HACKER TRIES TO GET BUDDY RELEASED EARLY FROM PRISON
Someone watched them some old school movies, like Wargames. Then they read up on hackers from the last three decades. Hackers who knew how to use social engineering strategies. Someone is going to jail, too. That someone is Konrads Voits, from Ypsilanti, Michigan. A judge sentenced Konrads to 7 years, three months in jail. What did Konrads do? Well, he worked his way into a prison computer system. Then he edited a friend’s file, giving them an earlier release date. What went wrong? Hardcopy, that’s what went wrong. Konrads got caught. But it wasn’t easy, or cheap. But it was a nice bid. It’s easier to hack prisoners out early than it is to break them out. Unless the cops catch you, that is.
WARGAMES FAIL, POLICE BUST HACKER, NO EARLY RELEASE FOR BUDDY
Beyond the prison time, the judge also fined Konrads $235,488, payable to the Washtenaw County. That’s how much it cost to investigate Konrad’s hack of the prison computer system. Konrads pled guilty to one count of damaging a protected computer. But he spent most of the Spring of 2017 implementing different social engineering schemes, all to get him into the Washtenaw County Jail’s computer system. First, Konrads created a dummy version of the Jail’s website, all in a bid to trick employees to give up their account information. That didn’t work.
HACKER HAD PERSONAL INFO ON 1,600 GOVERNMENT STAFF
So then Konrads called the jail, impersonating an IT specialist for the county, helping to install an update for X.Jail. X.Jail is the program they use to manage all the records at the prison. Konrads finally got lucky and got a staff member to install malware on their computer. Then he was in like sin. He had access to pretty much everything including search warrant affidavits, employee information and internal discipline records. Konrads ended up with data on more than 1,600 government staff.
CAUGHT BY HARDCOPY, HACKER CAN’T CHANGE WHAT’S ON PAPER
While the hack caused a lot of anxiety to many of these employees, that’s not what got Konrads caught. He did get in and get access. He did go in and change the release date for his prisoner friend. But he didn’t manage to get into their physical records and change the date there as well. For whatever reason, when the edited release date popped up in the system for Konrads’ friend, an employee was suspicious and looked up the hardcopy. When the dates didn’t’ match, they called the FBI. Authorities arrested Konrads shortly after. Soon, he’ll be with the rest of the prisoners on the inside.
So when a computer asks you, shall we play a game? Say yes. But just like in Wargames, play chess.