The Western student who pleaded guilty earlier this year to mischief in connection to a major data breach at the Canada Revenue Agency in 2014 has been granted permission by a judge to leave the country for a week in Sept. to attend a programming competition in the United States.
Stephen Solis-Reyes, 21, pleaded guilty in May to a charge of mischief for his role in the Apr. 2014 CRA breach, which saw around 900 social insurance numbers stolen from agency computers through the Heartbleed vulnerability.
In addition, Solis-Reyes pleaded guilty to a second mischief charge connected to a separate breach involving the now-defunct JerseyMail, and to a charge of unauthorized use of a computer, and a charge of obstructing a police officer.
Thirteen other charges laid by the RCMP months after the CRA incident were later dropped. Some of the charges Solis-Reyes had faced included allegations he attacked computer networks at Western University and the London District Catholic School Board.
Solis-Reyes said he hacked into the CRA to demonstrate how vulnerable the agency’s computers were to the Heartbleed bug.
The CRA temporarily shut down some access to its website soon after the incident in response to security concerns about the Heartbleed bug. The website wasn’t available to tax filers for several days.
In a letter to the court in May, Solis-Reyes expressed regret and remorse for his actions, and apologized for any harm he may have caused.
“I want to say that I never had any malicious intent and I never intended to cause harm or damage to anyone in any way,” said the letter, according to a London Free Press report.
The 21-year-old was given an 18-month conditional sentence, with four months to be served under house arrest. As a result of the sentence, Solis-Reyes has been barred from leaving Ontario.
On Wednesday, Solis-Reyes, who holds dual Canadian and U.S. citizenship, appeared before the Superior Court of Justice to request a vary to his sentence so he could travel out of Ont. in Sept. and attend the world championship of IBM’s Master the Mainframe Contest in San Francisco.
According to a report in the London Free Press, Justice Duncan Grace granted Solis-Reyes’s request. Grace was reportedly swayed by Solis-Reyes’s letter to the court and by positive comments made about the 21-year-old by the sentencing judge.
Solis-Reyes is one of 10 finalists taking part in the world championship. He is the only finalist from North America.