Feeds

Latvia's 'Robin Hood' hacker unmasked as AI researcher

Nabbed after baring fat-cat salaries

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Latvian police have identified a computer science researcher as the folk hero who hacked government systems to expose the fat salaries received by state officials despite a draconian austerity drive in effect.

The hacker calling himself Neo and conducting his whistleblower campaign on Twitter was unmasked as Ilmars Poikans, an artificial-intelligence researcher in the University of Latvia's computer science department, according to news reports. He admitted he was the person behind embarrassing leaks that showed government officials earning as much as 4,000 lats ($7,100) a month while salaries for teachers were slashed by one-third to $600.

Police detained the 31-year-old on Wednesday and released him on Thursday. They cited his cooperation in explaining why they weren't pushing for pre-trial incarceration.

Neo, named after the protagonist in The Matrix, made headlines in February after claiming to have downloaded more than 7 million records from Latvia's national tax office and publishing much of them online. Using Twitter as a megaphone, he argued the fat-cat salaries were proof the country's rank-and-file got a raw deal in taking on austerity measures that were a condition of a $9.5bln loan from the International Monetary Fund.

He has since been regarded as a modern-day Robin Hood by many in his country. A raid conducted earlier this week on the home of a Latvian reporter who covered the leaks was widely criticized by journalists. Neo supporters staged a brief flash mob demonstration Thursday outside the government's cabinet office.

More from the AFP and Reuters is here and here. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
George Clooney, WikiLeaks' lawyer wife hand out burner phones to wedding guests
Day 4: 'News'-papers STILL rammed with Clooney nuptials
Shellshock: 'Larger scale attack' on its way, warn securo-bods
Not just web servers under threat - though TENS of THOUSANDS have been hit
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
PEAK IPV4? Global IPv6 traffic is growing, DDoS dying, says Akamai
First time the cache network has seen drop in use of 32-bit-wide IP addresses
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.