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Victoria Camera System Infected by WannaCry

WannaCry Ransomware Cybercrime

It seems many people have come to believe that the effect of the WannaCry ransomware attack is over and that they have emerged unscathed. But victims letting their guard down was the very reason why the first version of the breach spread quickly, and some apparently have not learned from others' mistakes. Not long after the commotion following the outbreak died down, one of Honda's production plants was infected by it and was forced to close its doors for a day. But it was not the only major company to come under attack recently.

RedFlex and Jenoptik, the two companies in charge of operating some of Victoria's speed and red-light cameras, were breached by WannaCry on 6 June. It is believed that the virus infected the cameras' systems when a RedFlex maintenance worker plugged in an infected USB. Out of the 280 safety cameras in Victoria, approximately 160 devices have been compromised. Lisa Neville, Victoria's Police Minister, said that investigators will be inspecting all cameras for good measure and has ordered that device assessment and maintenance regulations be reviewed and improved.

The virus caused the cameras to reboot repeatedly but did not seem to threaten their integrity. In response, a patch has already been issued to stop the breach from spreading and the department has been erasing it from infected devices. The police department has put the 8000 fines that were issued from 6 June to 22 June on hold until they can be verified. Additionally, 590 infringements have been cancelled.

The acting Deputy Police commissioner of Victoria, Ross Guenther, said in a press conference, "It's really important that we give the public some confidence around our camera system in Victoria." He also added that the cameras were functioning correctly during the time they were infected and will continue to operate without a problem.

It is quite ironic how a camera system tasked with ensuring people's security, became the victim of a ransomware attack. Not only this, but the Sunday Herald Sun discovered that Minister Neville was kept out of the loop on two occasions and was not informed of the issue by both her department and the two camera operators.

On 30 June, the Australian Cyber Security Agency was granted permission to launch attacks on foreign cyber criminals. This initiative is being undertaken in response to the recent attacks that have been occurring both in Australia and worldwide. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said that Australia should not always be on the defensive side and that "We must take the fight to the criminals".