General discussion


I'm surprised this Terry Childs case hasn't seen a lot more discussion

By CG IT ·
In particular the judge, who by his decisions is rewritting the definition between a "user" and an "administrator" in regards to computer networks. This has really huge consequences for network administrators, especially in California.

Here's an article by Paul Venezia of Infoworld:,0

that puts into perspective the quandry the prosecution has with Terry Childs. The prosecution wants to convict him of something and the denial of service is about the only thing they can convict him of. If they do that, convict him of denial of service under a California statute, then by refusing to give out passwords to network infrastructure to basically anyone, a network administrator could be found guilty of criminal conduct. So this is going to be a really interesting case for computer networks and the administrators that manage them.

What the prosecution ought to do is drop the charges, he's been in jail for 16 months,

and the City should come up with policies regarding critical network infrastructure access.... if they don't and do convict Terry Childs on the denial of service, we are all in trouble.

This conversation is currently closed to new comments.

Thread display: Collapse - | Expand +

All Comments

Collapse -

Thanks for that, I hadn't caught the latest.

by seanferd In reply to I'm surprised this Terry ...

Venezia's coverage of the Childs incident has been great from the beginning.

The really stupid thing is, I can't see it as denial of service at all. The network Childs was building was not even in production. He acted correctly in not handing over critical passwords to <i>unauthorized persons</i>.

They probably would have screwed him if he had handed over the info, and the new manager-type had caused a failure by messing with or putting into production a network which was not ready.

Collapse -

Sounds good to me.

by CharlieSpencer In reply to I'm surprised this Terry ...

" refusing to give out passwords to network infrastructure to basically anyone, a network administrator could be found guilty of criminal conduct."

I already regard it as professional incompetence, if not misconduct. I can't imagine any circumstances under which only a single person knows a network password, unless it's a home, personal, or other single user network. What happens when that person gets run over by a truck?

Collapse -

RE: I can't imagine any circumstances under which only a single person

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Sounds good to me.

Really Pally?

I can think of several reasons why this might happen, and while I agree that it's anything but good enough in every instance where it has happened to me it wasn't my doing and I did everything possible to alter the situation. However most people find it unacceptable to walk out on a job because they need the income to eat.

I no longer do any Government work for this very reason, I was far too often placed in the position where I was the only one with the Keys to the Kingdom and the people in charge wanted things that way. No matter what I tried to change I was fought at every attempt to change this situation.

I did of course refuse to hands out the Passwords to anyone who asked but I always made sure that I had informed those that should know what these Passwords where even if they did throw the Messages straight into the rubbish bin. I also had the Passwords locked up in a safe so that if anything happened to me they could get into the system and do whatever was required.

In the last case I had to buy the safe myself and place it in the Work Environment as the Government Operatives in charge didn't want to waste the money required to do something so pointless like that.


Collapse -

More than an acceptable alternative

by CharlieSpencer In reply to RE: [i]I can't imagine an ...

"I also had the Passwords locked up in a safe so that if anything happened to me they could get into the system and do whatever was required."

Safes are a great idea. As you said, the point it that someone could have opened that safe and had the passwords they needed. It's very different from the Childs situation.

Collapse -

But knowing my luck

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to More than an acceptable a ...

They would have forgot where they hold the key for the Safe and the Combination would never have been committed to memory.

Some of the people that I used to work with would have insisted that the Combination along with the Emergency Key be kept safe inside the safe.

Kind of reminds me of the ISP who you ring because you are unable to recieve any E-Mail so they offer to e-mail you the fix to the problem.

But you are right the Childs Case is different he only had control of th Fiber Optic backbone and didn't actually hold any Data other than the Passwords for the Cisco Routers. So if a Boeing fell out of the sky onto him no one would have been put out except whoever drew the short straw to replace him. Even then knowing Bureaucrats they would have put off employing a replacement till the Backbone fell over and then demand that whoever was brought in to fix it get it running immediately and preferably 20 minutes before getting called.

