Man Sentenced to 87 Months in Prison for Hacking County Jail’s Records to Get Friend Released Early because “A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed.”
A 27-year old Michigan resident has received 7 years and 3 months (approx. 87 months) sentence and three years of supervised release for hacking the computer system of a county prison and modifying prison records for getting a friend of his released early.
Konrads Voits who hails from Ypsilanti, Michigan, has also been fined with $235,488, which he is required to pay to the Washtenaw County to recover for the expenditures of the investigation. Last year in December, Voits pleaded guilty to one count of causing damage to a computer.
Voits was involved in designing and executing a social engineering campaign since spring 2017 that let him acquire access to the computer systems of Washtenaw County Jail. His guilty plea stated that between Jan and Mar 2017 he initiated a spear phishing campaign and sent emails to the employees of Washtenaw County Jail so as to lure them to visit the “ewashtenavv.org” domain, which was actually a replica page of the official website of the county jail “ewashtenaw.org.” Both the domains look identical with just a minor difference.
However, much to Voits’ dismay, the campaign wasn’t much successful. Then Voits called county jail employees by impersonating as IT staff member of the Jail. He compelled employees into installing a fake update package for the county jail’s app called X.Jail. This file was not an update but contained malware. After it was installed, the malware allowed Voits to access the computers in the County Jail.
He admitted that he used the malware to obtain and steal usernames, passwords, emails and other private and confidential data of more than 1,6000 county jail employees. He could also view search warrant affidavits, county employees’ personal information and internal discipline records of the inmates.
As per a victim’s statement, the hacking led to an extreme level of fear and anxiety while others at the prison felt like they were “personally violated” by Voits’ hacking campaign and suffered the “uncertainty of not knowing whether their identity has been stolen or credit has been ruined.”
It became a lot easy for Voits to modify jail records and get a friend released earlier than his due release date. But, when an employee cross-checked the release date with paper records, it became evident that someone had modified the records. An investigation was launched by the FBI and Voits got arrested almost immediately.
The Associated Press reports that prosecutors found Voits to be extraordinarily talented and it was unfortunate that he used his skills for evil deeds. They urged that the court let Voits spend some part of his sentence time in a federal medical center since Voits’ defense attorney claimed that his client suffers from the serious mental illness.
“The federal law enforcement community encourages victims of cybercrimes to follow the lead of Washtenaw County and work with law enforcement to bring cybercriminals to justice. Judge Cleland’s 87-month sentence clearly sends the message that cybercrimes will not be tolerated in the Eastern District of Michigan,” said the United States Attorney Schneider stated.
Prosecutors believe that upon his release, Voits might be a changed person and prove to be a productive member of the society. However, This, however, is not the first time when Voit created trouble for law enforcement authorities in the country. Previously the FBI encountered Voits in 2015 when he reported a false bomb threat. As for him and his friend in prison one can use the incident while quoting “a friend in need is a friend indeed.”
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