Surfer Worked from Bedroom To Beat Cyberattack

As a vast "ransomware" attack raced from computer to computer, infecting tens of thousands around the world, a young tech expert worked from his bedroom in England to bring the rampage to a halt.

But Marcus Hutchins doesn't consider himself a hero.

The 22-year-old credited with cracking the WannaCry cyberattack told The Associated Press he fights malware because "it's the right thing to do."

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

"I'm definitely not a hero," he said. "I'm just someone doing my bit to stop botnets."

In the first hours after the virus struck Friday, the computer whiz and surfing enthusiast who lives with his family in a small seaside town in southwest England discovered a so-called "kill switch" that slowed the unprecedented outbreak. He then spent the next three days fighting the worm that crippled Britain's hospital network as well as factories, government agencies, banks and other businesses around the world.

WannaCry [also known as WannaCrypt] paralyzed computers running mostly older versions of Microsoft Windows by encrypting users' computer files and displaying a message demanding a ransom of $300 to $600 to release them; failure to pay would leave the data mangled and likely beyond repair.

Hutchins said he came across the solution when he was analyzing a sample of the malicious code and noticed it was linked to an unregistered web address. He promptly registered the domain, something he regularly does to discover ways to track or stop cyber threats, and found that stopped the worm from spreading.

Kryptos Logic chief executive Salim Neino said Hutchins' quick work allowed him to slow the virus on Friday afternoon European time, before it could fully affect the United...

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