London, Ont., man, 19, charged in Canada Revenue Agency Heartbleed hack
Photo of Stephen Solis-Reyes copied from Mother Teresa Secondary School 2012 yearbook.
LONDON, Ont. -- A Western University student starts his exams Thursday as a "scared 19-year-old," his lawyer says, charged with using the Heartbleed bug to swipe taxpayer data.
Stephen Arthuro Solis-Reyes faces a charge of unauthorized use of a computer and one count of mischief, a day after the computer science student -- whose smarts grabbed him headlines as a kid -- was arrested. His home was searched and his computers seized, the Mounties said Wednesday.
The arrest came in the wake of the Canada Revenue Agency's (CRA) revelation about 900 social insurance numbers were stolen from its files by "someone exploiting" its vulnerability to the Heartbleed bug, a flaw that essentially leaks encrypted data.
That breach caused the federal taxman to shut down its website for four days last week, inconveniencing -- and worrying -- millions who file electronic tax returns.
An RCMP spokesperson said there is no other suspect.
"We would absolutely want to share this with Canadians. They have a right to know," said RCMP Cpl. Lucy Shorey said.
But London lawyer Faisal Joseph said the "very gifted" student endured threats from the Mounties, a six-hour stay in a police station with no access to counsel and now has his name splashed across the country.
"I just think it is totally inappropriate to try to destroy a kid's life before he even has an opportunity to speak to a lawyer and get legal advice," Joseph said. "And now they're going to make a national spectacle out of him."
Joseph vowed to take legal action.
"They know he is starting to write exams on Thursday. They know this is a national story. They threatened to go public with this to humiliate and embarrass him."
The RCMP could not immediately be reached for comment on Faisal's accusations.
A whiz kid who went to Canada's national spelling bee in 2006, and who with a team from Mother Teresa secondary school won the London-area Catholic school board computer programming competition two years ago, Solis-Reyes is the son of Western computer science professor Roberto Solis-Oba.
"I don't have anything to say to you," Solis-Oba told QMI Agency.
A former schoolmate at Mother Teresa, from which Solis-Reyes graduated in 2012, expressed surprise at the teenager's arrest.
"He was very smart, but he was kind of a loner," the ex-schoolmate said.
The RCMP searched the family home and "scared the hell out of his parents and his sibling," Joseph said.
"They also said if he did not go in voluntarily, they were prepared to arrest him in the middle of his exams and make a public spectacle of him," Joseph said.
Solis-Reyes voluntarily went to the London police station, he said.
Joseph said he got a call from Solis-Reyes and arrived at the station about 4:45 p.m. Tuesday.
"I was denied access to my client for almost six hours," he said.
Joseph said he refused to leave until he saw the teen and asked to see him every half-hour.
"The lead RCMP investigating officer refused to speak with counsel and would not advise me for over six hours what they were going to do with my client who was in interrogation as a scared 19-year-old boy.
"In 30 years of practising law, I have never experienced anything of this nature," Joseph said.
He said Solis-Reyes was released about 10:45 p.m., too shaken and emotional to be interviewed. He's to appear in an Ottawa court July 17.
-- with files by Jane Sims and Chip Martin and Brian Wishart
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