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Victorian firefighters suffered delayed response post-cyber attack

A cyber attack Victorian firefighters suffered some time ago resulted in slowed response times to critical fires, according to new reports.

user icon Daniel Croft
Fri, 05 Apr 2024
Victorian firefighters suffered delayed response post-cyber attack
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The hack on Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV) affected its IT and communication systems and saw threat actors access sensitive data.

Despite the attack occurring in December 2022, a key FRV system was still down until August 2023, as outlined in a note for Emergency Services Minister Jaclyn Symes, seen by the AAP and the opposition through freedom of information legislation.

The system in question is the automatic station turn-out system that is used to dispatch fire services. While the system was down, FRV resorted to dispatching its crews through other means such as pagers, radios, mobile phones and other manual methods, resulting in an delay in response times.


The FRV standard is to respond to 90 per cent of structure fires within seven minutes and 42 seconds; however, due to the outage, response times were 6.87 per cent longer in April, May, and June 2023 than the same time in 2022. It was also 4.3 per cent lower than the 2021–2022 annual average.

Despite the delayed times, the FRV said the outage caused no lives or properties to be lost, adding that it decided to recover its systems slowly to ensure proper restoration.

“Public information provided by FRV following the cyber attack stated ‘community safety has not been compromised’, which may be viewed as at odds with the decline in response time performance,” it said.

“FRV took decisive action in response to the attack, and we have worked cautiously to restore, recover and rebuild our systems.

“FRV sets a high standard with its benchmarks for response times, and there was no evidence of loss of life or property caused by the impact of the cyber attack.”

Additionally, a spokeswoman for the Victorian government said the cyber attack had no negative effects on the community.

“Neither the Fire Services Implementation Monitor nor FRV have identified any negative impact on community safety because of the incident,” the spokesperson said.

Opposition emergency services spokesman Richard Riordan, despite the lack of negative impact, has demanded that the government explain why the effects of the outage were kept quiet. He added that the claim that there were no negative effects was wrong, as delayed response times themselves are a negative effect that puts the community at risk.

“Victorians were told community safety would not be compromised following this attack, yet with response times having fallen as a consequence, this claim is simply wrong,” Riordan said.

Daniel Croft

Daniel Croft

Born in the heart of Western Sydney, Daniel Croft is a passionate journalist with an understanding for and experience writing in the technology space. Having studied at Macquarie University, he joined Momentum Media in 2022, writing across a number of publications including Australian Aviation, Cyber Security Connect and Defence Connect. Outside of writing, Daniel has a keen interest in music, and spends his time playing in bands around Sydney.

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