Heartbleed Arrest: Teen Accused of Exploiting Bug to Steal Pin Numbers

Thursday, 17 Apr 2014 10:09 AM

By Michael Mullins

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The first reported Heartbleed arrest was made in Canada this week when a 19-year-old was picked up for allegedly exploiting the bug, hacking into a government website, and stealing tax payers' personal information.

Stephen Arthuro Solis-Reyes was arrested in London, Ontario, Wednesday and is scheduled to appear in an Ottawa courtroom Thursday, when he will face two counts of computer-related crimes, CNN Money reported.

The arrest appears to be the first since the Heartbleed Internet bug was discovered last week, allowing hackers to steal security certificates that verify a website's authenticity and then access users' passwords and other personal information.

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The 19-year-old, a student at Western University whose father teaches computer science at the college, is accused of having used the Heartbleed bug to steal more than Social Insurance Numbers from tax payers on a government website, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported.


"He is an 'A' student and a very, very bright young man," Solis-Reyes’s lawyer, Faisal Joseph, told reporters following his arrest, the CBC noted.

The security breach which Solis-Reyes was allegedly responsible for forced Canada to delay its tax-return deadline by nearly a week, moving it from April 30 to May 5 so as to ensure that additional SIN numbers were not susceptible to being stolen.

The Canadian Mounted Police have been "working tirelessly over the last four days analyzing data, following leads, conducting interviews, obtaining and executing legal authorizations," assistant commissioner Gilles Michaud said in a statement. Mounties, as they are frequently referred to as, function as federal law enforcement officers in Canada, CNN noted.

As of Monday, Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Commissioner Andrew Treusch said in a statement that "CRA online services are safe and secure."

"The CRA responded aggressively to successfully protect our systems," Treusch added. "We have augmented our monitoring and surveillance measures, so that the security of the CRA site continues to meet the highest standards."

According to experts, the Heartbleed bug has been stealing user names, passwords, and other private information from millions of Internet users for the past two years.

The Heartbleed bug exploits a weakness in a software program called OpenSSL, which is commonly used by websites like Yahoo, Flickr, and Imgur to encrypt sensitive information, according to The Washington Post. What's most frustrating, however, is that the Heartbleed bug leaves no trace so there's virtually no way of knowing how many people's online accounts have been compromised.

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