Hackers Leak Footage of Iranian Prison

A hacking group has leaked what it claims is surveillance footage shot inside an Iranian prison where political prisoners are typically incarcerated.

Silent videos capturing the dire conditions of life inside Tehran's Evin Prison were shared with the media on Sunday by hacktivist group Tapandegan (Palpitations). Iran International reports that the Tapandegan received the images from a hacking group calling itself Edalat-e Ali (Ali's Justice).

The footage shows guards beating a prisoner and guards and prisoners fighting among themselves. In one video, an emaciated prisoner is shown passing out and falling to the ground before being dragged up some stairs.

What appears to be an attempt by one prisoner to end his own life was captured by the CCTV. The footage shows a man breaking a bathroom mirror and attempting to cut open his arm with one of the shards. 

Images in which guards are shown wearing facemasks are believed to date from the COVID-19 pandemic. Much of the videos bear a timestamp from this year or 2020.

Ali's Justice claims to have hacked into the prison's surveillance system a few months ago and stolen hundreds of gigabytes of data. The group said it was exposing the stolen footage now to coincide with the election of Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi.

Some of the footage appears to capture a cyber-attack taking place at the prison. It shows a guard looking on as monitor after monitor in a control room flashes red and then displays the text "cyberattack" along with an image of scales. The message “The Evin prison is a stain on Raisi’s black turban and white beard” then appears.

The Associated Press noted that the computer system in use in the control room appeared to be running Windows 7. With patches no longer provided for this operating system by Microsoft, it would be vulnerable to attack. 

While Edalat-e Ali appear to be a new hacking group, Tapandegan became notorious in 2018 when they hacked into systems at Mashhad International Airport and posted anti-government messages and images on arrival and departure information screens. 

Evin was built in the 1970s and holds around 15,000 people. 

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