In 2017, the name Marcus Hutchins became known worldwide when he stopped the WannaCry ransomware that affected over 200,000 computers in 150 countries, bringing manufacturing plants and transportation hubs to a halt and shutting down hospitals in the UK. Hutchins halted the spread of the ransomware by himself at the age of 22 and his story is now being featured in the May edition of Wired Magazine.
Hutchins’ story is complicated, complex, and convoluted. At the time of the WannaCry attack, Hutchins, aka “MalwareTech,” was a researcher at Kryptos Logic. Just months after stopping the cyberattack and being celebrated as a hero, the highly talented coder found himself in FBI custody for creating the Kronos code when he was just 16 that was used by hackers in banking trojan software.
WannaCry is a cryptoworm that targeted the Microsoft Windows operating system. It spread through EternalBlue, an exploit developed by the U.S. National Security Agency for older Windows systems. The ransomware worked by encrypting computer data and demanding a ransom in Bitcoin digital currency to release computers that had been victimized.
A British native, Hutchins was born to Desmond and Janet Hutchins. His father was a social worker from Jamaica and his mother was a nurse born in Scotland. The “hero of the Internet” showed an exceptional facility for computers from an early age and quickly learned how to confound his mother and school’s attempts to monitor his computer use. His fascination with computers led him to hacker forums where his problems began.
He’s since received acclaim for his work with botnet activities and new computer infections. Hutchins’ full story in the May edition of Wired Magazine is one of innocence lost and an exceptionally talented young man trying to find himself, even as he’s lost in a virtual world where things aren’t always as they seem.
Photo and information source: Wired Magazine, Marcus Hutchins Twitter account @MalwareTechBlog