A prison in New Mexico was forced to go into lockdown last week after a ransomware attack knocked its systems offline.
The ransomware attack hit the Metropolitan Detention Center in Bernalillo County on Jan. 5. Systems affected by the attack included the jail’s internet, most of its data systems and its security cameras.
With limited ability to control inmates, the prison was forced to keep inmates locked in their cells unless they needed medical care. Source NM noted that one public defender claims that the attack threatened inmates’ constitutional rights.
The attack also affected court hearings. Hearings in the county were previously held by Zoom, but with the prison’s internet offline, inmates were instead forced to use a payphone to call into hearings.
The form of ransomware attack has not been revealed. An emergency notice from the county noted that several databases within MDC had been corrupted in the attack. These included the facility’s Incident Tracking System and Offender Management Systems, the latter including inmate medical records.
The ransomware attack has also caused other issues, including the prison’s inability to comply with a decades-old court order and settlement concerning allegations of poor prison conditions.
The current status of the prison remains unclear. Attempts were being made over the weekend to restore the MDC camera system. A spokesperson for the prison told The Register that services are “still being repaired” as of Jan. 12.
“There are no systems that can’t be touched,” Purandar Das, co-founder and chief executive office of encryption-based security solutions company Sotero Inc., told SiliconANGLE. “What these attacks continue to demonstrate is the fact that security, as it has been envisioned, is no longer secure.”
Das explained that attacks like these emphasize the fact that technological advances have ignored security.These weaknesses are now being exploited and monetized by the very same skill sets and technologies that were used to achieve them.
“Analogous to physical security, the days of leaving doors open and windows open are long gone,” Das added. “Organizations need to adapt rapidly to keep the bad actors out. Strategic planning and the adoption of newer technologies are needed.”
Photo: Bernalillo County
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