NYS Corrections looking into possible hacking of secured prison phone system

May 18, 2018 06:39 PM

A report in an on-line tech magazine called Motherboard says the company that runs the secured phone system for every prison in New York State was hacked.

News10NBC found out it's not the information of the inmates at risk, it's the credit card and phone numbers of their families who aren't locked up. 


If someone wants to call or take a call from a person in prison, they have to set up an account and that account includes their credit card number. There's almost 50,000 inmates in New York State prisons. 

Motherboard says it was contacted by the hacker who shared "2,800 user names, email addresses, phone numbers and hashed passwords."

The company is called Securus and the New York State Department of Corrections says it was recently hired to run the prison phone system "at a reduced rate." The DOCCS website also says "a new account must be created and funded before calls can be accepted."

Robert King, attorney: I think the overarching theme, the problem here is you have people who are in a jail and they don't have a choice. And these families, they don't have a choice about how they interact with people they know, care about and love.

Robert King is a Rochester defense attorney. He says he has used this phone system before. 

Robert King, attorney: You make an assumption that as a consumer that the state is behind this, that this is a state organization and really what you have is a subcontractor and we have a question now -- what's the quality of the subcontractor? What kind of protection is this subcontractor using?

I tried to contact Cecurus today. The person who answered the phone in Texas told me there was no one designated to talk to a reporter. My only option was to email using the customer service page. 

I also reached out to DOCCS. In a statement it said "the Department is currently working with the vendor to determine if in fact there was a breach, and if a breach did occur to what extent (the department of corrections or) DOCCS may have been impacted."

DOCCS says Securus, selected by an RFP process last year, completed installation of the new inmate phone system in March of this year. 


Berkeley Brean

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