WannaCry Hero Faces More Federal Charges

Marcus Hutchins, the cybersecurity researcher, recognized for helping curb 2017’s  WannaCry malware, is facing four additional charges related to the virus he supposedly designed to steal financial data. According to the FBI, he lied about developing the malware named Kronos, and he schemed with other people to promote it on online platforms such as YouTube.

The cybersecurity researcher, who also goes by the name of MalwareTech, is now facing ten federal charges after being indicted by a grand jury in the Eastern District of Wisconsin. After the charges were filed, he urged his followers on Twitter to think about donating to assist with legal expenses, and he said that the charges were “bullshit.” One of his lawyers said the new charges were without any merit, and he declared that they highlight the severe defects in the prosecution. Marcus Hutchins has pleaded not guilty, although the prosecutors have said that he agreed that he created Kronos.

The latest charge involves the pseudonyms of people he has been indicted for conspiring with regarding the sales of Kronos. As per the prosecutors, Hutchins along with another man named as “VinnyK” came in a YouTube video four years ago explaining how Kronos malware operated. They also supposedly used that youtube video for promoting the sale of Kronos virus.  The charges record that the alleged offenses happened in one year between July 2014 and July 2015. It also declares that he built and sold a different malware named UPAS Kit in the year 2012. UPAS Kit malware was also created to steal private information and credit card information, as per the prosecutors.

Marcy Wheeler, an American journalist who has been following the case, revealed the aspects of the new indictment and along with some potential problems regarding it. The independent journalist hinted that the alleged 2012 violations not only come outside a five-year statute of limitations but they were also carried out at the time when Hutchins was not an adult. She further stated that VinnyK supposedly sold UPAS Kit to a person in July 2012, and Kronos to some other person in 2015. Prosecutors allege that Hutchins gave Kronos to VinnyK and another individual known as “Randy” or “Individual B” in the charges.

She stated that the prosecutors should be identifying VinnyK as the real perpetrator of the offenses, however instead they are going for Hutchins. Moreover, she added that Randy implicated Hutchins in order to either limit or avoid being criminally exposed. She further pointed out that there are no known Kronos victims in the US.

Defense lawyers have requested a federal judge to suppress the statements which Hutchins made to the FBI during his detention on August 2nd, as they claim that he was not accurately informed of his rights. The FBI arrested him as he was going to his home in England after attending the DefCon security conference held in Las Vegas.

His lawyers said that the timing of his apprehension was intended to create disorder and mislead Hutchins. FBI agents said that Hutchins talked with them willingly yet lied regarding his role in the creation of Kronos.

WannaCry was a malware which wrecked havoc all around the globe last year. To safeguard your device from such ransomware worms, invest in a good antivirus security software.

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