S.F. officials locked out of computer network
A disgruntled city computer engineer has virtually commandeered San Franciscos new multimillion-dollar computer network, altering it to deny access to top administrators even as he sits in jail on $5 million bail, authorities said Monday.
Terry Childs, a 43-year-old computer network administrator who lives in Pittsburg, has been charged with four counts of computer tampering and is scheduled to be arraigned today.
Prosecutors say Childs, who works in the Department of Technology at a base salary of just over $126,000, tampered with the citys new FiberWAN Wide Area Network, where records such as officials e-mails, city payroll files, confidential law enforcement documents and jail inmates bookings are stored.
Childs created a password that granted him exclusive access to the system, authorities said. He initially gave pass codes to police, but they didnt work. When pressed, Childs refused to divulge the real code even when threatened with arrest, they said.
He was taken into custody Sunday. City officials said late Monday that they had made some headway into cracking his pass codes and regaining access to the system.
Childs has worked for the city for about five years. One official with knowledge of the case said he had been disciplined on the job in recent months for poor performance and that his supervisors had tried to fire him.
“They werent able to do it – this was kind of his insurance policy,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the attempted firing was a personnel matter.
This isn’t particularly housing related – ok, it’s not at all housing related. I just thought it was amusing.