WannaCry Hero Arrested in US After Hacking Conference
August 03, 2017
U.S. security agents have arrested the British hacker known for
discovering a "kill switch" that nullified a widespread
ransomware attack earlier this year.
Marcus Hutchins, a 23-year-old malware researcher who uses the
name Malware Tech, was detained by the FBI on Wednesday at the
Las Vegas airport, where he was preparing to return to Britain
after attending two hacking conferences in the city.
became an overnight hero in May after disabling the WannaCry
worm, which infiltrated software in hundreds of thousands of
computers in hospitals, schools, factories and shops in more
than 150 countries. Parts of Britain's National Health Service
were infected, as well as the FedEx delivery company, German
rail Deutsche Bahn and Spain's Telefonica.
Court documents unsealed on Thursday indicated Hutchins was
arrested on hacking charges unrelated to the ransomware attack
known as WannaCry.
Reuters news agency reports Hutchins is accused of advertising,
distributing and profiting from malware code known as Kronos
that stole online banking credentials and credit card data
between July 2014 and July 2015.
Hutchins has not made a public statement, but his mother told
London's Telegraph newspaper that she expected to be "rather
busy tonight," trying to find out where her son is being held.
The attack first became evident May 12, 2017, and continued over
the weekend. By May 15, Hutchins had discovered a so-called
"kill switch" that disabled the worm.
The malware operators demanded the owners of the computers pay a
fee of $300 to $600 to regain control of their computers.