Minister for Police, this matter will be referred to the Road Safety Camera Commissioner to investigate.
If the Road Safety Camera Commissioner’s investigation finds that people have been incorrectly fined, in line with normal practices, those fines will be withdrawn.
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