Researcher who stopped cyber attack arrested for hacking

Posted: 7:08 PM, Aug 08, 2017
Updated: 2017-08-09 00:08:51Z

A security researcher who got credit for stopping an international cyber attack has been arrested for creating a hacking virus.

Marcus Hutchins faces federal charges out of Milwaukee for allegedly selling virus software to people in Wisconsin.

The 22-year-old English security researcher recently hailed a hero is now considered anything but by local cyber security experts like Alex Holden.

"It was a surprise and a little bit of confusion," Holden said.

Hutchins was taken into custody last week in Las Vegas after a two year long investigation headed by a U.S. Attorney out of Milwaukee.

"It’s a surprise he had a Milwaukee connection because we are a relatively small community when it comes to (the) cyber security world," Holden said.

Holden works with companies to prevent cyber attacks against them.  Hutchins is accused of creating hacking software to steal personal information from people via email.

"Such as banking information,” Holden said. It was infecting individuals’ computers to click on things distributed via email."

The allegations are a stark contrast to what Hutchins was commended for back in May. He accidentally created a kill-switch for a virus that saved around 200,000 computer owners in 150 countries from having to pay to keep their information.

"I've had people inundating me with messages calling me a hero," Hutchins said in an interview with NBC News.

"Playing around with malware does expose everybody to the dark side," Holden said.

Despite a good deed since, Hutchins alleged time spent on the “dark side” in 2014 and 2015 has caught up with him in the form of six federal charges. Hutchins is due in federal court in Milwaukee on Monday.  We reached out to his lawyer for a statement, but never heard back.