8,000 red-light camera traffic tickets withdrawn in Australia due to WannaCry virus
Police in Victoria, Australia announced recently that they will withdraw all speed camera infringement notices issued statewide between June 6 and June 22 after a virus in the cameras turned out to be more widespread than they originally thought.
The cameras are not connected to the internet, but a maintenance worker unknowingly connected a USB stick with the virus on it to the camera system on June 6. The WannaCry virus took the world by storm in May by attacking the British National Health Service.
Fryer said that about 1,643 tickets would be withdrawn, up from an estimate of 590 on Friday. In addition, 5,500 tickets pending in the system would be embargoed. While between 7,500 and 8,000 tickets were affected by the issue, Fryer said he was confident that many could be reissued.
“That does not mean [the infringement notices] won’t not be reissued,” Fryer said.
For now, however, police will not issue new tickets until they’ve reviewed the cameras to ensure they were functioning properly. Fryer added that the 280 fixed and red-light cameras would continue to operate and tickets could be issued at a later date. The department’s 1,000 highway patrol officers will continue to issue tickets.
The WannaCry ransomware reportedly caused the cameras to continuously reboot, though Fryer says there is no indication that the malware had caused inaccurate radar readings.
“We’ve got one of the best camera systems worldwide, and to have an issue like this is disappointing,” he said. “We need to make sure the integrity of our system is sacrosanct and it is beyond reproach.”
According to a report from ABC News, Police Minister Lisa Neville announced Saturday that one of the contract providers of the cameras, Redflex, had alerted the Department of Justice Friday evening that 42 additional cameras had been affected.
“At that point, it was clear to me there had been more than 55 [cameras] affected. I felt that it was absolutely critical for public confidence in our red-light and speed camera system that all 280 of our cameras would be subject to an investigation.
“A full investigation of both where the virus may have gone, how it happened, of all the 280 cameras — how many had been infected and whether there’s been an impact on the broader system,” Neville said.
Neville said she’d asked officials to look at strengthening their oversight of the speed camera contractors and how the cameras were maintained.
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