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TrevMUN

Five Inmates Built Two PCs and Hacked a Prison From Within

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I'm not even mad. I'm impressed.

https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/five-inmates-built-two-pcs-and-hacked-a-prison-from-within/

Five Inmates Built Two PCs and Hacked a Prison From Within

By

Catalin Cimpanu

April 12, 2017

Five inmates from the Marion Correctional Institution (MCI) built two computers from spare parts, hid them in the ceiling of a training room closet, and used them to hack into the prison's network.

Their actions were discovered in July 2015, when the prison's IT staff switched internal proxy servers from Microsoft to WebSense (now part of Forcepoint).

These servers, designed to monitor and report suspicious traffic, immediately started reporting issues.

Prison IT staff started receiving weird alerts

In the beginning, MCI admins received reports that the user account, belonging to a prison contractor, was exceeding daily traffic quotas. While other employees had also surpassed their daily traffic threshold, the problem was that these reports were coming in the days when that employee was off duty.

Things got weirder a few days later when admins received reports that the same employee was attempting to avoid the traffic monitoring proxies.

At this point, the prison's IT staff decided to investigate further. Their suspicion that something was wrong was confirmed moments later when they traced back the traffic to a computer with the name "-lab9-", a name inconsistent with the prison's internal computer naming scheme.

Computers hid in a closet's ceiling

The prison staff started an investigation and tracked suspicious network traffic to port 16 of a switch located in the prison's P3 training room.

When they got to the switch, IT staffers followed the network cable plugged into port 16 to a nearby closet, and up into the ceiling. Removing the ceiling tiles, prison employees found two fully-working computers, placed on two pieces of plywood.

Inmates used parts from prison's recycling program

According to a report released yesterday by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction's (ODRC), the agency says it identified the five prisoners who built the PCs.

The five inmates managed to build their two PCs because they were part of the prison's Green Initiative program where they worked in trash management and electronics recycling.

More at the link. I wonder if they would have been caught (or if it would have taken them longer to get caught) had they used a more consistent name for their pruno-PCs.

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I also think the whole thing is very interesting. Two Franken type machines more or less from scratch or the scrap heap. Some of the five guys or 'all' had to have some knowledge of electronics and computers ... a little higher IQ than you're average mugger.

Cables and computers well hidden until a more aggressive investigation and search took place.
...

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