Huge cyberattack ebbs as investigators work to find culprits


He credited hundreds of other computer experts who also worked over the weekend with limiting the spread of the online virus, which took out computers and networks across 150 countries. "Within a few moments, we were able to validate that there was indeed a kill switch".

"I've seen posts about the awful things people have done to him and for me in future it could be the same things", MalwareTech said. It was a very exciting moment.

Hutchins is part of a global community of cyber guards who patrol the Internet for cybercrime and try to thwart it before anyone is victimized.

He works remotely for Kryptos Logic, an LA-based threat intelligence company, which was impressed by his work and got in touch to offer him a job a little over a year ago.

Symantec and Kaspersky Lab said some code in an earlier version of the WannaCry ransomware had also appeared in programs used by the Lazarus Group, which researchers from many companies have identified as a North Korea-run hacking operation. It is not uncommon for members to use aliases, to protect from retaliatory attacks and ensure privacy.

Hutchins has long tweeted under the handle MalwareTech, which features a profile photo of a pouty-faced cat wearing enormous sunglasses.

The episode has meant Hutchins sacrificing his prized anonymity, but some people thought it was worth it.

After all, now he is a computer celebrity. He's been in touch with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as British national cyber security officials.

"I don't think I'm ever going back to the @MalwareTechBlog that everyone knew", he said.

His new life is likely to be a big adjustment. He will soon become a local hero - but if you ask him, his life of celebrity will be short lived. As he did a sound-check for the camera, he was so anxious he misspelled his last name, giving it as "H-U-T-C-H-I-S", without the "n".

Hutchins' mother Janet, a nurse, couldn't be prouder - and was happy to have the veil of anonymity lifted.

Later Taiwanese state media said the WannaCry cyber attack infected computers in 10 schools, the national power company, a hospital and at least one private business.

Speaking to MailOnline, the cyber specialist, known as MalwareTech, said: "In future someone might want to retaliate - they could find my identity within seconds".

Many will be following his next moves though. CyberSecurity Ventures, which tracks the industry, estimates global spending on cybersecurity will jump to $120 billion this year from just $3.5 billion in 2004.

These include a love of surfing and views of waves along the coast, a fondness for the music of Taylor Swift when he's programming, as well as a taste for vodka and freshly ground coffee.

One friend, who travelled with Hutchins to Las Vegas a year ago as part of a trip to Def Con, the world's largest annual convention for internet hackers, told the Telegraph that Hutchins was "a really nice friend and also a business colleague ... it is not a job to him, more a passion that he happens to get paid for".

Hutchins, who goes by the name Malware Tech online, came to the rescue after realising the virus could be stopped by registering an £8.29 website domain name.