July 10, 2017 at 9:51 AM
Hackers behind an infamous computer virus that is taking the world by storm have inadvertently saved more than 500 Australian drivers from significant speeding fines following the discovery that the WannaCry virus infected 55 speed cameras in Melbourne, Victoria.
This is the latest in a number of high-profile incidents involving the ransomware, which has affected systems and organisations in 150 countries across the globe.
What is WannaCry?
WannaCry is a type of ransomware. It is a means by which hackers take over a computer or network, and effectively hold it for ransom, demanding a payment in order to relinquish control.
This latest virus appears to have taken advantage of a flaw in Microsoft's software, which was discovered by the National Security Agency and leaked by hackers, using it to spread quickly across networks, wreaking havoc, and locking files as it goes.
Uploaded to the camera network
The outbreak in Melbourne was brought about when a maintenance worker unwittingly uploaded the virus into the camera network via a USB stick on June 6th.
Police detected that something unusual was going on when they noticed that the cameras were rebooting more often than they should.
As a result of the attack, Victorian Police have decided to cancel a total of 590 traffic fines related to speeding and red light violations in an abundance of caution.
Acting Deputy Commissioner Ross Guenther said that while there was no reason to believe the fines were incorrectly issued, the decision had been taken to cancel the fines to ensure that the public maintains 100 per cent confidence in the system.
The virus has also affected other high-profile systems around the world, including the National Health Service, the logistics company FedEx, and even the Russian Interior Ministry.