Briton who stopped WannaCry attack detained in US

Eloi Lecerf
Agosto 5, 2017

Such malware infects web browsers, then captures usernames and passwords, enabling cybertheft.

Indeed, Hutchins was hailed a hero by cyber-security experts around the world less than three months ago after he single-handedly ended the global spread of damaging ransomware known as WannaCry. News of his arrest shocked the cybersecurity community.

According to U.S. Justice Department, Hutchins was detained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Las Vegas on Wednesday, who had gained attention in May 2017 for detecting a "kill switch" that effectively disabled the WannaCry worm.

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. "Defendant Marcus Hutchins created the Kronos malware", the indictment, filed on behalf of the eastern district court of Wisconsin, alleges.

At the same time, he warned that law enforcement shouldn't overstep their bounds and pursue those doing legitimate security research. The indictment also accuses Hutchins of creating the malware. The FBI's Milwaukee field office, which led the 2-year investigation, didn't return requests for comment.

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"The only money mentioned in this indictment is ... for the sale of the software", he said. "If the legal theory behind this indictment is correct, well then half of the U.S. software industry is potentially a bunch of felons". The two men have worked together on various projects, including training material for higher education for which the Briton declined payment.

A federal magistrate judge said Thursday that Marcus Hutchins will stay in custody pending a hearing Friday afternoon to determine if he will hire his own lawyer or have one appointed to his case.

Eva Galperin, the director of cybersecurity at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said on Twitter the arrest of Hutchins "concerns us a lot".

Hutchins' mother told the Press Association that she was "frantically calling America" in a bid to contact her son, adding that it was extremely unlikely her son had broken the law because he put so much work into preventing computer-related crime. There were appearances and a $10,000 prize for cracking WannaCry. His friends and associates are concerned as they do not know where he was taken to.

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