'Hero' who thwarted WannaCry cyber attack arrested in the US

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SAN FRANCISCO: A British computer security researcher hailed as a hero for thwarting the "WannaCry" ransomware onslaught was in US custody yesterday after being indicted on charges of creating malware to attack banks.

Marcus Hutchins, known by the alias "Malwaretech," was charged in an indictment dated July 12 and unsealed this week by federal authorities in Wisconsin.

The United States Justice Department said in a statement that Hutchins was arrested on Thursday in Las Vegas, where a major Def Con hacker security conference took place over the weekend.

He was detained as he prepared to fly back to Britain.

Hutchins faces criminal charges including conspiracy to commit computer fraud, according to the US Department of Justice. The indictment accuses Hutchins and another individual of making and distributing malicious software designed to steal user names and passwords used at online banking sites. - AFP