World

Researcher who stopped WannaCry malware arrested by FBI

04 Aug 2017 | By Abheet Sethi

In May, British cyber-security researcher Marcus Hutchins rose to prominence for stalling the WannaCry cyber-attack which affected millions of computers nationwide.

He has now been arrested for allegedly being involved with the Kronos malware which is used to steal banking login and financial details from infected computers.

Hutchins was arrested while attending the Black Hat and Def Con cyber-security conferences in Las Vegas.

In context: FBI arrests WannaCry malware hero Marcus Hutchins

13 May 2017Massive ransomware attack hits computers in 99 countries, including India

In May, a massive cyber-attack struck organizations around the world which is believed to have used tools made by the US National Security Agency.

Cyber security firm Avast had recorded around 75,000 attacks in 99 countries, including India, though Russia, Ukraine and Taiwan were the major targets.

The ransomware locked down files on the infected computer and demanded users to pay $300 in Bitcoin.

04 Aug 2017Researcher who stopped WannaCry malware arrested by FBI

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US Justice Department accuses Hutchins of creating and selling Kronos

AllegationsUS Justice Department accuses Hutchins of creating and selling Kronos

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) said: "The charges against Hutchins, and for which he was arrested, relate to alleged conduct that occurred between in or around July 2014 and July 2015."

The DOJ has accused Hutchins of creating and selling Kronos on internet forums such as the AlphaBay dark web market, which was shut down recently following an international law enforcement operation.

DisbeliefFamily, colleagues react with disbelief over Hutchins's arrest

Hutchins investigates malware for a living, prompting many working in his field to express disbelief over his arrest.

Hutchins's mother Janet said it's "hugely unlikely" that her son was involved as he spent "enormous amounts of time and even his free time" stopping such attacks.

"It looks like the US justice system has made a huge mistake," his colleague Kevin Beaumont said.

Deep concernColleagues don't know where Hutchins is being held in custody

Hutchins was arrested while at an airport and his colleagues haven't been able to contact him since.

It remains unclear where he's being held in custody.

The British Consulate in Los Angeles said it's in touch with Las Vegas authorities and is providing Hutchins's family support.

Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights group, said it was "deeply concerned" over the arrest.