Ransomware attack cripples prisons — Action News Now

Metropolitan Detention Center in Albuquerque goes into lockdown after attack disrupts vital systems


A suspected ransomware attack in New Mexico disrupted services across the county, including a local jail in Albuquerque that went into lockdown after losing access to cameras, databases and automated doors.

The incident, which took place on January 5 in Bernalillo County, resulted in inmates being held in cells at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in the state’s largest city. The prison’s phone and internet services were also affected, with staff unable to check prisoner records.


The cyberattack also destroyed — and likely destroyed — important prison databases, including its incident tracking database, which recorded all reports of violence at the facility, such as allegations of fights, use of force and sexual assault.

in emergency court Notice, the county attorney noted, “Not available” Automatic door system means “Staff must manually open the facility door using a key.” Attorney Tyler Lahn revealed, “Cannot use the cameras in the facility” since the night of the attack.


The Albuquerque Journal reported a wider outage in New Mexico’s most populous county government building, closing many offices and halting visitor access to detention centers after jails went into lockdown.

in a statement On Monday, the county notified the public that services were still in place “limited,” ask people “Understand the seriousness of this ransomware problem.” Affected systems include those of the probate court, which is “Unable to file” although “Operational Intake and Release” Prisoners continue to be at MDC.

The blockade also apparently sparked a legal battle as the county risked violating a 1995 lawsuit settlement According to The Verge, about the conditions of incarceration in his prison. Under the terms of the agreement, prisoners were given privileges, including leaving their cells and using cell phones and other devices on a regular basis.

The county noted in its emergency filing, “Limited time away from home may affect inmates’ ability to use phones and tablets” and warns that MDC “May not collect data” required by the settlement “Depends on the duration of the impact of the attack.”


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