The City of San Francisco got what it deserved

I was Director of Network Services at my previous job, and as Director, it was my job to make sure no one employee had all the keys to the castle – meaning not one person could hold the company, or it’s customers hostage like Terry Childs has done to the City of San Francisco.

If you’re not aware of this incident, Mr. Childs, a CCIE, locked out other City IT staff from using the Wide Area Network.  He was able to do this because only he controlled the passwords that allowed access to the City’s routers.

According to a source that has inside knowledge of the incident, “A key point made in the e-mail is that Childs’ managers and coworkers all knew that he was the only person with administrative access to the network. In fact, it was apparently known and accepted in many levels of the San Francisco IT department.”

If I was in charge of IT on this network, I’d be re-assessing my change control procedures, as well as diversify who has access to network configurations.  Not having backup copies of the router configurations is incomprehensible, especially when a program like RANCID is freely available.  And as head of IT, I’d be having conversations with Mr. Childs’ supervisors to find out who thought it was a good idea to allow one person to have so much control over a mission critical network.

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