I am no hero, says com­puter whiz who beat Wan­naCry

New Straits Times - - Business World -

ILFRACOMBE (Eng­land): A young Bri­tish com­puter ex­pert cred­ited with crack­ing the Wan­naCry cy­ber attack said he doesn’t con­sider him­self a hero but fights mal­ware be­cause “it’s the right thing to do”.

In his first face-to-face in­ter­view, Marcus Hutchins, who works for Los An­ge­les-based Kryp­tos Logic, said hun­dreds of com­puter ex­perts worked through­out the week­end to fight the virus, which paral­ysed com­put­ers in 150 coun­tries.

“I am def­i­nitely not a hero,” he said.

“I am just some­one do­ing my bit to stop bot­nets.”

The 22-yearold com­puter whiz from the south coast of

Eng­land dis­cov­ered a so-called “kill switch” that slowed the un­prece­dented out­break on Fri­day. He then spent the next three days fight­ing the worm that crip­pled Bri­tain’s hospi­tal net­work and com­puter sys­tems around the world.

Wan­naCry paral­ysed com­put­ers run­ning mostly older ver­sions of Mi­crosoft Windows by en­crypt­ing users’ com­puter files and dis­play­ing a mes­sage de­mand­ing any­where from US$300 (RM1,290) to US$600 to re­lease them.

Hutchins said he stum­bled across the so­lu­tion when he was analysing a sam­ple of the ma­li­cious code and no­ticed it was linked to an un­reg­is­tered web ad­dress.

He promptly reg­is­tered the do­main and found that stopped the worm from spread­ing.

Kryp­tos Logic chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Salim Neino said the com­pany was not able to iden­tify “Pa­tient Zero”, the first sys­tem in­fected, which would give re­searchers more in­for­ma­tion about who was be­hind the attack. AP

Marcus Hutchins

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