Court Delays Hearing for Accused S.F. WAN Hijacker

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2009-02-09 Print this article Print

The fight by Terry Childs to have a court dismiss three of the four felony charges he is facing for allegedly hijacking the city's fiber optic wide-area network last year has been rescheduled for Feb. 13.

Terry Childs, the network architect and administrator who is accused of holding the city of San Francisco's WLAN hostage for nine days last July in a professional disagreement with his manager, is still watching the wheels of justice move ever so slowly.

The fight by Childs to have a court dismiss three of the four felony charges he is facing for allegedly hijacking the city's fiber optic wide-area network last year has been prolonged.

Childs appeared in court for a motion hearing Feb. 9, but the San Francisco Superior Court has re-scheduled the hearing for Feb. 13, said Connie Chan, deputy director at the San Francisco District Attorney's office.

Childs, 43, was arrested on July 13, 2008 on four felony charges of tampering with the city's FiberWAN network. He changed several high-security passwords and refused to hand them over to department managers after claiming that his managers couldn't be trusted to run the system themselves. He also claimed they had been negligent about allowing viruses and malware into the system.

The nine-day standoff was broken July 23 after Childs divulged the network login codes to Mayor Gavin Newsom during a jailhouse meeting. Despite a hearing with a judge in an effort to lower his bond, Childs remains in jail in lieu of $5 million bail.

Childs, who resides in Pittsburg, Calif., is the chief designer of the system's FiberWAN, which contains about 60 percent of the city's sensitive human resources, payroll and other personal data.

Data from San Francisco's servers always was able to be accessed; entry into the network switches and routers -- which control the flow and direction of data input/output -- is what was locked down by Childs.

The system ran on virtual autopilot for about 10 days while Department of Technology head Ron Vinson and others tried to regain access during the standoff.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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