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AP / Marcus Hutchins was branded a hero for slowing the WannaCry ransomware
The 22-year-old British security expert who helped foil last week’s global cyber attack will give a $10,000 (£7,800) reward to charity.
Marcus Hutchins, who stopped the WannaCry ransomware infecting thousands of NHS computers as well as PCs across the globe, revealed that he had been awarded the “bounty” by HackerOne, a group that rewards “ethical hackers” for finding software flaws.
Hutchins, who tweets as “MalwareTech”, said he would divide the money between charities and educational resources for IT security students.
He said he wasn’t interested in receiving money himself, or the newfound fame that has greeted him.
“They got in touch to offer the bounty, which I decided to claim and donate to multiple charities, as well as save a bit for helping people looking to get into security have access to educational resources,” he told The Telegraph.
He plans to hold a vote on what charities should receive the money.
HackerOne, a network of hackers, operates so-called bug bounty programmes in which computer experts are rewarded by technology companies for discovering security flaws before criminals do. It awarded $7m last year and its best-paid hacker has earned $600,000 in two years.
The company had offered the reward saying: “Thank you for your active research into this malware and for making the internet safer!”
The IT worker from Devon was able to neutralise the threat from WannaCry on Friday night by finding a website address within the virus’s code that acted as a “killswitch”. Registering the domain halted the spread of the attack, potentially saving thousands of computers.
WannaCry had already thrown the NHS into chaos and hit more than 200,000 computers around the world. The ransomware encrypted computer files and demanded $300 in internet currency Bitcoin to unlock them. As of Tuesday morning, the Bitcoin wallets associated with the attack’s perpetrators had collected over £50,000.
About | Ransomware
What is ransomware? Malicious software that locks a device, such as a computer, tablet or smartphone and then demands a ransom to unlock it
Where did ransomware originate? The first documented case appeared in 2005 in the United States, but quickly spread around the world
How does it affect a computer? The software is normally contained within an attachment to an email that masquerades as something innocent. Once opened it encrypts the hard drive, making it impossible to access or retrieve anything stored on there – such as photographs, documents or music
How can you protect yourself? Anti-virus software can protect your machine, although cybercriminals are constantly working on new ways to override such protection
How much are victims expected to pay? The ransom demanded varies. Victims of a 2014 attack in the UK were charged £500. However, there’s no guarantee that paying will get your data back
By James TitcombSource: The Telegraph UK