New research demonstrates just how easy it is for a computer hacker to take control of a prison’s computer system.
The gaping vulnerability will be uncovered at this year’s DefCon hacker’s conference in Las Vegas. John Strauchs, tech security consultant at over 100 US prisons, police stations, and courthouses, recently purchased a Programmable Logic Computer (PLC) legally online to examine it for any flaws. Within three hours, Strauchs and two other researchers had exploited the PLC using a program of their design. They purchased the product legally. Anyone can find it on eBay for about $500.
This is a huge issue considering most modern prisons use a computer controlled mechanism, or a Programmable Logic Computer (PLC), to open and close cell doors. If a hacker got control of the system, he/she could cause a mass jail break by unlocking cells, and even flat out destroying the system.
Strauchs and his compatriots revealed their findings to federal agencies, including the FBI, to better prepare them for the possibility of such an attack.
“This type of problem is straight out of a Bruce Willis action movie,” says Criminal Defense Lawyer, Avery Appelman. “Many of our correctional institutions have been outsourced to private corporations. Will they be prepared to deal with such sophisticated attacks? This information should be taken seriously to ensure the prevention of such an attack.”
Can you imagine if a hacker took control of one of the worst prisons in America?