March 22, 2023

A ransomware attack left jail in Albuquerque, New Mexico, without access to its automatic door mechanisms and camera feeds.

The visitor access to the Metropolitan Detention Center or MDC was suspended as it was forced to go on lockdown. All of the internet services at the detention center were also offline, so the staff was not able to check the inmate records.


All detention center inmates have been on lockdown and confined due to the lack of camera coverage. The county filed an emergency notice that stated that the incident tracking database that has all of the reports of the use of force, fighting, and sexual assault was not available for viewing and is said to have been corrupted by the hack.

The MDC was just one point of impact in a more significant attack that affected Bernalillo County, which is known as the most populous county in New Mexico. The county employees could not access any of the local government databases, and all of the public offices were closed.

The sudden lockdown had put the detention center in violation of the terms of a settlement in a lawsuit over conditions of confinement, forcing the county to file an emergency notice in federal court.


A settlement agreement from a lawsuit that was filed in 1995 had required all detention centers in the county to follow protocols because of several complaints about questionable conditions, including giving inmates access to communication devices.

The ransomware attack on the detention center could force it to violate the agreement. The emergency filing said that limited out-of-cell time has an effect on the inmates’ ability to access telephones. The filing added that the county might not be able to get data that is needed by the agreement due to the impact of the ransomware attack.

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