News Canada

Alleged Heartbleed hacker in court by proxy 0

Tony Spears, Multimedia Journalist
Ottawa Sun

By Tony Spears, Ottawa Sun

The Canada Revenue Agency website is seen on a computer screen displaying information about an internet security vulnerability called the "Heartbleed Bug" in Toronto, April 9, 2014. (REUTERS/Mark Blinch)

The Canada Revenue Agency website is seen on a computer screen displaying information about an internet security vulnerability called the "Heartbleed Bug" in Toronto, April 9, 2014. (REUTERS/Mark Blinch)

A young man charged with exploiting the infamous Heartbleed computer vulnerability to siphon encrypted data from the Canada Revenue Agency website made his first appearance in court Thursday -- sort of.

Stephen Solis-Reyes, a 19-year-old computer science student at the University of Western Ontario, in London, did not appear in person. Instead, an articling student addressed the court on behalf of Ottawa criminal law firm Bayne Sellar Boxall, which in turn was standing in for London lawyer Faisal Joseph, who is representing Solis-Reyes.

A formal designation was filed allowing Solis-Reyes to continue to have lawyers appear in court on his behalf for subsequent court dates.

Solis-Reyes was arrested by RCMP in April and charged with unauthorized use of a computer and mischief to data.

The arrest came after the federal tax agency reported 900 social insurance numbers had been filched from its files by someone exploiting the Heartbleed bug, a programming flaw that can leak encrypted data.

At the time, Joseph told reporters that his "gifted" client had been threatened by Mounties and detained without access to counsel right before he was to write his university exams.

Crown prosecutor Walter de Venz agreed to mail the first part of what's called disclosure -- evidence the police have gathered that could be used against the teen computer whiz in court -- to Joseph's London office.

Justice of the Peace Julie Lauzon expressed concern about the potential delays mailing out disclosure in dribs and drabs would cause, and suggested lawyers could fax the material to speed things up.

Solis-Reyes' next court date is Aug. 14.

tony.spears@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @ottawasuntonys


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