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A bail of $5 million is not really exaggeration, but exactly what a San Francisco admin recently got. Forty three year old Terry Childs is accused of taking illegal control of San Fransisco from its FiberWAN network. The network apparently contains city e-mails, payroll, police records and information about prisoners—it was virtually an all-access pass to City Hall. Childs was arrested because he refused to hand over passwords to the WAN system.
The FiberWAN network system is the major backbone of city government’s computing infrastructure, connecting hundreds of different departments and buildings to a central data centre, and to each other. The FiberWAN system carries more than 60 per cent of the network traffic of all city government offices.
According to Ron Vinson, deputy director of the city’s Department of Technology Information Services, Childs could have brought the whole network crashing down if he wanted to. However, this isn’t the case as of now and the city’s network continues to function normally. The reason that Childs’ bail was set five times higher than most murder defendants’ was because authorities were of the opinion that if released, he could permanently lock the system and erase records. One important fact is that Childs worked as a computer technician with the city for the five years.