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Authorities Voice Fears of Hacker-Initiated Prison Jailbreaks

Prison authorities are concerned about new security research demonstrating how attackers can hack into the industrial control systems used in the nation’s penitentiaries.

Prison authorities are concerned about new security research demonstrating how attackers can hack into the industrial control systems used in the nation’s penitentiaries.

Hacking PrisonsResearch into the issue was presented last month at the Hacker Halted conference in Miami, where the Washington Times reported Tiffany Rad and John Strauchs were able to demonstrate how attackers could use vulnerabilities in programmable logic controllers (PLCs) to remotely open cell doors and prison gates.

“Personally, I think the greatest danger is assassination,” Strauchs told the newspaper. “You create chaos as a way to [implement a plan to] kill someone.”

He explained that a malicious attacker could destroy doors by overloading the electrical system that controls them, or even shut down secure communications through the prison intercom system and crash the facility’s closed-circuit television system.

Strauchs and Rad reportedly worked with authorities to alert them of the risk before disclosing details publicly.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons is “aware of this research and taking it very seriously,” spokesman Chris Burke told The Washington Times. The story can be found here.

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