Victorian speed cameras hit by computer virus
A report recommends changes to improve Victoria’s speed camera network security.
In June 2017, 43 speed cameras and 67 camera site controllers, operated by two different companies, were infected with the WannaCry ransomware virus. The security breach resulted in a lengthy investigation and the temporary suspension of 55,000 fines. After the investigation, several changes are to be implemented to prevent any future unauthorised access.
Independent report into WannaCry virus
An unsuspecting contractor was blamed for introducing the virus into Victoria’s speed camera network sometime in early June 2017. The malware was first detected on 6 June 2017 when 20 cameras crashed along the Hume Highway and remained offline overnight.
The infected cameras ran on Windows 7. Another company who used Unix-based cameras still suffered thanks to Windows operating system powered site control units. It wasn’t until 14 June that the true cause of the outages was found and over the next two days, engineers worked on a patch to secure the system. Finally, by 22 June, cameras were fully operational and virus-free again.
Call for trust in cameras
Minister for police Lisa Neville welcomed the report and said all recommendations would be actioned. Neville wanted to re-affirm that the virus didn’t actually deploy on the network and a newly formed department will make sure that the cameras are not vulnerable to future cyber-attacks.
“The independent Commissioner has confirmed the WannaCry virus had no impact on the network. We’re not only taking action to strengthen the network’s cybersecurity, but also our management operations so that it is protected against any future threats,” Neville said.
The report recommended the following changes to the speed camera network:
- Bolstering security so an external virus cannot spread between cameras.
- Review information sharing between authorities.
- Reporting directly to the Minister for increased accountability.
- Formation of a network security reference group made up of contractors and stakeholders.
Speeding camera fines
In Victoria, drivers pay a speeding fine based on the amount they were over the limit. Less than 10 km/h above the limit results in a penalty of $198 and one demerit point. Drivers found speeding by 25-29 km/h are given four demerit points, a one-month license suspension and a $436 fine.
Those travelling 45 km/h over the cut-off threshold get a 12-month driving ban, eight demerit points and a $793 fine. Heavy vehicles, weighing over 4.5 tonnes, receive more substantial fines.
Other states and territories have similar speed-based punishments, though the actual speed overages and license suspension varies. For example, in Queensland, if you travel over 40 km/h above the speed limit, you’ll pay a higher $1,117 fine, receive the same eight points but receive only a six-month suspension. Demerit points are valid no matter which state they were issued in and remain valid for three years.
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