A UK cyber criminal jailed in a maximum security prison has managed to hack into the institution’s mainframe after having been allowed to participate in IT lessons, the Daily Mail reports.
The inmate in question is 21-year-old Nicholas Webber, the infamous founder of the GhostMarket online forum on which budding cyber crooks were able to trade stolen card details, tools to commit computer offenses, and knowledge.
Arrested two years ago along with a few accomplices and sentenced to spend the next five years in prison, the youngster has somehow managed to be included in the group that took IT lessons provided by the prison in order to teach inmates skills that would help them once they got out.
This incident would have remained unknown to the greater public were it not for an ongoing unfair dismissal case mounted by Michael Fox, the prison’s IT teacher.
Fox maintains that after the hack was discovered, he was held responsible for it and dismissed first by the prison, whose management sent a note to other such institutions detailing Fox’ alleged incompetence, and then from his teaching position at the Kensington and Chelsea College.
He also says that he wasn’t informed of Webber’s hacking background and that, ultimately, he wasn’t the one who allowed him to attend the lessons in the first place.
“At the time of this incident in 2011 the educational computer system at HMP Isis was a closed network. No access to personal information or wider access to the internet or other prison systems would have been possible,” a Prison Service spokesman commented the revelation, but didn’t offer any details about it.