A researcher known as MalwareTech has been detained this Wednesday by the US authorities on the accounts of creating the Kronos banking malware.
The researcher is best known for his efforts to stop WannaCry ransomware virus from spreading. The ransomware infected hospitals in the UK, as well as Spanish telecommunications company and other targets in 150 countries all over the world. Marcus Hutchins, which is the full name of the researcher known as MalwareTech, managed to stop the virus from spreading further by registering a specific website domain included in the malware’s code.
It has been confirmed that Marcus Hutchins, 23, was held at the Henderson Detention Center in Nevada until early hours of Thursday. A few hours later, as told by a close friend of his, Hutchins was moved to another facility.
The friend in question, who asked to stay anonymous due to privacy concerns, said that they tried to visit Hutchins as soon as the center opened but only found out that he had already been moved out to another facility.
They also added that they have spoken to the US Marshals who have told them that there is no record of Marcus being in the system. The person said they have been trying to get in contact with their friend for 18 hours without success and without known reason why their friend has been arrested, where he has been taken or if his welfare is at risk.
In an email, a US Marshals spokesperson said that they’ve been told this was an FBI arrest and that Mr. Hutchins is not in the custody of US Marshals.
FBI was aware of the request for comment but did not state anything by the time of publication.
Hutchins was last seen in Las Vegas at Black Hat and Def COn, two yearly hacking conferences.
UK’s National Crime Agency’s spokesperson has told us in an email that they are aware of a UK national being arrested but believe that it is the matter for the authorities in the US.
UK’s National Cyber Security Centre has also had their spokesperson send an email, which stated that they are aware of the situation and that it is a law enforcement matter so they find it inappropriate to comment further.
A UK Foreign Office spokesperson said in an email that they are in contact with the local authorities in Las Vegas following the arrest of a British man, and are providing support to his family.