Security

WannaCry vanquisher Marcus Hutchins pleads not guilty to flogging banking trojan Kronos

Trial scheduled for October

By John Leyden

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Marcus Hutchins, the WannaCry kill-switch hero, has today pleaded not guilty to charges of creating and selling malware at a hearing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The court took the unusual step of relaxing the the 23-year-old's bail terms, allowing him to access the internet and work again. He will also be able to live in Los Angeles, where his employer is based. Hutchins is, however, obliged to surrender his passport and will be required to wear a tracking device until his trial, which has been scheduled for October.

"Marcus Hutchins is a brilliant young man and a hero," said Marcia Hofmann, founder of Zeigeist Law, outside the court house. "He is going to vigorously defend himself against these charges and when the evidence comes to light we are confident that he will be fully vindicated."

The change in bail conditions is interesting. Usually computer crime suspects are instructed to stay offline completely, but the only restriction on Hutchins is that he can't visit the WannaCry server domain.

Hutchins became the toast of the infosec world when his actions helped limit the spread of the WannaCry ransomware, which affected NHS hospitals and numerous other organisations worldwide in May.

Hutchins attended the Black Hat and DEF CON conferences in Las Vegas earlier this month only to be arrested before boarding his flight back home to the UK.

US authorities allege he created Kronos, a banking trojan. Hutchins' lawyers previously indicated he intended to deny charges during an earlier bail hearing.

"We are very pleased today that the court modified his terms to allow him to return to his important work," said his lawyer Brian Klein, partner at Baker Marquart LLP.

Hutchins faces six charges related to the development and distribution of Kronos. A second, unnamed defendant features on the same rap sheet. ®

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