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MalwareTech Pleads Not Guilty to Kronos Charges

WannaCry kill switch hero Marcus Hutchins has pleaded “not guilty” in a US courtroom to charges that he wrote and sold banking malware several years ago.

The 23-year-old British malware researcher, also known as “MalwareTech”, entered the plea during a Milwaukee court hearing.

He tweeted messages of thanks to his friends and supporters:

"There's a lot of people I'd like to thank for amazing support over the past 11 days, which I will do when I get a chance to publish my blog,” wrote Hutchins.

"I'm still on trial, still not allowed to go home, still on house arrest; but now i am allowed online. Will get my computers back soon."

He will now live in Los Angeles – where his employer, Kryptos Logic, is based – until the trial in October.

The Ilfracombe man was arrested at Las Vegas Airport on August 2 just before getting on a plane back to the UK after attending the annual Black Hat conference.

An indictment alleges that back in 2014 he helped to write, advertise on internet forums such as AlphaBay, and sell a banking Trojan known as Kronos.

Doing so intentionally caused “damage without authorization, to 10 or more protected computers during a 1-year period”, it continues.

He’s accused of conspiring with an unnamed second defendant to do so.

Hutchins’ lawyer, Marcia Hoffman, told reporters including the BBC outside the courtroom that the Devonian is “a brilliant young man and a hero.”

"He is going to vigorously defend himself against these charges and when the evidence comes to light we are confident that he will be fully vindicated,” she added.

Hutchins leapt to fame earlier this year when he registered a domain he found in the code of the infamous WannaCry ransomware sweeping across the globe.

That enabled countless organizations to escape the attack by turning on a 'kill switch'.

He’s facing six charges related to the development and distribution of the Kronos malware.

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