US Arrests Hero Hacker Who Stopped WannaCry For Creating Kronos Malware

Posted: Aug 4 2017, 9:25am CDT | by , in News | Technology News

 
US Arrests Hero Hacker Who Stopped WannaCry for Creating Kronos Malware
Photo Credit: MalwareTechBlog Twitter
  • UK Cyber Expert Marcus Hutchins Hailed as WannaCry Hero Arrested for Creating Kronos
  • Could Face 40 Years in US Prison

Cyber exper Hutchins who played a key part in stopping the WannaCry Ransomware Attack has been arrested by the FBI for charges of creating a banking malware named Kronos

WannaCry cyberattack caused panic across 150 countries in the world. The cyberattack targeted the banks, corporate sectors, hospitals, government agencies and utilities businesses. The cyberattack threatened to ransack the records and programs of the systems in the countries. The National Health Service in Britain sustained heavy losses during the cyberattack.

So, while the hackers were holding the whole world hostage, a techie Marcus Hutchins known as MalwareTech online noticed a mysterious dot-com domain name which had been coded into the worm attacking the world’s systems. It turned out upon investigation that the domain name was unregistered. That meant that it can be available to anyone.

He bought the domain for $10.69. He directed it at a “sinkhole” server in Los Angeles, in hopes of investigating it further. He found out that the domain was a kill switch of a kind. Upon activation by Hutchins, the kill switch stopped the spread of the WannaCry cyberattack and saved millions. It was an accident, as initial described by Hutchins. The stunt made Hutchins a cybercelebrity overnight. He was pursued by media and colleagues for his genius.

Meanwhile, Hutchins’ boss at the Los Angeles-based computer-security firm Kryptos Logic went on to testify about WannaCry before a House subcommittee. During that time, Hutchins had flown to Las Vegas to attend the annual DefCon hackers’ convention. He was hailed as a hero at the event. Little did he know as well as the world that Hutchins was not entirely a hero. As soon as he returned, FBI officers were waiting to arrest him at the airport.

Federal prosecutors from Milwaukee unsealed a six-figure indictment against Hutchins. According to report, Hutchins had conspired with unnamed partners. Charges of conspiracy, wiretapping, distributing an illegal eavesdropping device, and violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act are being brought up against him and his accomplices. Turns out that he was leading a double life. While stopping cybercrime in the world’s eyes, he had been developing a malware called Kronos secretly.

According to the indictment brought forth by the federal prosecution; “Kronos was the name given to a particular type of malware that recorded and exfiltrated user credentials and personally identifying information from protected computers."

Kronos malware was commonly referred to as a "banking Trojan." This entails that the Kronos malware can steal details of people’s bank accounts which can be later used to hack into their accounts and commit fraud. It turns out that Kronos has been on sale in the cyber market in thousands of dollars.

The creator also offered their potential clients access to the malware’s control panel and all the bot’s capabilities for $1000. Hutchins has been identified as the creator of the Kronos malware. More evidence is also coming up to be associated with Hutchins and his accomplices. According to investigators, Hutchins has been directing a lot of malware to the sinkhole which he used to deactivate the WannaCry cyberattack.

He had been using the content from these malwares to create a bigger and stronger malware Kronos. Many also believe that Hutchins is innocent and being caught up in an identity mistake. They believe that Hutchins might just be investigating his contemporaries. Reason of the FBI has been called in question about their conclusion.

However, it has been made clear that the federal government agencies iron out any reservation before serving an indictment. Hutchins will get a chance to appear in court and defend himself.

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