Sci-tech

NHS cyber-defender Marcus Hutchins pleads not guilty in US

NHS cyber-defender Marcus Hutchins pleads not guilty in US

An Oct. 23 trial date has been set.

Mr Hutchins was arrested shortly after visiting the Black Hat and Def Con cyber-security conferences in Las Vegas. The name of Hutchins' co-defendant is redacted from the indictment. He was arrested August 2 in the Las Vegas airport on his way home to England after a cybersecurity convention.

Hutchins, 23, rose to overnight fame within the hacker community in May when he helped defang the global "WannaCry" ransomware attack, which infected hundreds of thousands of computers in May and caused disruptions at factories, hospitals, shops and schools in more than 150 countries.

"Marcus Hutchins is a brilliant young man and a hero", said Marcia Hofmann, an attorney affiliated with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights group, who represented Hutchins at the hearing.

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A British cybersecurity researcher accused of creating malicious software to steal banking information has been granted computer access while his case is pending.

The case is unrelated to the WannaCry attack that struck the NHS in May, for which Mr Hutchins gained worldwide attention after he detected a "kill switch" that effectively disabled the virus.

He was also granted access to use a computer for work, a change from an earlier judge's order barring him from using any device with access to the internet.

A pre-trial hearing has been set for October 17.

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Marcus Hutchins entered the plea Monday during a hearing in Wisconsin federal court.

It is claimed that he created malware in 2014 and 2015 which could gain the log-in details of online banking customers.

Prosecutors allege that before Hutchins won acclaim he created and distributed a malicious software called Kronos to steal banking passwords from unsuspecting computer users. Prosecutors have charged him and an unnamed co-defendant with conspiring to commit computer fraud in the state and elsewhere.

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