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On April 11, the U.S. state of Ohio Inspector General’s Office released a report about five prisoners accused of building two personal computers (PC) from spare parts within the prison. The inmates used the makeshift computers to access Tor, obtain credit cards, apply for bank accounts, and create bitcoin wallets as well.
Five Ohio Inmates Built Two Makeshift Computers and Hacked the Prison Server
Five inmates from the Marion Correctional Institution in Ohio built two computers from recycled computer parts and hid them in the prison ceiling. The jerry-rigged PCs were used for various cyber activities for well over two years within the prison facility. The Inspector General was notified of the incident when the prison’s IT team noticed peculiar activity while testing the facility’s server.
Warnings included hacking alerts and proxy changes within the prison network. Furthermore, the prison’s IT specialists noticed the daily internet usage surpassed the typical average rate. The Ohio Inspector General states;
On the above date and time I was following up on information received from our IT department. I had been told there was a PC on our network that was being used to try and hack through the proxy servers.
Investigators Discover Inmates Secured Bank Accounts, Credit Cards, and Bitcoin Wallets
Following the report, correctional officers removed two prison-built computers from the ceiling and charged five inmates with the crime. Officers also removed the two computers’ hard drives for further forensic data collection.
Investigators found Pidgin chat accounts, visits to Tor sites, virtual phone software, and applications for credit cards. Additionally, officials found the inmates had created a system where they could issue prison passes that allowed them to roam the Marion Correctional Institution freely. The Ohio Inspector General then issued subpoenas to five banks that revealed credit card applications penned by a “Kyle Patrick.” In addition to the fraudulent credit card applications officers also discovered the crew utilized bitcoin wallet software as well.
“It appears the Departmental Offender Tracking System (DOTS) portal was attacked and inmate passes were created,” explains the Ohio Inspector General’s report.
Findings include bitcoin wallets, stripe accounts, bank accounts, and credit card accounts point toward possible identity fraud, along with other possible cyber-crimes.
Prisoners Charged and Separated
The end result of the investigation saw the five ‘hacker inmates’ charged with building hidden computers and manipulating the prison’s server. All five prisoners were removed from the Marion Correctional Institution and placed in separate facilities.
Going forward the Ohio Inspector General detailed the prison would “take any additional steps necessary to prevent these types of things from happening again.”
What do you think about the five prisoners building computers and accessing credit cards and bitcoin wallets? Let us know in the comments below.
Images via Shutterstock, The Register.uk, and Marion Correctional Institution.