Victoria police have cancelled 590 fines over concerns about ‘WannaCry’ ransomware in 55 road safety cameras

Photo: Thierry Tronnel/Corbis via Getty Images

Victoria police have cancelled 590 fines issued to drivers this month over concerns about the malware “WannaCry” potentially infecting 55 speed and red light cameras.

Yesterday the Department of Justice and Regulation confirmed the private camera operator RedFlex had been struck by the “WannaCry” ransomware. Human error was blamed for the infection. Police only became aware of the issue on Thursday too.

The virus exploits the Microsoft Windows operating system through its Server Message Block protocol (SMB), encrypting data and then demanding ransom to unlock it. If the money is not paid, via Bitcoin, then the files are deleted.

Acting deputy commissioner Ross Guenther said the cameras, mostly in inner Melbourne, with couple in regional areas, “may or may not have been impacted by a virus in that network”, between June 6 and 22.

But he made the decision to cancel 590 speed or red light infringements have been issued because “it’s important the public has confidence in the system”.

Three of those involved drivers losing their license.

More potential fines have been quarantined until Monday, he said, pending further investigations.

And inquiry into what happened will begin on Monday and traffic camera commissioner will audit operations for any errors.

Acting deputy commissioner Guenther said the public “would expect that we test the system appropriately”.

he was not aware of any ransom demands being made involving the camera system.

“It’s really important that we give the public some confidence around our camera system in Victoria. These cameras are about saving lives… those cameras are still operating,” he said.

Hospitals across Britain’s National Health Service were hit by the virus in May and last month

The ransomware has held systems hostage all over the world for the past month and Honda revealed yesterday that it halted production at plant near Tokyo for a day after WannaCry was discovered in its computer network.

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