When all the doors popped open in the maximum-security wing of a Miami prison in June, it was supposedly a computer error. But surveillance video obtained by the Miami Herald showed a group of inmates immediately setting out of their cells on a coordinated attempt to stab an imprisoned gang leader, as if they had planned for the security system to fail when it did. Wired looks into the possibility that the near-miss shanking opportunity was created by a successful hack.
A Florida prison says that a computer "glitch" is to blame after all of the doors in the maximum security wing opened without warning. Wired has news for them, though. Sometimes, these kinds of glitches are caused by sneaky characters called hackers. And this situation looks pretty suspect.
The incident happened back in June at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center in Miami, but newly released surveillance footage is sparking some skepticism that it was a random act of code. As the video shows, the inmates are all safely locked in their cells one minute, and the next, the doors fly open. One inmate jumps straight out as if had been anticipating release, walks down to meet a fellow inmate who reportedly gave him a shank and just a few seconds later, he can be seen trying to stab yet another inmate (who, incidentally, straight up jumped off the balcony, suffering a broken ankle and fractured vertebrae). We're left wondering if this wasn't the plan all along.
Even the guards admit that the circumstances surrounding the incident are "suspicious." Perhaps the most suspicious part is that fact that this was the second time in as many months that these doors opened without warning, leading some to suspect that the first incident was a test to see how long it would take guards to react. After security researchers told them that the computer system controlling the doors was vulnerable, Wired asked the guards if they thought a hacker might've been behind the funny business. The guards said they hadn't even considered that. They're exploring all possibilities, though, including the idea that guards themselves might've been involved.
It'll probably take a few weeks to figure out what exactly happened in Miami earlier this summer. One thing is glaringly clear based on what we already know. Whether because of bugs or hackers or crooked guards, the computer system that keeps murderers and rapists and drug dealers and pedophiles locked up is not infallible. A correctional institution in Maryland also had this little door-opening problem earlier this year, so maybe it's time we just double check how we're keeping all those cell doors secure. All else fails, an actual lock and key might not be that bad of an idea… [Wired]