Malware has infected a Russian police computer network, knackering speed cameras in and around Moscow, according to reports.
Broadsheet daily Izvestia reckons a server operated by the Office of Traffic Police was infiltrated by an unidentified Trojan. The infection disabled parts of the cops' Arrow-ST system used to monitor key highways in and around the Russian capital, we're told.
Cleaning up the mess has been complicated by the transfer of a government contract for the equipment's maintenance: SK Region, the supplier of the kit, handed the reins over to IntechGeoTrans earlier this year.
The cameras should bring in 100 million roubles ($3.2m) per month in speeding fines, but the network apparently hasn't been working properly for at least two weeks. Some reports suggested it went wrong as early as the start of February.
All this has sparked a massive political row: politicians blamed IntechGeoTrans for not sorting out the problem, but the company claimed it inherited a system in a state of chronic disrepair.
A virus infection may be a secondary cause of failure at many of the 144 camera sites on the network: inspections of the gear at 13 locations revealed evidence that cameras were not connected to a power supply. Dirty glass lenses and corroded metal was also discovered.
Site visits also uncovered malware on the hard disks within one of the cameras, which prevented the transfer of data. It appears initial cleanup attempts by IntechGeoTrans failed to remove the infection properly and the matter was handed over to anti-virus experts at Kaspersky Labs. Izvestia suggested that the malware got onto speed cameras as a result of infection of the traffic police system.
A Google translation of Izvestia's coverage can be found here. ®
Updated to add
A spokesman for Kaspersky told us after publication: “Kaspersky Lab confirms it conducted an investigation at the request of ZAO IntexGeoTrans. However, according to the terms of our contract, we cannot provide any further details at this time.”