Feeds

SF's rogue admin finally gets day in court

Just a flip-out over protocols, says defense

The Power of One Infographic

Terry Childs finally went to court yesterday, as prosecutors accused him of being a rogue employee who locked the San Francisco city government out of its own computer network.

Childs' lawyers disputed this picture, saying he was a man who'd zealously guarded the network's security, and only flipped out because city officials hadn't followed security protocols.

Childs, 45, has been in prison since last July, after he was accused of setting a master password for the City's spanking new network and promptly locking the city out.

His trial, on a felony charge of denying computer access, began yesterday, with Childs appearing in court wearing prison orange. Computer tampering charges were thrown out earlier this year.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that prosecutor Conrad del Rosario said that when layoffs were mooted at the city's IT dept, Childs told a co-worker: "They can't screw with me. I've got the keys to the kingdom."

The kingdom in question was the FiberWAN network which he had built, and which held a treasure trove of info including police records and payroll. Childs allegedly swallowed the keys, only giving up his master password after he'd been sat in jail for a week.

Childs has remained in the lockup since, after bail was set at $5m.

Childs' defence lawyer, Richard Shikman, said the network had never been at risk. Rather, Childs was a zealous professional who simply wanted to secure the network against any intrusions - albeit to a slightly paranoid degree.

He added that Childs only refused to hand over the passwords because city officials asked him to repeat them over an unsecured telephone line.

He then "flipped out" after being threatened with prosecution, drove to Nevada, and was subsequently arrested at his home.

"All they had to do was ask him (for the passwords) in a secure and professional way, consistent with policy and standards," the Chronicle reports Shikman telling the jury. "He's not guilty of any crime."

According to the San Francisco Examiner, the jury struggled to keep their eyes open as they were hit with a deluge of tech talk, with one looking to the ceiling "as if to say, 'How much longer can this go on?'".

Quite a lot longer, is the answer. The trial is expected to last two months. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.