Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Science | By Hubert Green

'WannaCry' Malware Taken Down By IT Expert With LA Ties

'WannaCry' Malware Taken Down By IT Expert With LA Ties

The British IT expert credited with slowing the spread of the global cyber attack has claimed he is more concerned for his privacy than his safety.

Salim Neino, CEO of Kryptos Logic, said Hutchins took over the "kill switch" on Friday afternoon European time, before it could fully affect the United States. The company offers "a suite of services and solutions to disrupt attacker tactics, techniques, and procedures", according to its website.

Marcus, who works for Los Angeles-based Kryptos Logic but is from Ilfracombe, spent the weekend fighting against the virus that meant computer systems were able to return to relative normality.

Marcus explained how he tackled the virus, saying he linked it to an unregistered web address.

The fast-moving WannaCry virus encrypted users' computer files and displayed a message demanding anywhere from $300 to $600 to release them - or irreparable damage would follow.

Speaking to The Daily Mail in an interview published on Monday (May 15), 22-year-old Marcus Hutchins said that in 2010 he was suspended by teachers after being accused of hacking his school's system.

It was a 22-year-old computer wizard who put a stop to the "WannaCry" ransomware virus that caused chaos around the globe.

The kill switch was encoded into the malware in case the creator wanted to stop it spreading, and activating it involved buying a domain name.

"I woke up at around 10 AM and checked onto the United Kingdom cyber threat sharing platform where I had been following the spread of the Emotet banking malware, something which seemed incredibly significant until today", he said. It was a very exciting moment. "This is something that Marcus validated himself", Neino said.

Meanwhile, Marcus Hutchins said in a face-to-face interview: "I don't think I'm ever going back to the MalwareTech that everyone knew", as now he's been in touch with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and British national cybersecurity officials.

"On Monday morning at the start of the new working week it's likely that successful attacks from Friday that haven't yet become apparent will become apparent", he said. Mr Hutchins lives with his family in this seaside town, where he works out of his bedroom on a sophisticated computer setup with three enormous screens. As he did a sound-check for the camera, he was so anxious he misspelled his last name, giving it as "H-U-T-C-H-I-S", without the "n".

Many will be following his next moves though. It forecasts expenditures will grow between 12 per cent and 15 per cent annually for the next five years.

"The unprecedented cybercriminal activity we are witnessing is generating so much cyber spending, it's become almost impossible for analysts to keep track".

Yes, surfing. On waves this time.

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