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Tuesday, 23 April 2019 05:15

UK security researcher Hutchins admits he created malware

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UK security researcher Hutchins admits he created malware Courtesy YouTube

British security researcher Marcus Hutchins faces up to 10 years in jail after pleading guilty to two of the 10 charges facing him in the US – creating banking trojans in the years before he took up a career in infosec.

Additionally, the two charges to which Hutchins has pleaded guilty, as part of a plea deal, ahead of a trial set for 8 July in Milwaukee, each carry penalties of US$250,000 in fines and a US$100 special assessment.

Hutchins said in a statement on Friday: "As you may be aware, I’ve pleaded guilty to two charges related to writing malware in the years prior to my career in security. I regret these actions and accept full responsibility for my mistakes.

"Having grown up, I’ve since been using the same skills that I misused several years ago for constructive purposes. I will continue to devote my time to keeping people safe from malware attacks."

Hutchins 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.

He gained the attention of the world when he stopped the spread of the WannaCry ransomware by accident in May 2017.

In his plea agreement, Hutchins said he had create two malware applications, Kronos and UPAS-Kit, along with an unnamed conspirator who advertised and sold the malware.

He also admitted to providing Kronos to someone in California who he knew was using malware to gain unauthorised access to digital devices.

An FBI employee bought UPAS-Kit in 2012 for US$1500 after it was advertised in online forums.

Thanks to The Register for a link to Hutchins' plea agreement.


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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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