Two weeks ago, the cybersecurity industry reeled at the news of WannaCry hero Marcus Hutchins’ arrest by the FBI in Las Vegas over accusations that he created and sold the Kronos malware. Yesterday, the British researcher pleaded “not guilty” to all charges at a court in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Hutchins was hailed a hero when he accidentally stopped the spread of WannaCry. He created a website found in WannaCry’s code that turned out to be a kill switch. Once the ransomware detected the URL had been registered, it stopped infecting new computers.
Hutchins was arrested while visiting Las Vegas for the Def Con hacking conference. He faces six charges dated between July 2014 and July 2015 that relate to the creation and distribution of Kronos, which is used to steal online banking credentials.
The white hat hacker was granted $30,000 bail and released last week. He was ordered to surrender his passport, wear a GPS, and was restricted from accessing the internet. While the first two conditions are still in place, he has now been given permission by the court to return online and get back to work, though he won't be allowed to access the server he used to halt WannaCry.
Posting on his @MalwareTechBlog account, Hutchins wrote: "There's a lot of people I'd like to thank for amazing support over the past 11 days, which I will do when I get a chance to publish my blog." Another tweet stated "I'm still on trial, still not allowed to go home, still on house arrest; but now i am allowed online. Will get my computers back soon."
Hutchins showed he had kept his sense of humor despite his ordeal. His ‘to do’ list for Def Con includes “Be indicted by the FBI.”
Things to do during defcon:— MalwareTech (@MalwareTechBlog) August 14, 2017
Visit red rock canyon
Be indicted by the FBI
A trial has been scheduled for October. Should Hutchins be found guilty, he could face up to 40 years in prison. He was indicted alongside a second defendant, who has not been named.
“Marcus Hutchins is a brilliant young man and a hero,” said his attorney, Marcia Hofmann. “He’s going to vigorously defend himself against these charges and when the evidence comes to light, we are confident he will be fully vindicated.”