But if "anyone can gain access" to the network, and none of these actions could be logged or audited, then it's entirely possible that "anyone" -- not necessarily Childs -- could have accessed the network at any time and made any number of changes to network devices, before Childs' arrest or while he was in jail.
Where Terry Childs seems to have gone off course
As questionable as many of the city's claims are, many of Terry Childs' actions also raise legitimate red flags.
For example, the city's court filings claim that police found an ID badge and access card of one of Childs' colleagues in his house, and that Childs had lists of usernames and passwords of other city employees, including his direct supervisor, Herb Tong. Childs' having these materials may be difficult to justify, if true. Some of the city's statements on Childs' network configurations indicate that his approach to network security bordered on raw paranoia.
From all accounts, Childs believed San Francisco's FiberWAN network was his baby, and that refusing to allow others to access the inner sanctum was in the best interests of the city, the citizens, and perhaps most important, himself. That belief may have led him astray.
No clear winner, but a clear loser: San Francisco
Despite all the uncertainties and questionable claims one thing has become apparent: There was obviously a tremendous lack of oversight in San Francisco's IT department. There was also a lack of support for DTIS employees. With staffing reductions, it seems that they were operating with less staff than they needed, and less skilled staff as well. This is the likely cause of Childs' position as the sole administrator to the FiberWAN network.
Only Childs knows for sure, but those who claim to know him indicate that Childs put up with political games, staff reductions, incompetent coworkers, and a hostile work environment for as long as he could, and then tried to get away from it as best he could. He very well may have been insubordinate in doing so, but based on the public evidence so far, it is hard to believe that he actually intended to orchestrate the destruction of the city network. And a CCIE-level network administrator has far more insidious ways to cause a network to fail than simply erasing the startup configurations.
A former supervisor and the current systems manager for San Francisco's human resources department provided affidavits in Childs' bail hearing, supporting Childs. "All he wanted to do is protect the system," wrote former supervisor Dana Hom. "I do not believe he would do anything to compromise the safety and performance of the network to which he has dedicated his life," wrote HR systems manager Peter Stokes.
What's happened since indicates that Childs' apparent concerns about the city damaging the network if it had access may not have been so far off base.
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