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Former prison inmate hacks into jail's computer network

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November 8, 2008

Francis Janosko, a 42 year-old former prison inmate has been arrested and charged with hacking the jail's own computer network, stealing personal details of more than 1,100 prison employees and making them available to other fellow inmates.

According to an indictment unsealed on Oct. 5 in U.S. District Court in Boston, Janosko was successful in gaining access to the names, addresses, dates of birth, social security numbers and telephone numbers of employees working for the Plymouth County Correctional Facility in Massachusetts.

Janosko also managed to obtain the username and password to a prison management program, and to even access the Internet to download videos and digital photographs of prison employees, inmates and aerial shots of the prison. The accused hacking took place between October 2006 and February 2007.

Using a thin client that was connected to a prison server, the prisoner was able to access an employee database by exploiting a security flaw in legal research software made available to many inmates.

"Although the legal research computer server was connected through the prison's network and to the Internet solely so that it could obtain updates to its Windows operating system, the legal research server was configured to disallow access to the Internet," the indictment stated.

Computer use was limited to legal research only. Use of the Internet was strictly forbidden to all inmates.

Janosko is charged with one count each of aggravated identity theft and intentional damage to a protected computer network. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of twelve years in jail and a fine of $250,000. He could also be forced to pay unspecified restitution.

According to The Boston Globe, Janosko was also arrested three years ago on child pornography charges after investigators discovered nude photos of children on his cellphone.

It was the third time he faced such charges, The Globe reported. In 2005, he was listed as a Level 3, or high-risk sex offender in Massachusetts in 2005.

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Source: The Boston Globe.

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