Prison inmates built secret PCs and successfully connected to the internet

ransomware
pwstudio/123RF
The Ohio Inspector General’s Office has published a report detailing a very unusual PC build. Two inmates at the Marion Correctional Institution in Marion, Ohio apparently managed to build two computers and connect them to the prison’s network.

Suspicions were raised in July 2015, when the facility’s IT staff received an email about a contractor’s PC exceeding its daily internet access quota. This wouldn’t have been out of the ordinary, but the contractor in question only worked Monday through Thursday, and the alert came in on a Friday, according to a report from Tripwire.

Another alert came in two weeks later, at which point it seemed that the user was attempting to access proxy avoidance websites. Upon further investigation, it emerged that the computer wasn’t one of the known computers available for use in the prison’s PC training area.

At this point, a member of the facility’s IT support staff found a mysterious cable, and followed it to see what it was hooked up to. It led to the ceiling, and upon removing a couple of tiles, the staff member discovered a hidden pair of PCs resting on pieces of plywood.

The inmates were apparently using these computers for more than just browsing Facebook and watching videos on YouTube. As well as viewing pornography and downloading software, the PCs were apparently used to access guides on making drugs and explosives, steal the identity of a fellow inmate, and even commit tax fraud.

A total of five inmates have been found to be involved with the exploit, and as a result they have been moved to other institutions. Ohio Inspector General Randall J. Meyer compared the outlandish scenario to an episode of prisoner-of-war sitcom Hogan’s Heroes in an interview with a local ABC affiliate.

Product Review

Digital Storm’s Lynx PC appeals to gamers with stylish, upgradeable design

Digital Storm’s Lynx provides an excellent alternative to gamers who don’t want to build their own gaming PCs. Equipped with powerful hardware and space for two graphics cards, the Lynx is a PC that’s capable of growing with your…
Movies & TV

Once Upon A Time in Hollywood poster puts Pitt and DiCaprio front and center

Quentin Tarantino's ninth feature film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, uses the infamous 1969 Manson Family murders as a backdrop to tell a story set in bohemian Los Angeles. Here's everything we know so far.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (March 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Gaming

These are the classic NES games that helped redefine gaming

The NES left an indelible mark on pop culture and revolutionized the gaming industry. Check out our picks for the best NES games, whether you prefer an immersive RPG, side-scrolling brawler, or something else entirely.
Computing

Is 14 inches the perfect size for a laptop? These 4 laptops might convince you

If you're looking for the best 14-inch laptops, there are a number of factors to consider. You want good battery life, an attractive screen, solid performance, and a good build. Our favorites that do all that and more.
Gaming

Get Corsair’s best mechanical keyboard at a decent discount

From March 17 to 23, you can get one of the best mechanical keyboards around at a great price. The Corsair K95 RGB Platinum is normally $200, but this week you can pick one up from Amazon for $160.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Computing

Need more from your conference white board? The Surface Hub 2 should have it

The Surface Hub 2 could be the most expensive whiteboard ever made, but it should be a powerful and capable one. With the ability to connect several of the 50-inch displays together, the picture at least, should be gorgeous.
Computing

Teens using Google Docs as the modern version of passing notes in class

Google Docs is reportedly being used by teens as a secret communications app. Instead of passing notes, students are now using the software's live chat function or comment boxes to talk with their friends while in the middle of classes.
Emerging Tech

A.I.-generated text is supercharging fake news. This is how we fight back

A new A.I. tool is reportedly able to spot passages of text written by algorithm. Here's why similar systems might prove essential in a world of fake news created by smart machines.
Computing

Windows updates shouldn't cause problems, but if they do, here's how to fix them

Windows update not working? It's a more common problem than you might think. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to troubleshoot it and in this guide we'll break them down for you step by step.
Computing

Here’s how you can watch today’s Nvidia GTC 2019 keynote live

Nvidia's rumored 7nm Ampere graphics could debut soon. The company will be kicking off its GPU Technology conference at 2 p.m. PT today, Monday, March 18, and you can watch the opening keynote here.
Computing

After fourth attack, hacker puts personal records of 26M people up for sale

A serial hacker going by the name of Gnosticplayers is selling the personal data of 26 million people who have been using the services of six different companies from across the world.
Computing

HP’s Omen Mindframe headset keeps your ears chill, but might leave you lukewarm

The Omen Mindframe headset uses HP's FrostCap technology to keep ears cool during long gaming sections. While it delivers on keeping ears cool, it forgets some of the essentials of a quality gaming headset.