Ransomware 'hero' Hutchins freed after guilty plea

Marcus Hutchins (R), seen ahead of a 2017 court appearance, was hailed as a hero for stemming the WannaCry ransomware outbreak b
Marcus Hutchins (R), seen ahead of a 2017 court appearance, was hailed as a hero for stemming the WannaCry ransomware outbreak but later charged in the US with creating malware that could attack the banking system

A British computer security researcher called a hero for stopping a global ransomware attack but blamed for creating other damaging malware was set free Friday by a federal judge after having pleaded guilty to US criminal charges.

Marcus Hutchins, whose arrest in 2017 stunned the computer security community, was sentenced to "time served" by the Milwaukee, Wisconsin and given one year of supervised release, but will be able to travel back to Britain during that period.

He faced up to 14 months in prison for the two charges of creating and selling malware, for which he pleaded guilty in April.

Hutchins, 25, earned a reputation as a hacking hero in 2017 when he discovered a "" to stem the spread of the devastating WannaCry ransomware outbreak.

But months later he was arrested while attending the Def Con computer hackers conference in Las Vegas on charges that he and another individual created and distributed a trojan program called Kronos, which was designed to steal user names and passwords used on online banking sites.

According to the indictment, Hutchins was part of a conspiracy to distribute the hacking tool on so-called dark markets.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Hutchins was credited by Judge J.P. Stadtmueller with "turning the corner" on his activities, especially with regard to WannaCry.

"On one hand that makes you a hero, but it does not totally wipe out the past actions, but it is certainly to your credit without any encouragement that you stepped up to the plate without any expectation," the said.

Explore further

Ransomware 'hero' pleads guilty to US hacking charges

© 2019 AFP

Citation: Ransomware 'hero' Hutchins freed after guilty plea (2019, July 27) retrieved 15 September 2019 from https://techxplore.com/news/2019-07-ransomware-hero-hutchins-freed-guilty.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Feedback to editors

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more