Maximum PC readers probably already know that sysadmins can be your best friend if you treat them right – or your worst enemy if you don't. Just ask the city of San Francisco, whose FiberWAN network was held hostage for 12 days in 2008 by rogue sysadmin Terry Childs.
The insurgent network administrator assumed absolute control over the city's network for a 12-day period in 2008. Although he locked out the city from its own network during this period, Childs was kind enough to let the network run unhindered. But that gesture of generosity wasn't enough to prevent his arrest in June, 2008 guilty. He was finally convicted on one felony count of network tempering on April 27, 2010.
Childs is effectively half way through his sentence, having already served more than two years in custody.
Terry Childs, who locked down San Francisco's FiberWan system last summer, will get his day in court on January 13, exactly six months since he went into the slammer for allegedly hijacking the network he designed and maintained. $5 million bail stands between Childs and a 'get out of jail' card until trial.
After an eight-day preliminary hearing, Superior Court Judge Paul Alvarado ruled Wednesday that prosecutors had produced enough evidence of Terry Childs' probable guilt to hold him for trial on four felony charges of tampering with a computer network, denying other authorized users access to the network and causing more than $200,000 in losses.
How much more than $200,000? According to prosecutors, the city claims it spent almost $1.5 million in "attempts to regain control of the network and assess its vulnerability to intrusions."
Childs' attorney claims her client was trying to protect the network from other employees:
Mr. Childs had good reason to be protective of the password. His co-workers and supervisors had in the past maliciously damaged the system themselves, hindered his ability to maintain it...and shown complete indifference to maintaining it themselves...He was the only person in that department capable of running that system.
The case made our 250 Most Important Tech Products, Events, and People of 2008list at number 232. Stay tuned to MaximumPC.com for further updates.