Just can not beat Bureaucrats as the realities don't apply to them they just want it to work without being involved in doing the Mundane Unimportant Things like knowing what it is that they are supposed to be doing. Provided that they can carry a bit of Blank Paper round with them they are busy till the paper rots in their hands and falls to bits.

The last Recombination that I made tot he Federal Governments Committee about 10 or so years ago was rejected and they saved themselves 1 Million $. Now that have to impelment what I told them that they would need all those years ago and it's going to cost them 40 Billion$. But they did save a Million $ back then.

These people are masters of spending a Trillion $ so that they can save the Budget 1 cent. Every Government Department that I have ever been involved in specialize in Wasting Resources. It appears to be all that they can actually do.


Collapse -

Just Tattoo them to the other persons ***

by The 'G-Man.' In reply to More than an acceptable a ...

and let the fun begin.

Hey, whats the password for the routers again.....?

Collapse -

And the penalty for

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Just Tattoo them to the o ...

Drugging, Depriving a Co workers Liberty and Tattooing their A$$ is?


Nice idea though but I'm sure that with the Government work that I used to do there would have been a Sexual Harassment Complaint lodged as well as whatever else they could think of.


Collapse -


by CharlieSpencer In reply to And the penalty for

Here it's considered foreplay.

Collapse -


by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Penalty?

I thought that she had to be consenting to make that acceptable.

In every case where I have run into things like this they are Career Bureaucrats who do as they are told by their superiors because they got there by knowing what needed doing so they are always right. And they are always correct if they have highly skilled Technicians to clean up their messes.

I remember one who didn't want a Key to the Office because she only worked 9-5. After 18 months she had to visit the office one Sunday and couldn't get in the front door. So I had to drive in to let her in wait around till she had finished and set the Alarms and lock up after she left.

She was supposed to be the Computer Manager and all she knew about computers was that they got plugged into a Wall Socket and performed Magic. That was her definition of the LAN that she supposedly ran. She had enough problems remembering her Password and refused to have it changed at the stated 7 day Policy. She was so Security Conscious that she used her own name as a Password and even then messed up the Case as she entered it.

She was responsible for disposing of several Desktops and refused to replace the HDD as these cost money. At the Government prices they where then about $20.00 each for he HDD and she was trying to get more money for second hand used systems than they cost new. Well she got her way and ran FDisk on all of the drives before they when to Auction.

for the next 18 months I was tied up in the Legal System Providing Expert Testimony when they chased down and charged the kid who was given two of these computers and he recovered the Data on the HDD's. They came from the Health Department so they had Patient Records of them.

After that Screw Up she was Promoted and within 6 months of the original Auction has sold off 20 systems from a Insecure Position so the HDD where not even looked at. One had the E-Mail Address of the State Primer State Governor and he started getting E-Mails with requests for Government Grants so there needed to be an Investigation as to how that happened. During that Investigation she got another Promotion.

Then a year or two latter she was responsible for a HP Laser Printer bouncing down the stairs running over two members of the public and destroying her car when it tried to gain entry to her car through the closed drivers door.

Naturally the Budget didn't stretch to buying a new printer so she organized to have this unit repaired at only 300% the cost of a new printer and then it required a new Staff Position to open and close the Front Door when it fell over. That mess resulted in yet another promotion to a position where she could do even more damage. :^0

Then there was the newly installed 2,500 XP workstation LAN without a single server because someone is supposed to have said XP Doesn't require a Server. The old system was torn out and replaced with the mess over one weekend and she then insisted that the Departments IT Staff Make it Work in that configuration which of course it couldn't. For 6 months there was no work finished in that building with 2,500 XP Workstations. It then tool another 3 months to fix the mess up so for 9 months that department was shot to pieces with no real productivity. She got another promotion for that as well. :_|


Collapse -

ROFL! That was the laser printer chick?!

by seanferd In reply to Penalty?

Too much! She sounds like a walking disaster.

Related Discussions

Related Forums