The British cyber-security expert who helped stop the WannaCry attack earlier this year has been arrested by the FBI.
Marcus Hutchins, 23, was attending the Black Cat and Def Con cyber-security conferences in Las Vegas this week but was arrested on Wednesday.
Hutchins has been alleged to have of created the Kronos malware which is used to target bank account details. He is also alleged to have advertised the availability of the Kronos malware on internet forums between July 2014 and July 2015 with another defendant and also sell and profit it.
In a statement, the US Department of Justice said: “following a two-year long investigation, a federal grand jury returned a six-count indictment against Marcus Hutchins, also known as “Malwaretech,” for his role in creating and distributing the Kronos banking Trojan”.
Kronos is alleged to have been sold on the dark web market AlphaBay which was recently shut down by the FBI.
Hutchins rose to prominence after he stopped the WannaCry ransomware attack that badly affected the NHS and other organisations around the world.
There has been a strong response to Hutchins’ arrest by the hacking community, with many being shocked and outraged by the FBI’s decision to arrest Hutchins, especially after he stopped the WannaCry attack.
Kronos is said to be able to take people’s online banking details from a number of internet browsers, avoid detection, fend off rival trojans, bypass antivirus software and establish encrypted command and control communicaitons.
In 2014, Hutchins tweeted asking if anyone had a sample of Kronos, a statement some have said is a strange coincidence considering he’s alleged to be the creator of the malware.
Anyone got a kronos sample?
— MalwareTech (@MalwareTechBlog) July 13, 2014