The Madison County Sheriff's Office says hackers got access to information and images not generally available to the public.
Unfortunately, there wasn't anything the Madison County Sheriff's Office could have done to prevent this cyber attack, because it wasn't the one who was hacked. Hackers got access to an elevated account from the company the sheriff's office contracted, which gave them access to the jail's security cameras.
"Security is never 100%. You are always going to be at risk one way or another," junior cyber security engineer at H2L Solutions Peyton Guy said. "This was totally a fumble on the Verkata company. This company did not have their account secure and they were a supplier to very major companies in the United States and internationally, as well."
Bloomberg reports a group of hackers were able to get access to live feeds of more than 150,000 Verkata surveillance cameras in hospitals, schools, companies, police departments and prisons.
WAAY 31 reached out to school districts in Madison County and Huntsville Hospital. They all said they were not impacted by this hack.
However, the Madison County Sheriff's Office says it just installed Verkata's camera system at their facility at the end of last year.
Officials said they weren't doing any on-camera interviews at this time but did release a statement saying: "We are confident that this unauthorized release did not and will not impact the safety of staff or inmates in the detention facility or the general public."
Bloomberg reports hackers were able to access live feeds and archived video in the jail. Some cases included audio of interviews between officers and criminal suspects.
Former U.S. Attorney Jay Town says he doesn't expect the hack to impact any future criminal trials, but it could put some long-term investigations at risk if officers were talking with a cooperator.
The sheriff's office says the security cameras are now offline, meaning they're no longer connected to the internet, and hackers can no longer access them. Officers are still using the cameras to monitor inmates from the jail's control room viewing stations.
"We will continue to focus our efforts on the safety and security of our community, which remains our first and foremost priority," Sheriff Kevin Turner said.
The sheriff's office says the hack did not impact any other system in the detention facility.
Guy says hacking in general is always a concern. He warns companies can say they're doing things to protect their information, and not do it. Guy says most people will have to compromise when it comes to contracting a security company.
"You're always going to be at risk in one way or another. It's always about compromise. It's how secure you want to be versus how usable do you want that system to be," Guy explained.
He adds the only way to make sure your system is completely secure is by creating your own security system and software.
There are other steps you can take to help protect your information online. That includes constantly updating your passwords and even considering adding a two-factor password safety feature.