The WannaCry ransomware that claimed hundreds of thousands of victims across 150 countries found itself on speed and red-light cameras on state roads in Victoria last month.
The Victorian government was quick to act, freezing an initial 590 fines — with the number quickly jumping to 7,500 — that had been issued by the infected speed and red light cameras, pending a review from Victoria’s Speed Camera Commissioner.
Ahead of the public release of the Commissioner’s review, Radio 3AW reported on Friday it had seen the “brief and somewhat superficial report”, which said the majority of the 54,000 fines pulled as a result of the WannaCry infection will stand.
According to 3AW, the Commissioner is unequivocal that he found no error in the data and as a result has said that the integrity of the tickets will therefore stand.
At the time, it revealed the 55 initial cameras had been infected after a rogue USB was inserted by someone performing maintenance. According to the Commissioner’s report, it is unknown how the 159-plus cameras became infected.
The speed and red-light cameras initially found to be infected are operated by vehicle monitoring and enforcement service Redflix, but shortly after, Victorian Police Minister Lisa Neville said investigations found additional impacted cameras were operated by Jenoptik, and noted the company did not forward the information on to authorities.
Also on Friday, Victoria Police announced it will be fitting tracking devices to cars under a new plan to reduce car theft and deter would-be thieves as part of a 12-month trial of GPS technology.
The trial is expected to kick-off in September when the tracking devices will be fitted to 1,000 cars, predominantly in metropolitan Melbourne.
Speaking with Radio 3AW, Assistant Police Commissioner Robert Hill said many vehicles already have the technology available, noting it is just the interface between the law enforcement body and the private sector that is needed to bring it to life.
“Vehicles can be tracked anywhere across the state, the nation, and the globe if required,” he said. “The owner of the [stolen] car, through their iPhone, will activate the device, contact police via tripe zero, and we will start tracking that device from our monitoring and assessment centre, and when it’s safe to do, our police will intervene and apprehend those responsible.”
The so-called “game-changing” crackdown of car theft in Victoria is a joint initiative from the state’s police force and the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council. The council is funded by Australian governments around the country.
“If I had a magic wand, each and every car in Victoria would not only have the GPS devices fitted but also an immobilisation device fitted, so from a command centre we could not only track the vehicle, but also immobilise it, stop it in its tracks,” Hill said.
Hill explained the devices would be placed in various locations on each car, so criminals would need to perform a vigorous search to ensure they are not going to be tracked.
“Victoria Police will not have the ability to track the car unless the device is activated by the owner … using the iPhone,” he added.
Phases two and three of the project will involve working with vehicle manufacturers to install, activate, and retrofit vehicles with the tracking technology.