Cybersecurity Researcher Hailed as Hero Is Accused of Creating Malware

Cybersecurity Researcher Hailed as Hero Is Accused of Creating Malware

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Marcus Hutchins, who is accused of creating and selling malware, was widely praised earlier this year for stopping the WannaCry attack that seized hundreds of thousands of computers.

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Frank Augstein/Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — A British security researcher, who became an internet hero after he was credited with stopping a malicious software attack earlier this year, was arrested at the Las Vegas airport and charged in connection with a separate attack.

Marcus Hutchins, the researcher, was widely praised for identifying a way to disable the WannaCry malicious software, or malware, attack that seized hundreds of thousands of computers earlier this year. Researchers credited Mr. Hutchins’s discovery of a so-called kill switch in the malware for stopping its spread and preventing the attack from infecting millions more computers.

According to an indictment filed in federal court in Milwaukee on Thursday, Mr. Hutchins and an unidentified accomplice created and sold malware intended to steal login information and other financial data from online banking sites. The pair conspired to sell and distribute the malware program, known as the Kronos banking trojan, around 2014 and 2015, the indictment said.

The Justice Department said in a statement that a federal grand jury returned a six-count indictment against Mr. Hutchins last month after a two-year investigation.

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