Threat Management, Malware

WannaCry researcher Marcus Hutchins arraigned, faces October trial

Marcus Hutchins, the UK researcher who accidentally stopped the spread of WannaCry ransomware, was arraigned in a federal Wisconsin court on Monday, for allegedly authoring a banking trojan called Kronos.

Hutchins' trial is scheduled for Oct. 23. Until then, the young defendant will be allowed to live in Los Angeles, where he can continue his work as a security researcher. However, he will not be given access to the WannaCry sinkhole he created while analyzing the wormable ransomware.

Represented by attorneys Marcia Hofmann and Brian Klein, Hutchins is not permitted to leave the country, but can travel freely within the U.S. while being monitored with GPS.

Hutchins, aka MalwareTech, was arrested in Las Vegas on Aug. 2. He is accused of creating Kronos and conspiring with others in a plot to advertise, sell and profit from the malware between July 2014 and July 2015. In July he was indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit computer fraud and abuse, three counts of distributing and advertising an electronic communication interception device, one count of endeavoring to intercept electronic communications, and one count of attempting to access a computer without authorization.

According to a Motherboard report on Monday, U.S. attorneys in an Aug. 4 Las Vegas hearing said that Hutchins admitted to FBI agents "that he was the author of the code that became the Kronos malware." Hutchins' arrest has triggered an outcry among members of the security community, many of whom see Hutchins as a white-hat hero who quashed the WannaCry attack. Additionally, some legal experts have questioned the strength of the U.S.' case.

Bradley Barth

As director of community content at CyberRisk Alliance, Bradley Barth develops content for SC Media online conferences and events, as well as video/multimedia projects. For nearly six years, he wrote and reported for SC Media as deputy editor and, before that, senior reporter. He was previously a program executive with the tech-focused PR firm Voxus. Past journalistic experience includes stints as business editor at Executive Technology, a staff writer at New York Sportscene and a freelance journalist covering travel and entertainment. In his spare time, Bradley also writes screenplays.

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