Remember British surfer Marcus Hutchins, who saved the NHS/world a few months back from a nasty computer virus?
Well, according to the Daily Mail, the very same hero has turned villain (in the eyes of law enforcement agencies in the USA, at least), and has been arrested in Las Vegas by the FBI for hacking crimes. Allegedly.
The Mail said, “A British hacker is set to appear in a Las Vegas court today accused of creating malicious software used to raid bank accounts – but family, friends and supporters claim it is a set up.
Marcus Hutchins, 23, was arrested by the FBI in a first class airport lounge and now faces a maximum of 40 years in jail if convicted.”
Yet despite the stellar reputation of US ‘intelligence’ services, it seems the FBI may have in fact, got the wrong guy.
“Hutchins is now charged with six counts of making a ‘Trojan’ program that captures computer users’ passwords and personal information and was sold online for £1,500 – but many believe federal officers have the wrong man.
His mother Janet Hutchins said it was ‘hugely unlikely’ that her son was involved because he has spent ‘enormous amounts of time’ combating such attacks.
Jake Williams, a respected US cybersecurity researcher, said they have worked on various projects, including training material, and the Briton always refused payment.
He said: ‘He’s a stand-up guy. I can’t reconcile the charges with what I know about him. I don’t doubt that some of his code found it’s way into malware. He might have even helped criminals posing as researchers’.
Friend Andrew Mabbitt, a British digital security specialist who had been staying in a £5million rented Las Vegas mansion with Hutchins, said: ‘I refuse to believe the charges. He spent his career stopping malware, not writing it’. “
Whether or not Hutchins is swiftly given his belt and shoelaces back, allowed back home to shred out the summer in Newquay after a full apology, or whether the Feds keep him on lock down remains to be seen.