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Investigation found inmates built and hid computers in ceiling at Ohio prison

April 13, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Investigation found inmates built and hid computers in ceiling at Ohio prison

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Careless security enabled inmates at an Ohio prison to construct two computers and connect them to state’s Department of Rehabilitation and Correction’s network.

The devices were discovered concealed in the ceiling prison in Marion County in 2015, leading to an investigation conducted by Ohio’s Inspector General.

The computers held applications for credit cards using other prisoner’s information, porn, research on tax fraud, recipes for drugs, and messages, NBC4 reported.

Ohio prison officials said the inmates at the Marion Correctional Institution also managed to issue passes to gain connection, to multiple areas within the penitentiary.

IT staffers had received an alert about a computer using ODRC’s network that “had exceeded a daily usage threshold.” The warning also indicated that the computers were being used with the stolen credentials of a former employee and contractor.

The clever inmates had access to old parts through a prison program that hires inmates to take apart old devices for recycling.

During the probe, two inmates reportedly confessed to building the computers and hiding them in the ceiling. One of them told detectives that they moved the computers within the prison because of “pretty lax” security from some of the guards.

“Inmates were allowed access to computers, computer parts and vast areas of the institution, and unsupervised time to build, transport, run cables and hide the computers in the ceiling,” the report stated.

“Investigators determined prisoners took advantage of the freedoms, programs, and security standards at MCI,” it added.

The inquiry has been transferred to Marion County’s Prosecutor’s Office, where it is being examined.

Ohio Inspector General Randall J. Meyer told WSYX that the prisoners transported the computers “without being checked by security through check points … It’s almost like an episode of Hogan’s Heroes.”

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction announced that they “will review the reports and take any steps necessary to prevent these types of things from happening again,” according to WSYX.

“It is of importance that we provide safeguards in regards to the use of technology while providing opportunities for offenders to participate in meaningful and rehabilitative programming,” the announcement added.

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