Expert who beat cyberattack says he's no hero

Rodiano Bonacci
Mag 19, 2017

Hutchins, who works for US based tech firm Kryptos Logic but lives in the United Kingdom, is credited with activated a "kill switch" to the WannaCry malware, which hit Friday and spread to 200,000 victims in 150 countries.

Kryptos Logic's chief executive Salim Neino said Mr Hutchins took over the "kill switch" on Friday afternoon European time, before it could fully affect the United States. The company offers "a suite of services and solutions to disrupt attacker tactics, techniques, and procedures", according to its website.

He credited hundreds of other computer experts who also worked over the weekend with limiting the spread of the online virus, which took out computers and networks across 150 countries.

He was reportedly analyzing a sample of the malicious malware's code when he noticed it was linked to an unregistered web.

WannaCry paralysed computers running mostly older versions of Microsoft Windows by encrypting users' computer files and displaying a message demanding anywhere from $US300 to $US600 to release them; failure to pay would leave the data mangled and likely beyond fix.

'If they know where I live, they could really do anything.

Marcus Hutchins, 22, has been revealed as the expert who foiled the ransomware attack on the U.K.'s NHS.

Marcus - who goes by the online moniker MalwareTech - told MailOnline: "I'm not so anxious with emails, it's supposedly that this ransomware actually drops a back door and we don't know yet if our fix kills the backdoor as well".

Speaking to MailOnline, the cyber specialist, known as MalwareTech, said: "In future someone might want to retaliate - they could find my identity within seconds. This is something that Marcus validated himself". It was a very exciting moment.

As a cyber sleuth, Hutchins tweets under the handle MalwareTech, which features a profile photo of a pouty-faced cat wearing enormous sunglasses.

Meanwhile, Marcus Hutchins said in a face-to-face interview: "I don't think I'm ever going back to the MalwareTech that everyone knew", as now he's been in touch with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and British national cybersecurity officials.

His newfound fame soon bought an end to that anonymity.

"On Monday morning at the start of the new working week it's likely that successful attacks from Friday that haven't yet become apparent will become apparent", he said. The concept of celebrity was clearly foreign to him.

CyberSecurity Ventures forecast expenditures on cybersecurity will grow between 12 percent and 15 percent annually for the next five years.

"While all other technology sectors are driven by reducing inefficiencies and increasing productivity, cybersecurity spending is driven by cybercrime", the firm said in a February report.

Right now though, he's going on holiday to Las Vegas and California. On waves this time.

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