How did an Ohio inmate get prison computer passwords?

Routine search discovered that the inmate had a "list containing administrative user names and passwords"

By Alan Johnson
The Columbus Dispatch

COLUMBUS — The State Highway Patrol is investigating how an inmate at Lebanon Correctional Institution was able to get passwords for the prison computer system.

A routine search at the Lebanon prison last Friday discovered that the inmate, who was not identified, had a “list containing administrative user names and passwords,” the patrol said.

JoEllen Smith, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, said the inmate is now in “restrictive housing” at the prison while the investigation continues.

“We have no evidence that a data breach occurred at Lebanon or any other prison,” Smith said.

She added, “New information security technology has been implemented out of an abundance of caution.”

Officials would not say what computer information, if any, the inmate was able to access with the usernames and passwords.

Lt. Craig S. Cvetan said the patrol is “conducting a criminal investigation on this incident. Once our investigation is complete we will forward it to the prosecutor’s office to review for charges. The focus of our investigation will be on what if any criminal violations were committed. The Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections would be conducting the administrative investigation on how an inmate was able to obtain the passwords.”

Inmates in state prisons have access to computers in institution libraries, but have very limited access to the internet, including for job searches and through a third-party pay email system, Smith said.

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