The District Attorney Office in Como, Italy, is interested in hiring a 22-year old Romanian hacker who is serving a 3-year in prison sentence for electronic fraud, to help it catch online criminals. The hacker has deeply impressed the Italian media and the professors at the Polytechnic University of Milano (Politecnico di Milano) with his intellect.
Gabriel Bogdan Ionescu, 22, is currently incarcerated at the Bassone Penitentiary in Como, a city in northern Italy. In December 2007, he was arrested in his parents' house in Craiova, Romania, by the Romanian D.I.I.C.O.T. (the Direction for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism). He was subsequently extradited to Italy to face charges of computer electronic fraud, where he was sentenced to three years behind bars.
The young hacker was found guilty for helping instrument an identity theft attack that involved cloning the website of the Italian Post Office and siphoning money from compromised accounts. However, Bogdan Ionescu is no average hacker. In 2007, the Romanian won the gold medal at the Balkan Olympiad in Informatics (BOI) and was accepted without an exam at the Faculty of Automatic Control and Computers of the Polytechnic University of Bucharest.
Faced with the prospect of spending the next three years of his life behind bars in Italy, the hacker did not give up his dream of following the courses of a specialized university. Therefore, in October 2008, the Italian authorities allowed him to take the admission exam at the Faculty of Informatics Engineering from the Polytechnic University of Milano, knowing little of the surprise that awaited them. The young cyber-criminal finished the test in record time, one hour and 20 minutes, and obtained the highest score in the history of the Faculty, prompting the Italian media to praise him and call him "the little informatics genius."
This Monday, the hacker sustained his first two exams as a student of the Faculty, obtaining the maximum score at both of them. "He's not just the best in his generation. He's probably the best on the planet," Pierluigi della Vigna, one of his professors, commented in the local media. After finishing the "informatics elements" and "mathematical analysis" tests in significantly less time than normally required, the hacker said that he was prepared to take any exam at any time.
According to Corriere della Sera, one of the most important Italian publications, the Romanian hacker has been given the opportunity to jump barricades and put his exceptional talents to good use. Way-Log, a company that specializes in monitoring and intercepting online criminal activity, has extended a part-time job offer to the hacker. The company has been contracted by the Italian government to assist authorities with investigating and preventing online crimes, which are increasingly common in Italy.
In order for this to be possible, the Como Tribunal has to allow for him to be moved out of the penitentiary and into house arrest. A hearing in this respect is scheduled for May 5th. "We're very confident. The Somaschi monks (The Somaschi Fathers – a charitable religious congregation) expressed their willingness to take him in and give him a place to stay," Pierpaolo Livio, Bogdan's lawyer, explained.
Cornel Dinu, Romania's general consul in Italy, commented for Jurnalul National, a Romanian newspaper, that "Important Italian publications and TV stations are contacting me to ask about Bogdan. The fact that the media here are presenting the exceptional intellectual qualities of this boy and supports our efforts to obtain a reprieve or at least move him to house arrest, can only be beneficial for his future." He also pointed out that this was not the first job offer an important company had extended to Bogdan Ionescu.