Skip navigation
× You have 2 more free articles available this month. Subscribe today.

FBI Arrests Former Prisoner Indicted for Hacking Massachusetts Jail Computer

On November 5, 2008, the FBI arrested Francis G. Janosko, 42, for hacking into a computer at the Plymouth County Correctional Facility (PCCF) while he was incarcerated at the Massachusetts jail.

A previously-sealed indictment was handed down a week before the arrest; however, the FBI was unable to apprehend Janosko because he had been on the run since his release on bond in May 2008. He was caught after the FBI traced an e-mail Janosko sent to a jail employee, which led to his capture in North Carolina.

The federal indictment charged Janosko with one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of intentional damage to a protected computer. He was accused of exploiting “a previously unknown idiosyncrasy” in legal research software that jail prisoners were allowed to use.

The software was supposed to limit prisoners’ computer access to legal research only, but Janosko was able to ac-cess the Internet and other programs on the jail’s network from October 1, 2006 through February 7, 2007. He was caught when he attempted to access “an important jail management program” using a bogus username and password.

Janosko allegedly downloaded two short video clips, digital photographs of two jail employees and two prisoners, and an aerial photo of the jail. He also accessed a directory that contained data on 1,100 jail employees, using it to obtain in-formation about six PCCF workers.
According to the indictment, the directory included the names, home addresses, home phone numbers, dates of birth, past employment histories and Social Security numbers of the employees.

Janosko reportedly shared this information with other jail prisoners. However, Plymouth County Sheriff Joseph McDonald stated the directory did not contain the employees’ Social Security numbers.

Janosko faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He was being held at PCCF following his arrest by Plymouth police for using his cell phone to take pictures of a girl in the local library. This was a violation of his probation on child pornog-raphy charges, which stemmed from a December 2005 arrest after authorities found nude pictures of children on his cell phone. Further, as a condition of his probation he was ordered not to use computers.

Janosko has not yet gone to trial on the computer hacking and identity theft charges. See: United States v. Janosko, U.S.D.C. (D. Mass.), Case No. 1:08-cr-10323-GAO.

Sources: Boston Globe,,

As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.

Subscribe today

Already a subscriber? Login

Related legal case

United States v. Janosko