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Convicted Romanian hacker is hot commodity in Italy

Companies, authorities fawn over informatics whiz

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Software companies and government officials in Italy are falling over themselves to recruit a 22-year-old hacker serving a three-year prison sentence for electronic fraud.

Gabriel Bogdan Ionescu, who is incarcerated at the Bassone Penitentiary in Como in northern Italy, has already been admitted to that country's prestigious Polytechnic University of Milano, thanks to help from Italian authorities. Now a security company called Way-Log has offered him a part-time job, according to news reports.

It seems that interest in the convicted hacker was stoked by his impressive performance since taking the university's admission exam in October. He finished the test in a record one hour and 20 minutes and received the highest score in the history of the faculty. More recently, Ionescu received maximum scores on two student exams.

"He's not just the best in his generation," fawned one of his professors. "He's probably the best on the planet."

Ionescu was found guilty of participating in an identity theft attack by cloning the website of the Italian Post Office and siphoning money out of compromised accounts. Based on news reports, however, it would appear he is quickly emerging as sort of folk hero.

"Important Italian publications and TV stations are contacting me to ask about Bogdan," Romania's general consul in Italy said, adding that the offer from Way-Log wasn't the first job offer the hacker has received. ®

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