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Saturday, 14 July 2018 21:07

UK security researcher Hutchins makes renewed bid for freedom Featured

Marcus Hutchins will soon complete a year in custody in the US. Marcus Hutchins will soon complete a year in custody in the US.

British security researcher Marcus Hutchins, who was arrested by the FBI last August over alleged charges of creating and distributing a banking trojan, has made a fresh bid to go free, claiming that the US has no territorial jurisdiction to file charges against him for alleged crimes committed elsewhere.

In a submission on Friday, Hutchins said the US Congress had not indicated clearly that the Wiretap Act — under which he was charged — was intended to have extra-territorial reach.

Some of the counts against him were not a domestic application of the law, he argued.

Hutchins is in Milwaukee in the US state of Wisconsin, awaiting trial on charges that he wrote and helped distribute a banking trojan known as Kronos.

He was arrested by the FBI in Las Vegas on 2 August 2017 after he had boarded a plane to leave the US after attending the annual DEFCON security conference.

Hutchins gained the attention of the world when he stopped the spread of the WannaCry ransomware by accident in May last year.

The initial chargesheet against him said he had written and helped distribute Kronos along with an unnamed co-conspirator.

A second objection raised by Hutchins' legal team was that the prosecution had violated his rights to due process because he had "no substantial nexus" with the US in the time period covered in his indictment.

Last month, the FBI issued an updated indictment against Hutchins. The new charges include a claim that he had lied to the agency and listed the pseudonyms of people with whom he is claimed to have collaborated to advertise and sell the Kronos banking trojan between July 2014 and July 2015.

Additionally, Hutchins was accused of creating and selling malware known as UPAS Kit in July 2012 which is said to be able to exfiltrate credit card information and personally identifiable information.

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Sam Varghese

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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