The Victorian Government has called for an immediate investigation into the State's 280-strong road safety camera network, following the discovery that a software virus had infected more than 90 cameras since June 6.
Initially commenced on June 22 as an investigation into 55 Victorian speed cameras, Victoria’s Police Minister Lisa Neville has asked Road Safety Camera Commissioner John Voyage to expand his investigation to include the State’s entire collection of 280 fixed speed and red-light cameras.
The expansion of the investigation follows revelations that one of Victoria’s major camera providers Redflex – responsible for 150 of the State’s 280 cameras – had ‘cleansed’ but not notified the Victorian Department of Justice of 42 other cameras infected by the ransomeware virus, dubbed ‘WannaCry’, which forces cameras to repeatedly reboot.
“As a result of all of that, 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 by the Road Safety Camera Commissioner,” Minister Neville said.
“I know absolutely, that the community expect, and should be guaranteed, that there is a robust oversight, that these are well maintained cameras, and that we can all have confidence in the readings of each of our cameras.”
According to the Victorian Government, the virus is believed to have infiltrated the affected camera systems – which vary from using both a Windows- and Linux-based operating system – via an infected USB stick used during routine maintenance undertaken since June 6.
As all 280 cameras in the Victorian network had undergone similar maintenance during that time, Minister Neville said she could not be confident that the virus may not have infected other cameras beyond the original 55 and subsequent 42.
With none of Victoria’s camera network linked to or reliant on the internet, the State Government says it has no evidence to suggest the virus was part of any malicious ‘cyber attack’.
As a consequence of the investigation, Victoria Police says all speed and red-light infractions detected by the State’s fixed road safety camera network between June 6 and June 24 will have their respective notices withheld, with all valid infringements to be reissued after the completion of the Road Safety Camera Commissioner’s investigation.
With 590 speeding infringements and 7143 possible red-light infringements already withheld, Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Doug Fryer said he expects the total number of speed and red-light tickets to exceed about 7500-8000.
“I’ve decided to withdraw all infringements, state wide, since the sixth of June in fairness to the Victorian community,” Assistant Commissioner Fryer said.
“That does not mean they won’t be reissued, what it means is, of the 280 cameras that we have operating across Victoria, I need – as the responsible enforcement officer – to be absolutely sure that the 280 cameras were working correctly, with integrity, without any corruption.
“I need to be really clear with the community: that does not mean that the 280 both fixed and red-light cameras are not operating, they are. They’ll be capturing people who are speeding, they’ll be capturing people who are going through red lights. But those tickets will be held in abeyance until the review has been completed by the Road Safety Camera Commissioner.
“We are absolutely being over-cautious here, because we cannot afford to have a system that people don’t have faith in.”
If you think you might be caught up in the issue however, it could be a nervous wait, with Assistant Commissioner Fryer adding, “There is no evidence that of all of the infringements that have been captured, that the speeds detected have been tampered with through this virus.”
The final findings of Road Safety Camera Commissioner John Voyage are to be made public upon completion of his investigation, with Minister Neville hoping for answers in a matter of weeks.
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