Thursday, September 11, 2008

UC Berkeley Professor Doug Tygar called in as expert witness for the defense

Slashdot recounts a story published in NETWORKWORLD about the latest twist in the bizarre story of the rogue network administrator that hijacked the city's network in the last two months. With costs estimated at $1 million, city officials say they are trying to locate a mysterious networking device hidden somewhere in the network.

This device, which is referred to as a "terminal server" in court documents actually appears to be a router that was installed to provide remote access to the city's Fiber WAN network, which connects municipal computer and telecommunication systems throughout the city. The router was discovered on Aug. 28. When investigators tried to log in to the device, they were greeted with what appears to be a router login prompt and warning message saying "This system is the personal property of Terry S. Childs." Childs, a network administrator with DTIS was arrested June 12 on charges of network tampering after he refused to provide his superiors with administrative access to the city of San Francisco's network, which he'd managed for the past five years.

In a report filed before the city disclosed the hidden router, a court-appointed expert witness for the defense wrote that DTIS could easily prevent Childs from accessing the networks.
"I have seen no evidence that Mr. Childs is a 'computer hacker,' and by taking a number of simple steps, DTIS could block access by Mr. Childs to San Francisco networks," wrote Doug Tygar, a University of California, Berkeley computer science professor.

Childs next appearance is set for September 24th, when he'll face up to seven years in prison if convicted.

For complete story, see NETWORKWORLD .