FBI Arrests 23-Year-Old Who Stopped Global Cyberattack

FBI Arrests 23-Year-Old Who Stopped Global Cyberattack


The British security researcher called an “accidental hero” for helping stop the WannaCry global cyberattack has been arrested after traveling to the US for a cybersecurity conference. According to an indictment released by the Department of Justice, 23-year-old Marcus Hutchins is accused of creating and spreading Kronos malware in 2014 and 2015, the Telegraph reports. Officials say Kronos, a banking Trojan spread through malicious email attachments, is unrelated to the WannaCry malware that Hutchins discovered the “kill switch” for in May. Hutchins, who was in the US for the Black Hat and Def Con security conventions, was arrested at a Las Vegas airport Wednesday.

Hutchins’ job involves investigating malware like Kronos, and some of his fellow security researchers believe US authorities have made a big mistake, the BBC reports. “This could very easily be the FBI mistaking legitimate research activity with being in control of Kronos infrastructure,” a Proofpoint security researcher tells the Guardian. “Lots of researchers like to log in to crimeware tools and interfaces and play around.” He adds that for people investigating banking malware, “sometimes you have to at least pretend to be selling something interesting to get people to trust you.”

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