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Wednesday, 20 December 2017 11:30

Immunity's Aitel has egg on face after North Korea blamed for WannaCry

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The head of American security firm Immunity, Dave Aitel, appears to have egg on his face after the US Government officially attributed the WannaCry ransomware to North Korea on Tuesday.

Aitel had claimed back in August that British security researcher Marcus Hutchins could be behind the ransomware that attacked more than 300,000 Windows computers in 150 countries in May. The US attribution appears to have put paid to Aitel's claims.

US Homeland Security adviser Tom Bossert told a briefing at the White House on Tuesday that after intensive investigation, the US was publicly attributing the attack to North Korea.

Hutchins was hailed as a hero by many after he accidentally stopped the spread of WannaCry by registering a domain that was present in the malware's code. He was later arrested in Las Vegas over alleged charges of having created a banking trojan named Kronos, along with an unnamed co-conspirator.

Aitel said at the time that as per the "initial feeling" that he and others had had when Hutchins got arrested, "the 'killswitch' story was clearly bulls***".

"What I think happened is that MalwareTech (the name that Hutchins was known by before he became famous and his real name was divulged) had something to do with WannaCry, and he knew about the killswitch, and when WannaCry started getting huge and causing massive amounts of damage (say, to the NHS of his own country) he freaked out and 'found the killswitch'," Aitel wrote.

"This is why he was so upset to be outed by the media. Being afraid to take the limelight is not a typical 'White Hat' behaviour, to say the least."

iTWire has contacted Aitel for his take on the attribution of WannaCry to North Korea and where his theory about Hutchins stands now.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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