Terry Childs is a 43 year old network administrator for the city of San Francisco. They pay him a $127,735-a-year salary – plus he made an additional $22,534 last year in overtime for coming in to cover emergency situations.
He was part of a team that built a fibre WAN that now stores about 60% of the city’s data, including e-mails, law enforcement records and payroll documents. Childs started taking photographs on June 20 of the new IT security head after she began an audit of who had password access to the system. She was frightened by Childs’ behavior and locked herself in an office.
He set up a password that locks everyone else out of that data and refused to reveal it even when threatened with arrest (it’s unclear whether he did that before or after the audit began). He was then arrested and is currently being held in jail as he cannot raise the $5 million bail demanded for his release (murderers are released won $1 million bail – what are they afraid of)?
Officials have said they feared that Childs may have enabled a third party to gain access to the computer system by telephone or other electronic device and order the destruction of hundreds of thousands of sensitive documents. However, they have found no evidence of such a device in searches of his home and car.
[Mayor Gavin] Newsom said Tuesday that Childs’ actions prevented administrators from making changes to the city’s computer network, so if the system were to crash, workers could not undertake repairs or upgrades.
“There’s nothing to be alarmed about, save the inability to get into the system and tweak the system,” Newsom said. “Nothing dramatic has changed in terms of our ability to govern the city.”