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Vulnerabilities / Threats

SF Net Hijacker Gives Up Passwords

Former IT administrator says he's ready to give the keys back to the city

Terry Childs, the former IT administrator accused of kidnapping the city of San Francisco's data network, is ready to give up the administrative passwords to the system, his attorney said yesterday.

Childs is accused of changing all of the city's network passwords so that only he could access the network, which contains email, payroll, law enforcement, and inmate booking files, apps and data. (See San Fran Insider Threat Gone Wild.)

According to a report in Wired, Childs pleaded not guilty yesterday to four felony counts of denying access to the city's network and of producing an unauthorized access device to control the government's network remotely.

Childs is being held on $5 million bail, as the authorities fear he could unleash a wave of attacks on the FiberWAN system he built for the city. Security officials said the hijacking could have been avoided had the city undertaken proper security measures, such as limiting administrative rights given to IT staffers.

Childs' attorney, Erin Crane, said that the ordeal is a "misunderstanding," according to the report. "As the case unfolds, you'll see that," Crane said. "He's been willing to hand over the passwords since Tuesday."

Crane said "we have negotiations underway" with prosecutors, but she refused to provide details. She said Childs worked under a "hostile environment" at the city's Department of Technology Information Services, but declined to elaborate.

— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading

Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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