Prisoners in American institution are not allowed to leave cell due to ransomware attack

Prisoners in American institution are not allowed to leave cell due to ransomware attack

Inmates at a New Mexico prison were unable to leave their cell last week due to a ransomware attack. The cyberattack caused the prison’s automatic doors and cameras to stop working, The Verge reports.


On January 5, the Metropolitan Detention Center in the city of Albuquerque was the victim of a cyberattack. All of the institution’s internet services were down, preventing the cameras from working and staff from looking up information about the inmates.

The detainees were placed in lockdown and could not leave their cells for several days. The staff was also unable to access the system in which incidents must be reported due to the attack. In this system, reports are drawn up about fights, the use of violence and reporting sexual violence. It appears that this system has been damaged by the cyber attack. It remains to be investigated how much information has been lost as a result.

In addition, it was not possible to register visitors, which meant that they were temporarily unwelcome.

against the law

Due to the lockdown, the prison could not comply with all the rights of the inmates. For example, the prisoners could not use the telephone, to which they are entitled. As a result, the county has filed an emergency appeal with a federal court.

The prison outage was part of a major attack on Bernalillo County. Last week, several county offices were hit by a cyber attack.

Consequences of ransomware

In ransomware, also known as ransomware, a hacker encrypts all files and systems of an organization. Often payment is then demanded to release the systems again.

It was already known that ransomware can have disruptive effects and is poignantly visible in this case. When this happens at a company, it is often not possible to work for a while and the costs rise. But when such a cyberattack targets a prison or healthcare facility, human lives can be put at risk.

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