Published On: Mon, May 15th, 2017

UK surfer Marcus Hutchins labeled ‘hero’ for kill switch on new global malware attack

The man who stopped a global cyber attack in its tracks with a simple “kill switch” has been identified as Marcus Hutchins, a 22-year-old surfer from Devon, UK.

Hutchins is a self-taught cyber expert, labelled a “hero” for his role in stopping the global cyber virus that hit more than 200,000 companies and organizations in 150 countries around the world since Friday afternoon.

On his website, Malware Tech, Hutchins wrote a post called “How to Accidentally Stop a Global Cyber Attacks (sic)” where he explained what happened that day.

“I woke up at around 10 AM and checked onto the UK cyber threat sharing platform where I had been following the spread of the Emotet banking malware, something which seemed incredibly significant until today,” he said.

“There were a few of your usual posts about various organisations being hit with ransomware, but nothing significant … yet. I ended up going out to lunch with a friend, meanwhile the WannaCrypt ransomware campaign had entered full swing,” he said.

Marcus Hutchins, the man who stopped the global cyber attack

After returning home later in the afternoon he realized “this was something big” and began working with friends online to find out how the virus was spreading. He noticed the malware “queried” an unregistered domain address which he bought for around $15.

He then pointed it to a “sinkhole”, which is a server designed to capture “malicious traffic” and is something Hutchins does as part of his day job, he said.

While he did not realize it yet, this simple act had “unknowingly killed the malware” with suggestions the domain had become a “kill switch” to prevent the virus spreading further.

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- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at theglobaldispatch@gmail ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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