Last week, a ransomware attack left jail in Albuquerque, New Mexico, without access to its automatic door mechanisms and camera feeds.
The detention center inmates have been confined to their cells because of this, while the technicians find ways to bring the system back online.
New Mexico Jail’s Ransomware Attack
According to Albuquerque Journal, the visitor access to the Metropolitan Detention Center or MDC was suspended as it was forced to go on lockdown.
All of the internet services at the detention center were also offline, so the staff was not able to check the inmate records.
Since Jan. 5, all detention center inmates have been on lockdown and confined due to the lack of camera coverage.
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Also, the county filed an emergency notice that stated that the incident tracking database that has all of the reports of the use of force, fighting, and sexual assault was not available for viewing and is said to have been corrupted by the hack.
Taylor Rhan, an attorney for the county, wrote in a court notice regarding the lockdown that on Jan.5, the automatic door mechanism at the Metropolitan Detention Center was unstable. This means that the staff had to manually use keys to open the facility doors.
Rahn added that one of the attack’s impacts was that the detention center was not able to access the facility cameras. As of the evening of Jan. 5, there was no access to all of the cameras within the center, according to The Verge.
No Access to Databases
The MDC was just one point of impact in a more significant attack that affected Bernalillo County, which is known as the most populous county in New Mexico, on Jan. 5.
The county employees could not access any of the local government databases, and all of the public offices were closed. On Jan. 10, a press release noted that county office headquarters were still only partially in operation, according to The West News.
The sudden lockdown had put the detention center in violation of the terms of a settlement in a lawsuit over conditions of confinement, forcing the county to file an emergency notice in federal court.
A settlement agreement from a lawsuit that was filed in 1995 had required all detention centers in the county to follow protocols because of several complaints about questionable conditions, including giving inmates access to communication devices.
However, the ransomware attack on the detention center could force it to violate the agreement.
The emergency filing said that limited out-of-cell time has an effect on the inmates’ ability to access telephones.
The filing added that the county might not be able to get data that is needed by the agreement due to the impact of the ransomware attack.
Ransomware is one of the top threats facing businesses and government instructions across the United States.
Just last year, the company NEW Cooperative became a victim of a ransomware attack, and it triggered a food shortage as a result.
Last week, the Nordic Choice Hotels switched to a Chrome OS after a ransomware attack affected the hotel chain’s system.
In 2021, the Department of Justice or DOJ created a task force focused on ransomware and digital extortion. They share information between the DOJ and other agencies, looking for ways to fix the problem.
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Written by Sophie Webster
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