- A group of 364 inmates across Idaho correctional facilities hacked hand-held tablets in a mass scheme to steal nearly $US225,000.
- The inmates used the popular JPay tablets to transfer the funds into their own accounts.
- JPay is a private company that provides digital services allowing inmates across the country to use email and play online games.
A group of 364 prison inmates in Idaho correctional facilities hacked hand-held tablets to collectively steal nearly $US225,000, officials say.
The inmates used the popular JPay tablets to transfer the funds into their own accounts by exploiting a “vulnerability” within the device, Idaho Department of Correction Spokesman Jeff Ray said in a statement to the Associated Press.
JPay is a private company that provides digital services allowing inmates across the country to email family and friends, play electronic games, or purchase and listen to music.
Ray said that 50 inmates credited more than $US1,000 to their accounts, and the largest sum transferred by a single inmate was just under $US10,000.
“This conduct was intentional, not accidental. It required a knowledge of the JPay system and multiple actions by every inmate who exploited the system’s vulnerability to improperly credit their account,” Ray said.
It remains unclear what the vulnerability was within JPay’s system that allowed inmates to transfer the money, or how so many inmates became aware of it, according to The Verge.
JPay has recovered about $US65,000 of the $US225,000 from inmates. The company also suspended the ability to use credits on the system until it recovers the rest of the funds.
The Idaho Department of Corrections has issued disciplinary offence records to inmates who were allegedly involved in the hack.
In Idaho, the tablets, which are unable to access the internet, are made available to inmates through a contract with CentryLink and JPay.
Idaho Department of Corrections has approximately 8,000 inmates across 10 prisons and four community re-entry centres. If 364 inmates were involved in the hack, that’s 4.5% of the state’s adult inmates.
JayPay spokesperson Jade Trombetta said in a statement: “JPay is proud to provide services that allow incarcerated individuals to communicate with friends and family, access educational programming and enjoy positive entertainment options that help prevent behavioural issues.
“While the vast majority of individuals use our secure technology appropriately, we are continually working to improve our products to prevent any attempts at misuse.”
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