Cyber expert who emerged as a hero for stopping Wannacry cyber attack named Marcus Hutchins, 22, has been arrested by the FBI at the Airport in Las Vegas for his alleged role in Kronos banking malware. He was attending the Def Con hacking conference in Las Vegas.
To recall, Hutchins discovered a “functional domain kill switch” for Wannacry and stopped the spread of malware. The malware spread to over 300,000 systems across 150 countries affecting organizations like NHS and O2. Wannacry or Wcry malware also known as Wannacry ransomware is a malicious software that encrypted files on a user’s computer system when opened. The criminals threatened to wipe all the encrypted data by displaying a pop-up window unless they make a payment worth $300.
Cyber researcher Hutchins managed to stop the ransomware and was rewarded $10,000 which he donated to charity. And now he has been arrested by the FBI for playing a role in spreading unrelated malware attack named Kronos banking malware that stole banking credentials such as credit card details in 2014.
According to reports, Hutchins was jointly charged with another individual whose identity is still unknown. The US Department of Justice accused Wanancry hero of helping in creating, spreading, and maintaining the Kronos banking malware between 2014 and 2015 in collaboration with the unidentified individual.
The Kronos banking Trojan surfaced via email with malicious attachments allowing cyber criminals to steal banking credentials such as internet banking passwords, credit card details etc. from banking systems in Canada, the UK, Poland, France, and other countries which they used to transfer/ steal money.
Wannacry ransomware managed to collect over $1 million from victims in Bitcoins, a digital currency and was withdrawn recently from hackers’ online wallets. There is no connection between the two malware. Cyber experts linked the ransomware attack to a hackers group called Lazarus.
UK national, Marcus Hutchins was in the United States to attend world’s largest annual convention for security experts known as Def Con hacking convention and was later arrested and taken to Henderson Detention Center in Nevada, then transferred to FBI field office.