Marcus Hutchins, Security Researcher Who Stopped WannaCry, Pleads Guilty to Malware Charges

Marcus Hutchins, Security Researcher Who Stopped WannaCry, Pleads Guilty to Malware Charges

Hutchins, who goes by the online handle MalwareTech, was arrested in August 2017 as he was due to fly back to the United Kingdom following the Def Con security conference in Las Vegas.

In a plea agreement, Hutchins pleaded guilty to two of ten charges: One being he meant to distribute Kronos, and the other being conspiracy.

Hutchins faces up to five years in prison and US$250,000 (S$338,000) in fines for each of the charges, according to USA court documents.

"I regret these actions and accept full responsibility for my mistakes", Hutchins wrote in a post, according to the ArsTechnica.

Marcus Hutchins, 24, of Ilfracombe, Devon, who is known online as MalwareTech, said he had admitted two charges relating to writing malware.

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Hutchins was charged with developing and, in partnership with another individual identified in court documents as "Vinny", disseminating UPAS-Kit and Kronos malware, the latter of which has for years been used to steal banking information.

Marcus agreed towards the charges where he said how he is using his hacking skills for good and constructive purposes now but had been using the same skills for different purposes after he completed his high school when he created the said banking malware called Kronos. "[An unnamed suspect and] Marcus Hutchins knowingly conspired and agreed with each other to commit an offense against the United States, namely, to knowingly cause the transmission of a program, information, code, and command and as a result of such conduct, intentionally cause damage without authorization, to 10 or more protected computers during a 1-year period", the Federal Bureau of Investigation said at the time. "I will continue to devote my time to keeping people safe from malware attacks".

Hutchins has told the Press Association that sentencing is "yet to be scheduled".

The malware was designed "to intercept communications and collect personal information, including usernames, passwords, email addresses, and financial data" from computers, prosecutors said.

U.S. prosecutors did not immediately respond to an AFP query about the case.

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