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Judge postpones sentencing of Terry Childs

Former San Francisco administrator shut down city network for 10 days

June 14, 2010 04:40 PM ET

Computerworld - A San Francisco Superior Court judge has postponed the sentencing of Terry Childs, a former city network administrator who was convicted in March tampering with a key city network, according to a report in the San Francisco Examiner.

The sentencing had been scheduled for today, but was pushed back to July 2 at the request of defense attorneys who wanted more time to prepare motions and sentencing arguments, according to the report.

Childs faces up to five years in prison for blocking access to the city's FiberWAN network by resetting administrative passwords to its switches and routers.

The 2008 incident was prompted by a disagreement with his bosses. Childs refused to disclose the passwords to city officials for several days. He was finally convinced to do so after a jailhouse visit from San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

Childs has been held on $5 million bond since his July 2008 arrest, and thus could spend little further time in prison if time-served is considered by the judge.

Childs' refusal to hand over the passwords resulted in San Francisco IT officials losing administrative control of the city's FiberWAN network for nearly 10 days. The city had to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to fully recover from the incident.

Childs, who was a network administrator in San Francisco's Department of Telecommunications and Information Services (DTIS), claimed that he blocked access to the network due to security concerns. He said he feared that the passwords would be indiscriminately shared with city management and third-party contractors.

The Childs case has attracted considerable attention and debate because it highlighted the dangers of allowing a single individual to have complete control over an enterprise network -- a practice that continues to be relatively common in many companies.

Read more about Security in Computerworld's Security Topic Center.



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