FBI detains expert who stopped ransomware outbreak

WASHINGTON:

The FBI has detained a computer expert who found a way to stop an outbreak of the "WannaCry" ransomware computer virus in May that had affected computers of key public services and businesses across the world.

The 23-year-old Briton Marcus Hutchins, who runs a security blog called MalwareTech, was arrested late Wednesday in Las Vegas for "his role in creating and distributing the Kronos banking trojan virus", a Department of Justice spokesman said on Thursday.

The charges relate to alleged conduct occurring between July 2014 and July 2015, reports CNN.

According to an indictment, Hutchins created the malware and shared it online. 

The Eastern District of Wisconsin returned a six-count indictment against Hutchins on July 12. It was unsealed at the time of his arrest.

The trojan virus stole credentials and personal information and put malicious code on victims' computers.

Hutchins became an internet hero when he helped stop WannaCry, CNN reported.

The ransomware locked down computers and demanded $300 to get files back. Hundreds of thousands of computers were infected with the malware. The damage forced some hospitals in the UK to turn patients away, and crippled businesses worldwide.

Hutchins, who is also malware researcher at the Kryptos Logic security firm, created a killswitch that prevented the spread of the virus.

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