There are plenty of stories about dumb criminals doing dumb things, but we don’t get to hear as often about dumb prisons allowing smart criminals to make them look dumb. At HM Prison Isis in London, teen hacker Nicholas Webber enrolled in an IT class, from which he hacked the prison’s computer systems.
The founder of Ghost Market, a website where criminals were able to buy and sell identities as well as learn the ins and outs of digital identity theft, was arrested in October, 2009. He was sentenced in May, 2011, to five years at HM Prison Isis. There, he met IT teacher Michael Fox who claims he was sacked after it was discovered that Webber had hacked into the prison computers while in class.
Fox claims that he was never told that Webber was a hacker and should not have been fired.
Very few details have been released about the hacking but the prison says that no personal data was accessed. The biometric thumb print security at the facility was reportedly wiped around the time of the incident though it has not been confirmed that Webber was responsible.
According to the Daily Mail:
The incident happened a year after the opening of the £110 million prison, which houses 18 to 24-year-olds. It has been beset by a series of technological problems caused by breakdowns in its cutting-edge biometric roll-call system where inmates have to leave an electronic thumbprint whenever they move from one part of the jail to another.
The moral of the story: if you have a hacker in your prison, don’t give him access to computers.