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Inmates Built Computers And Hid Them In Ceiling

A group of Ohio prison inmates reportedly built computers and hid them in the ceiling.

The inmates were reportedly part of a prison work program, where they had been instructed to dismantle computer parts for recycling. The group instead turned the parts into working computers while they were unsupervised, and used them to access the internet, hiding them in the ceiling of a training room according to BBC.

The Inspector General was alerted to the activity after an email alert from Websense told the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections' Operation Support Center that a computer on the network had exceeded its allotted internet usage for the day, according to The Register.

When investigators discovered the computers, they found pornography, as well as articles about building explosives and making drugs saved on them.

Though the incident occurred in 2015, it has only recently been revealed to the public.

"I had been told there was a PC on our network that was being used to try and hack through the proxy servers. They narrowed the search area down to the switch in P3 and the PC was connected to port 16," said an incident report filed with the Inspector General's report. "I was able to follow the cable from the switch to a closet in the small training room. When I removed the ceiling tiles I found 2 PCs hidden in the ceiling on 2 pieces of plywood."

Investigators also discovered bitcoin wallets, bank accounts, and credit card numbers that they said were possible evidence of identity fraud and other online crimes.

They also reportedly found "a large hacker's toolkit with numerous malicious tools for possible attacks. These malicious tools included password-cracking tools, virtual private network tools, network enumeration tools, hand-crafted software, numerous proxy tools, and other software used for various types of malicious activity."

One of the inmates described how he had simply plugged the computer he had built into an internet connection device in the prison. "And then... bam, I'm on the network," he said.

According to one of the inmates who admitted to building the computers, they were able to transport the machines because of the Marion Correctional Institution's "pretty lax" security, CNN reports.

The ODRC said that it would take precautions to ensure that the same situation doesn't happen again.

"It is of critical importance that we provide necessary safeguards in regards to the use of technology while still providing opportunities for offenders to participate in meaningful and rehabilitative programming," said the ODRC in a statement.

Sources: BBC, CNN, The Register / Photo Credit: Nicholas/Flickr

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