Disgruntled Computer Engineer Hijacks San Fran's New Computer Network: Jail Not an Obstacle

Terry Childs, a 43-year-old computer network administrator in Pittsburgh, is in the midst of a legendary computer hack that has denied administrator access to San Francisco's new multimillion-dollar network. Apparently, Childs was recently disciplined at his job for poor performance and his supervisors unsuccessfully attempted to fire him. So, as an "insurance policy," he hacked San Fran's new Fibre Wan (Wide Area Network), "where records such as officials' emails, city payroll files, confidential law enforcement documents and jail inmates' bookings are stored." Childs has refused to divulge the real passcodes to the system even when faced with arrest and a whopping US$5 million bond.

Despite being in jail, the authorities are worried that he may have enabled a third party to access the system and destroy sensitive information. Administrators still do not have access themselves, but they maintain that the system is up and running and that no serious data problems have come up thus far. The exact motives behind Child's crimes have not been determined, although his frustrations at work seem to be a likely culprit. Still, why someone would commit a crime and throw away a US$150,000-a-year job after "almost" being fired is a mystery to me. And I highly doubt that using the true passcodes as a bargaining chip is going to earn him any leverage. [SFGate]

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