Though some might give them credit for sheer ingenuity, some inmates at an Ohio prison are likely in big trouble after it was discovered that they had surreptitiously built two computers from spare parts, hid them in a ceiling, connected them to the internet and hacked into the prison’s online network.
A lengthy report from the office of Ohio Inspector General Randall J. Meyer was recently released that documented the investigation into the incident, which occurred in the summer of 2015.
USA Today reported that the prisoners’ scheme was revealed that July after the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections received an alert that a computer at the medium-security Marion Correctional Institution near Columbus had exceeded a specified threshold for internet usage, which was especially noteworthy since the log-in credentials used were for an employee that wasn’t even at work that day.
Prison officials conducted a search of the entire facility and eventually discovered two personal computers on a plywood board hidden atop ceiling panels in a training room.
The computers had been hooked into the prison’s online network and had been used to obtain private information about other inmates, information that was used to apply for credit cards, engage in tax fraud, obtain fraudulent security passes to gain access to restricted areas, download various computer hacking tools and, of course, to watch pornography.
Inmates are also alleged to have looked up information on manufacturing home-made drugs and explosives, among other things convicted prisoners aren’t supposed to be engaging in.
Further investigation revealed that “lax inmate supervision” was responsible for the inmates being able to not only gather the parts necessary to build the computers and make them internet-ready, but also to move them past security checkpoints and install them above the ceiling in the training room from which they were accessed from time to time over the course of several months.
It was believed that the parts for the computers came from an inmate work program which had them disassemble old computers to either recycle or return the various parts to contractors for rebuilding.
The report concluded that MCI staff were egregious in their failures to report suspicious illegal activity, properly monitor inmates, guard the computer components, protect the crime scene once discovered and properly follow password security procedures.
The ORDC was given 60 days to respond with detailed analysis of how the stated problems would be addressed and what measures would be implemented to ensure such issues didn’t become a problem again.
The report was also passed along to the Marion County Prosecuting Attorney’s office and the office of the Ohio Ethics Commission, both of which may decide to take some sort of action if deemed warranted.
H/T The Daily Caller