Belfast Telegraph

Hacker who stopped NHS cyber attack arrested in US

By Sam Blewett

The British computer expert who helped shut down a world-wide cyber attack that crippled the NHS has been charged with creating software that harvested banking details.

Marcus Hutchins, from Ilfracombe, Devon, was arrested in Las Vegas and charged with six counts in relation to creating and distributing the malware known as Kronos, the US Department of Justice said.

Officials said after the 23-year-old's arrest by the FBI on Wednesday that he was indicted by a grand jury in the Eastern District of Wisconsin in relation to charges in the year leading up to July 2015.

Hutchins, also known as MalwareTech, was hailed a hero in May this year when he found a "kill-switch" that slowed the effects of the WannaCry "ransomware" virus that hit more than 300,000 computers in 150 countries.

The investigation predates that attack and is completely unrelated, officials stressed.

The indictment says Hutchins created the Kronos malware before conspiring with another defendant, whose name has been redacted, to advertise and sell it on internet forums.

In August 2014 the unnamed defendant sold the software for $2,000 (£1,522) in a digital currency in June 2015, the legal document adds.

A friend from the IT security industry, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Hutchins was arrested in McCarran International Airport after he tried to fly back from the Def Con hacking conference.

The Foreign Office said it is supporting Hutchins' family.

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