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Federal authorities are concerned about new research showing U.S. prisons are vulnerable to computer hackers, who could remotely open cell doors to aid jailbreaks.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons is “aware of this research and taking it very seriously,” spokesman Chris Burke told The Washington Times.

Mr. Burke was reacting to research by private experts who found that the security systems in most American prisons are run by computer software vulnerable to hackers.

“You could open every cell door, and the system would be telling the control room they are all closed,” said John J. Strauchs, a former CIA operations officer who helped develop a cyber-attack on a simulated prison computer system and described it at a hackers’ convention in Miami recently.

The security systems in most American prisons are run by special computer equipment called industrial control systems, or ICS. They are also used to control power plants, water treatment facilities and other critical national infrastructure. ICS has increasingly been targeted by hackers because an attack on one such system successfully sabotaged Iran’s nuclear program in 2009.

Source: Shaun Waterman for the Washington Times.

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