British cyber security researcher who has been hailed for stopping the WannaCry attack has been arrested in the United States over his alleged involvement in creating a malware targeting bank accounts. The 22-year-old Marcus Hutchins, who stopped the WannaCry attack that crippled the world back in May, by finding a kill switch, was detained by the FBI in Los Angeles on Wednesday, where he was attending the Black Hat and Defcon security conferences.
Hutchins has been charged with creating and distributing the Kronos banking Trojan, a malware program that hijacked the usernames and passwords from the infected devices to help its makers steal money from bank accounts, between 2014 and 2015.
To recall, ransomware attack had infected 3,00,000 computers in 150 nations. The virus restricted users from users from using their devices till a ransom were paid to its creator. Russian Interior Ministry, hospitals in the United Kingdom, a Nissan production plant in England, Spanish telecom giant Telefonica and Portuguese telecom operator Portugal Telecom were among the worst affected firms.
Hutchins’ arrest comes as a shock to the cyber security community which hailed him as an ‘accidental hero’ following his role in neutralising the WannaCry attack. He found a clever hack to stop the virus by registering a domain name that acted as a kill switch for the malware.
According to an indictment released by the US Department of Justice, Hutchins has been accused of having helped to create, spread and maintain Kronos trojan.
Meanwhile, a San Franciso-based digital rights group– The Electronic Frontier Foundation said that it was concerned about Hutchins’ arrest and that it was trying to reach out to him.
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