The city also highlighted the fact that Childs had a copy of the datacenter shutdown memo in his workspace, and presented this as evidence that he had planned to cause the network to fail. Given Childs' 24/7 support responsibilities, it’s far more likely that he had the memo because it was sent to him because he had those duties.
Common practices portrayed as nefarious. The documents filed by the city in opposition to Childs' bail reduction contained many vague references and claims of nefarious actions. But to those with experience in network administration, many of these activities seem like common practice.
For example, the documents portrayed the fact that Childs had configured some number of routers to disable password recovery as a subversive action, when it's common to use that function to secure routers and switches that cannot be physically secured.
They also stated that Childs had several modems in his workspace, hooked up to computers, and that Childs used these modems to access the network remotely without logging or auditing. It seems much more likely, however, that they were used as dialup/dial-back access for Childs to perform emergency work during off-hours.
The documents claimed that he had installed sniffers on the network, but of course there are sniffers on most large networks, installed by their administrators. For years, Cisco has manufactured sniffers specifically designed to be placed within network cores, and the use of such devices is not just common, they’re almost mandatory as a best practice.
One statement made in the original affidavit for Childs' arrest warrant claimed that Childs' pager went off after he had surrendered it to DTIS officials, and that the page was "sent from one of the routers on the network." This was portrayed as proof that Childs had remote access to the network and was thus a danger. This was a key fact in the arrest warrant, even though it's far more likely that this page was from the network monitoring application What's Up Gold, which Childs stated that he used to keep tabs on the network. In fact, Childs states that at least one of the modems found in his workspace existed for just that purpose. This is an extremely common form of network monitoring, and not a subversive action.
Throughout the court documents, the city offers very little of technical substance relative to Childs' actions. To those unfamiliar with the intricacies of network architecture and administration, many of their claims would seem to be clear evidence of wrongdoing, but in reality, are common practice in networks the world over.
A claim that could backfire. In another twist to this case, the city may have undermined its case against Childs. In the court document opposing Childs' bail motion, the city claims that Childs had "installed three modems that were connected to the FiberWAN networks, two in the locked room he maintained and a third in a locked cabinet near his cubicle. Cisco engineers have indicated that the types of modems the Defendant installed bypass logging, auditing, and security measures of a secured network. Further, anyone can gain access to the network by dialing into these unsecured modems, risking the security of the network." The city also claimed that Childs could have access to more than 1,100 other devices, including routers, switches, and modems, and possibly wireless access points.