back to article Inmate hacker locks down jail computers

A UK prison computer system was left in lockdown after jail bosses gave a convicted cybercriminal the task of reprogramming it, the Sunday Mirror reports. Douglas Havard, 27, an inmate at Ranby Prison, Nottinghamshire, was asked to take over a project to create an internal TV station using the jail's computer network. Havard …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Well thats just...

    ...stupid. How daft can a prison boss get before he is too stupid to even breath?

    <Fail because that´s what the prison bosses parents did>

  2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Whatever were/are they thinking?

    "The prisoner was not able to access records of any other prisoners." ..... Errr, he may not have to if he can just talk to them.

    And the quote above might be more accurately shared as ..."The prisoner was not thought able to access records of any other prisoners." ...... for is that not more likely the truth.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    can't be the brightest hacker in the world because.

    1) he got caught and sent to jail in the first place

    2)He locked everyone out, would it not ahve been better to set up a few admin accounts for himself, not change anything else and then be able to play with things as and when he wished?

  4. Adam Salisbury

    This is just the beginning...

    MI5 IT strategy:

    Step 1 = Hire miscreants for hacking division based on deviant skillset

    Step 2 = Lunatics take over asylum

    Step 3 = ?

    Step 4 = Profit!

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Crackers never learn.........

    Could have had nice cushy job knocking together some code instead........

  6. AC 4

    what title?

    "The prisoner was not able to access records of any other prisoners."

    That makes it all ok then. The human rights of the prisoners was not breached. Thank heaven.

  7. Dan 10


    Well that's just dim. Dim on the part of the people in charge, unless they did assess the risk properly and knew he really *couldn't* access any personal data, concluding that he couldn't do that much damage.

    However, it's even more stupid on the part of the crim - he could have either a. Done the job as requested and used it to make himself a bit more employable on his release, along with probably time off for good behaviour, or b. done the job, left himself with a way in but not locked anyone else out, or c. deliberately 'failed', but still left himself with an admin account or backdoor, or d. done the dumbest thing of all and brought the whole situation crashing down around him. Sounds like a real evil genius, this one.

  8. Jason Togneri

    @ hmm

    Maybe he knew he couldn't get away with it for long, so just opted to do the most damage he could in the time he had?

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Scorpion and the frog...

    Obviously the difference between knowledge and wisdom. This fool has a chance to do something that might get his sentence reduced, give him continuing access, and possibly just keep himself from going insane with boredom, and the first thing he does is act like a 14 year-old and play Hax0r.

    At least he's proven that he's in the right place.

  10. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    A different kind of Shawshank redemption

    Now we just need to add Mr Bean and a laugh track.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    are they sure?

    Given that they had to hire "external consultants" to get them back in after something as simple as a password change, I would have no confidence that the prison bosses have any clue about what he did to the system.

    Full restore from a known secure backup taken before he started messing around is indicated, before they have a bigger probklem (mass breakout?) on their hands later. Plus another couple of years on his sentence, pour encourager les autres.

  12. Grease Monkey Silver badge


    "Another inmate at Ranby Prison recently managed to get a key cut that was capable of opening every door at the jail."

    I'm not sure what the dumbest thing about this actually is? Is it the fact that the inmate sufficient details to get a master key cut? Is it that a key somehow reached the prisoner from the outside world (presumably that's how it was done)? Or is it the fact that the entire prison has similar locks that can be opened by a master key?

    Actually I think I'd go for the last one. That really is staggeringly dumb in a prison.

  13. Alastair McFarlane

    Bought on ebay?

    Did he just make eBay purchases with phished details?

    My dad buys and sells on eBay all the time, but I wouldn't expect *him* to be able to set up a network TV stream...

  14. lukewarmdog


    I imagine he bought himself enough time during the lockout for his auto-creditcard ebay phishing program to run and net him a nice paycheck for when he gets out.

    The extra time inside for his offences just means more interest on his bank account.

    A bit surprised they got outside consultants in and didn't just ask another prisoner to help them given how stupid they clearly are.

  15. TeeCee Gold badge

    Re: Erm?

    More to the point, on discovering this problem do you think they:

    A) Closed the entire gaol while they replaced all the locks.

    B) Retrieved the copied key from the miscreant and wrote a report on the issue.

    C) Retrieved the copied key from the miscreant, removed any bars of soap with suspiciously key-shaped imprints from cells and wrote a report on the issue, drawing attention to how clever they were to think of the bit about the soap.

  16. Graham Marsden

    What next...?

    A convicted fraudster and money launderer being asked to help sort out the Prison's budget and wages...??

  17. lpopman

    Is a title really required?

    @Grease Monkey:

    Each prison block has a seperate master key, as it would be impossible for a screw to carry a full complement of cell keys.

  18. Hugh Jorgen
    Big Brother

    Shawshank Redemption......

    What happened to the good old days where if crims pulled this kind of behavior they'd be taken into a dark room, sat on a chair, and severely *ahem* rehabilitated *cough* with a phone book.

    Perhaps if the 'guvnor wanted a knock off plasma from Fleabay instead.....

  19. Kurgan
    Thumb Up

    @ Graham MArdsen

    Well, a fraudster is the perfect person to help with budget issues, I think.

  20. Winkypop Silver badge

    What did they expect?

    The place is crawling with criminals!!

  21. James O'Brien

    @Whatever were/are they thinking?

    Heh nice made sense the first time through :)

    @Hugh Jorgen

    Only a phonebook? Im partial to the rubber hose and barbed wire approach myself.

  22. gollux


    A.) They're idiots for giving him access...

    B.) He's an idiot for mucking up what could have been an interesting project to while away time behind bars...

  23. Cameron Colley

    Perhaps he had a point to make or another motive.

    Thankfully, I have never been interned at the government's pleasure* so I can only hazard a guess -- but I know if I was in there I would want to be "restricted" from socialising with the general population.

    *has fuck all to do with Liz

  24. kain preacher


    Who signed off on this. Fire them all.

  25. David 45


    Not the best person, perhaps, for the job?

  26. wv9e


    If you can reset passwords you can access any file you want.... dah...

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    What next, "Mr Jones, as a convicted paedophile you seem to know the most about children, why don't you set up our new day care centre?"

  28. Coltek

    It's "The Goon Show"

    .... His middle name must be "Eckles". "Nobody's perfect!"

  29. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    New version of old problem

    Yes in times past prisons have run prison shops.

    Convicted fraudsters have been put in charge of these shops.

    Money has been siphoned away through imaginary suppliers.

    A mate was an accountant working on prison accounts. It seems prison governors never learn.

  30. HFoster

    Jesus Tapdancing

    Maybe they should lock them all up. Fuckwits.

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