Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sys Admin Gone Wild

An IT network administrator working for the city of San Francisco was jailed for locking up a multimillion-dollar city computer system that handles sensitive data, and he is now holding the password hostage.

San Francisco police arrested Terry Childs, an employee of the city’s Department of Technology, for improperly tampering with computer systems and causing a denial of service. Now he is the only one who can get into the network. He also set up devices to gain unauthorized access to the system.

Police believe Childs set up a secret password, giving him exclusive access to the city’s new FiberWAN (wide area network), which includes city payroll and law enforcement records. On Sunday, he was arrested and charged with four counts of tampering with a city-owned computer network. Over the course of the past few days, he has given police fake passwords and refuses to give up the real one.

No one knows exactly why Childs locked up the system. However, the kicker on this story is that San Francisco is continuing to pay his $126,000 annual salary, although it is planning to decide whether he will be placed on “unpaid leave” this week. Hmmmm…..Does jail time count as unpaid leave?

-- Michelle Savage

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