NHS cyber attack 'hero' pleads not guilty to malware charges

Computer expert Marcus Hutchins has pleaded not guilty. Credit: AP

The "hero" computer expert who halted the WannaCry cyber attack which crippled the NHS has pleaded not guilty to charges that he created another malware programme which harvests bank details.

Marcus Hutchins, 23, appeared in court in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, after being charged with writing and selling the code used in the so-called Kronos attack.

Earlier in August, the US Department of Justice said Hutchins had been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit computer fraud and abuse, three counts of distributing and advertising an electronic communication interception device, one count of endeavouring to intercept electronic communications, and one count of attempting to access a computer without authorisation.

Hutchins is accused alongside another defendant who has not been named or arrested.

Hutchins from Ilfracombe, Devon, has been granted computer access while his case is pending.

After the hearing, Hutchins' lawyer, Marcia Hofmann, said she is confident he will be found not guilty at a trial.

She said: "Marcus Hutchins is a brilliant young man and a hero.

"He is going to vigorously defend himself against these charges and when the evidence comes to light, we are confident that he will be fully vindicated."

Hutchins is facing six charges. Credit: PA

Prosecutor Dan Cowhig told an earlier court hearing that Hutchins admitted to interviewers that he created the code and hinted that he sold it.

Following the hearing, Hutchins, who works for Los Angeles-based computer security firm Kryptos Logic, was freed on a £23,000 bail.

In May this year, Hutchins was hailed a hero for curbing the WannaCry ransomware attack that infected more than 300,000 computers in 150 countries and crippled the NHS.

The researcher was arrested on August 2 at a Las Vegas airport as he prepared to leave a hacking convention, according to a friend.