Jailed Hacker Breaches Prison Computers

Nicholas Webber, 21, who received a five-year prison sentence in 2011 for founding and running the GhostMarket cybercrime forum, apparently managed to hack into the computer system at his prison, HM Prison Isis, soon after he was imprisoned.

“A prison service spokesman confirmed that Webber was involved in a hack on the prison’s systems while downplaying the significance of the compromise,” writes The Register’s John Leyden. “‘At the time of this incident in 2011 the educational computer system at HMP Isis was a closed network. No access to personal information or wider access to the internet or other prison systems would have been possible,’ the spokesman told The Reg.”

“This incident would have remained unknown to the greater public were it not for an ongoing unfair dismissal case mounted by Michael Fox, the prison’s IT teacher,” writes Help Net Security’s Zeljka Zorz.

“[Fox] was banned from the prison but the college cleared him of committing any security breaches at a disciplinary hearing last March,” writes The Daily Mail’s Ian Gallagher. “On Friday, Mr Fox, from Bromley, Kent, began a claim for unfair dismissal, arguing that it wasn’t his decision to put Webber, the son of a former member of Guernsey’s parliament, in his class. He says he had no idea he was a hacker.”

“Earlier this year, an official report claimed that HM Prison Isis was ‘bedevilled’ by technological problems, including a breakdown in its biometric thumbprint security system,” notes Sophos’ Graham Cluley. “Let’s hope that they didn’t ask Webber to help them fix that …”

Jeff Goldman
Jeff Goldman has been a technology journalist for more than 20 years and an eSecurity Planet contributor since 2009.

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