Saturday, July 19, 2008
Among the many underrated concerns as America and the world move into a truly computer dominated age, is the rogue sysop. One of America's most technologically sophisticated cities (allegedly) just got itself into deep murky water with a rogue systems operator.
The story is thus: the city of San Francisco has been unable to regain control of its computer network since last week. A 43 year convicted felon who is also a Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (the highest level of certification offered by Cisco,) who the city wisely hired to manage its network faced firing for poor performance. But before the city canned him, this guy installed a single password to the whole city's computer network which has been denying access to other systems administrators. There are fears he may have installed the means to electronically destroy sensitive documents. He has been jailed on four counts of computer tampering. His lawyer says he is willing to cooperate. Non network administrators are able to access normal city records.
The level at which the breach took place is one of the most vulnerable in this country and worldwide, the routers/WAN.
The Clarion's take, if this can happen in San Francisco, where else could it happen? And what might the consequences be?