WannaCry 'hero' headed to court on malware charges


Ransomware ‘WannaCry’ attack explained

A U.K. security researcher who achieved “hero” status after stopping a global internet hack is due in federal court on Tuesday. He’s accused of creating illegal malware.

Marcus Hutchins, who also goes by the moniker MalwareTech, was heralded in May for putting a stop to the rampant Wannacry ransomware attack that crippled businesses and government entities, including some British hospitals.

On Wednesday, he was arrested in Las Vegas and accused of developing his own piece of malicious software that invaded people’s computers and stole their personal information in 2014 and 2015.

Hutchins, who’s in his early 20s, pleaded not guilty on all counts, according to his attorney, Adrian Lobo. His bond was set at $30,000.

Lobo said she expected Hutchins to get out of jail on Monday and travel to Wisconsin, where his case will play out in a federal courtroom.

Related: WannaCry ‘hero’ arrested for creating other malware

The indictment was filed on July 12 but was made public August 3. The six charges against him stem from the creation of a piece of malware, called Kronos, which Hutchins allegedly sold online for about $2,000.

Prosecutors say the Kronos malware was designed to seize people’s personal data, and it was commonly referred to as a “banking Trojan.”

Related: The hero who accidentally stopped the cyberattack from spreading

Earlier this year, Hutchins helped stop WannaCry, a cyberattack that targeted companies and government entities in over 150 countries.

The ransomware locked users out of their computers and demanded $300 to get files back. Hundreds of thousands of computers were infected with the malware. The damage forced some hospitals in the UK to turn patients away, and crippled businesses worldwide.

Hutchins, who is also malware researcher at the Kryptos Logic security firm, created a killswitch that prevented the spread of the virus.

–CNN Tech’s Selena Larson contributed to this report.


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