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Hacker Who Stopped WannaCry Ransomware Attacks Arrested by FBI in Las Vegas

British man taken into custody by federal agents in the US

By: Jay Greenberg  |@NeonNettle
 on 3rd August 2017 @ 6.20pm

A British cyber expert, who halted a global computer virus attack that crippled computing systems worldwide, has been arrested by federal agents in the United States, it has been reported.

Marcus Hutchins, 22, from Devon, discovered the "kill switch" for the WannaCry ransomware, which infected tens of the thousands of computers in 170 countries.

The 23-year-old was arrested in Las Vegas as part of an FBI investigation whilst he attending a hacking conference. 

UK law enforcement and security agencies confirmed a British citizen had been arrested.

Express reports: The young cyber expert thrust into the limelight back in May after he managed to find a way to stop the WannaCry ransomware, working from his bedroom in his parents home under the pseudonym MalwareTech.

The ransomware spread to more than 300,000 computers across 150 countries in a global hack.

Among the victims were dozens of NHS Trusts, leaving hundreds of operations forced to be canceled and hordes of people being turned away from A&E departments.

It is not clear why Hutchins has been arrested or if he will face charges in the US. 

His mother Janet told the Telegraph she was trying to find out exactly what had happened to her son but had not yet managed to get anything confirmed.  

She said: "I think I'm going to be rather busy tonight."

It is believed Mr. Hutchins was initially being held at the Henderson Detention Center in Nevada in the US.

But a few hours later he was moved to another facility, according to a close personal friend.

Shortly before his arrest, the young researcher was in Las Vegas during hacking conferences Black Hat and Def Con.

A spokesperson for the UK’s National Crime Agency said: “We are aware a UK national has been arrested but it’s a matter for the authorities in the US."

The young man, who lives with his parents, searched for a weakness in the hack software and discovered a website address that nobody owned so purchased it, but did not expect to stop the ransomware spreading. 

He said: “I’ve been stuck at the computer working for the past three days trying to sort all this out.”

Talking about his fears of a retaliation attack, Mr. Hutchins said: “In future, someone might want to retaliate - they could find my identity within seconds.

“If they know where I live, they could do anything.

“A security blogger had people send heroin to his house and try to frame him after his identity was leaked and he even had death threats.”

tags: Hacking  | FBI

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