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Rogue SF sysadmin coughs up passwords

City regains access to its own network

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San Francisco City Council regained access to its own computer network today after Mayor Gavin Newsom convinced network administrator Terry Childs to give them the passwords.

Childs is in jail until he can raise $5m in bail. He is accused of blocking all access to the city's network and routers by resetting passwords. He initially refused to cough up the new password. But on Monday afternoon Newsom visited him in jail and persuaded him to hand over the necessary passwords.

After initial confusion, the passwords worked and city officials once again had access to their own network. Childs is accused also of installing hardware on the network to enable remote access.

Newsom said Childs was very good at what he did but had recently "become a bit maniacal", the San Fransico Chronicle reports. When first arrested, Childs refused to hand over access passwords.

He has pleaded not guilty to four counts of computer tampering.

Many have questioned why Childs' bail is so high and how he apparently so easily gained complete control of the city's computer system.

His lawyer will go to court today in an attempt to get his bail lowered. ®

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