These tales offer significant insight into what may have occurred between Childs and the FiberWAN network hostage situation. Rather than a case of a rogue administrator attempting to cause damage to the network by locking out other administrators, this may be a case of an overprotective admin who believed he was protecting the network – and by extension, the city – from other administrators whom he considered inferior, and perhaps even dangerous. One important fact seems to be in Childs' favor, if reports that the network has continued to run smoothly since his arrest are true. My source corroborates this.
“As for the impact of [Childs'] actions to the rest of the City, the mayor's statement basically has it right. The network is completely up and running. No servers that I'm aware of are affected. No one has had any downtime (yet). But until they get back into those routers, they can't make any changes. I don't know yet if Terry's lockout applies only to the FiberWAN or also to the other routers, firewalls, switches, etc. in the City network.”
Laying the blame
My source doesn’t appear to harbor any ill will toward Childs for this situation, and even believes that the city may be worse off with Childs out of the picture and that some of the blame should be shouldered by Childs' superiors.
“It's a real shame. The city is losing a good network engineer -- probably the best, technically, that they've ever had. Ultimately he has no one to blame but himself, but it's too bad his superiors weren't better about establishing and enforcing policies about authentication, backups, auditing, cross-training, and separation/rotation of duties.
"You'll note the papers have referred to the new information security manager. It's only been a month or so since the City even had an information security policy, and even that is a bare, unmodified template from CCISDA that's awaiting discussion and alteration by a committee that hasn't been formed yet. (When I asked Terry if we could get a copy of the City's network security policy some months ago, he told me, 'I've been trying to get them to approve one for years. I've written ones up and submitted them, but they don't want to do it, because they don't want to be held to it.')”
He also points out that by forcing the issue, the city may have significantly reduced its ability to use and control its own network.
“The one impact they haven't mentioned is that Terry was one of only two engineers assigned to special projects and to do major routing changes and perimeter firewall configuration. The service level, even after they regain control of the network, is going to be way down, until they can fill his mighty big shoes.”
My source had many good things to say about Childs, but did not shy from negative comments, noting that Childs has a bad temper and can be very defensive.
“As for Terry's character, I can imagine this happening. He takes great personal and professional pride in his work -- to a fault. He can be very defensive if someone suggests there's something wrong with the way his network is set up, and that's been a problem for us (as his customer) a couple of times. Terry has a bad temper.
"He's the sort of person who, while his bile is up, won't budge an inch – and then will call you a couple of hours later and acknowledge that maybe your suggestion was right, after all, or maybe here's an even better way to handle things.”