Published in News

US government arrests “WannaCry” saviour

by on04 August 2017

Reward from a grateful nation

US authorities have decided that that the British guy who saved the world from the “wanna cry” malware is a criminal and arrested him.

Marcus Hutchins, 23, has been charged with conspiring to advertise and sell a malicious software that targeted bank accounts.

This does seem to be a bit of a reverse in personality from the guy who saved the UK NHS from cyber criminals, the untouchables knew where he was and arrested him at a hacking conference in Las Vegas.

An indictment released by the US Department of Justice revealed that he faces six counts of helping to create, spread and maintain the banking Trojan Kronos between 2014 and 2015.

According to the indictment, the alleged offences took place between July 2014 and July 2015. Hutchins was jointly charged with another individual who was not named.

The indictment alleged that Hutchins "created the Kronos malware" and the other person later sold it for $2,000 online.

The Kronos malware was spread through emails with malicious attachments and allowed users steal money using credentials such as internet banking passwords.

The security expert, from Devon, was hailed a hero in May when he discovered a "kill switch" for the WannaCry ransomware, which spread to hundreds of thousands of computers across 150 countries.

Among the victims were dozens of NHS Trusts, which were forced to delay operations and turn people away.

Hutchins stopped the attack from his bedroom under the pseudonym MalwareTech and helped GCHQ's National Cyber Security Centre.

On his arrest, an NCSC spokesman said: "We are aware of the situation. This is a law enforcement matter and it would be inappropriate to comment further."

Janet Hutchins, his mother, told the Telegraph she was trying to find out exactly what had happened to her son but said she had not yet managed to get anything confirmed.

After his arrest, Hutchins was taken to Henderson Detention Center in Nevada before being moved to the Las Vegas FBI field office.

The WannaCry attack spread to more than 230,000 computers in scores of countries, affecting major organisations including the NHS, Renault and O2. Using a vulnerability in Microsoft's Windows operating system discovered by US security agencies, WannaCry locked victims' computers and demanded a $300 ransom.

Hutchins found a way to stop the virus from rapidly spreading. He was given a $10,000 reward for the effort, which he donated to charity.

The ethical hacker, who is largely self-taught and did not go to university, was in the US for the world's largest annual conventions for security experts, BlackHat and DefCon.

Last modified on 04 August 2017
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Read more about: