Canadian charged in 'Heartbleed' attack on tax agency

OTTAWA Thu Apr 17, 2014 1:35am IST

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.

Credit: Reuters/Mark Blinch

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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian police have arrested a 19-year-old man and charged him in connection with exploiting the "Heartbleed" bug to steal taxpayer data from a government website, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said on Wednesday.

In what appeared to be the first report of an attack using a flaw in software known as OpenSSL, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) said this week that about 900 social insurance numbers and possibly other data had been compromised as a result of an attack on its site.

The suspect, Stephen Solis-Reyes, was arrested at his home in London, Ontario on Wednesday and faces criminal charges of unauthorized use of computer and mischief in relation to data.

"It is believed that Solis-Reyes was able to extract private information held by CRA by exploiting the vulnerability known as the Heartbleed bug," the RCMP said in a statement.

Police seized Solis-Reyes computer equipment and scheduled his court appearance for July 17, 2014.

Internet companies, technology providers, businesses and government agencies have been scrambling to figure out whether their systems are vulnerable to attack since the flaw was disclosed a week ago.

Security experts have warned that more attacks will follow.

(Reporting by Louise Egan; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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