Disgruntled Employee Holds San Francisco Computer Network Hostage
Trusted insiders can do a lot of damage:
Childs created a password that granted him exclusive access to the system, authorities said. He initially gave pass codes to police, but they didn't 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 weren't 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.
Authorities say Childs began tampering with the computer system June 20. The damage is still being assessed, but authorities say undoing his denial of access to other system administrators could cost millions of dollars.
EDITED TO ADD (8/10): According to another article, "officials say the network so far has been humming along just fine without admin access by the city." So it's not a complete shutdown as much as an admin lock out.
EDITED TO ADD (8/13): This is getting weirder. Terry Childs gave the right passwords, but only to the mayor personally.
Posted on July 16, 2008 at 11:43 AM • 59 Comments