CyberNews Briefs

Ransomware locks down prison, knocks systems offline

The Metropolitan Detention Center in Bernalillo County, New Mexico, was forced into lockdown on January 5 due to a cyberattack that targeted the county’s systems and deployed malware. Local government systems were impacted by the cyberattack, including those that are used to manage the prison. Inmates were required to remain in their cells as the cyberattack took out the establishment’s internet. In addition, staff at the prison were unable to access data management servers and security camera networks. The incident was revealed through court documents, after one public defender representing the inmates suggested that their rights were violated due to the sudden lockdown.

Inmates likely had visitations canceled due to the cyberattack. They also lost internet access, leaving them with only payphones to communicate with court representatives. Jail staff had to rely on unstable cellular connections to make phone calls, access emails, and video conference-based court proceedings. The virtual proceedings were imposed due to Covid-19 and could not occur on the day of the lockdown. The cyberattack highlights the risk malware poses to facilities such as detention centers and the impact they can have on a large number of individuals.

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OODA Analyst

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