WannaCry tech expert Marcus Hutchins who helped stop NHS cyber attack spared jail in US

A British computer expert who shot to fame for stopping the WannaCry cyber attack on the NHS will not face jail in the US after being sentenced to "supervised release" for making and selling banking malware.

Less than two months after becoming a hero for stopping the ransomware attack, the-now-25-year-old Marcus Hutchins was arrested in the US by FBI agents who had been investigating his activity for years.

The Briton, originally from Ilfracombe, Devon, who had been held since his arrest in 2017, was facing up to ten years in jail after being accused of creating malware to steal banking details.

He was charged with 10 offences for developing two pieces of malware and lying to the FBI but accepted a plea deal and admitted to two charges of malware development.

Hutchins, who goes by @MalwareTechBlog, was described by Justice J. P. Stadmueller as a "talented" but "youthful offender", according to Tech Crunch.

Hutchins was arrested in Las Vegas on August 2, 2017, as he was about to board a flight to England. Credit: AP

The judge reportedly added: "It’s going to take the people like [Hutchins] with your skills to come up with solutions because that’s the only way we’re going to eliminate this entire subject of the woefully inadequate security protocols."

Court documents show the malware he developed was "designed to target banking information and to work on many types of web browsers, including Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome".

In a statement prior to his sentencing, Mr Hutchins wrote on his blog: "I’ve pleaded guilty to two charges related to writing malware in the years prior to my career in security.

"I regret these actions and accept full responsibility for my mistakes. Having grown up, I’ve since been using the same skills that I misused several years ago for constructive purposes. I will continue to devote my time to keeping people safe from malware attacks."

A prosecutor said: "Like a man who spent years robbing banks, and then one day came to realise that was wrong, and even worked to design better security systems, he deserves credit for his epiphany. But he still bears responsibility for what he did."

NHS hero to malware arrest

Marcus Hutchins has been spared a jail sentence in the US for creating malware. Credit: AP

Mr Hutchins was responsible for helping to stop the attack on NHS security systems in May 2017.

Aged 22 at the time, he discovered a so-called "kill switch" that slowed the effects of the WannaCry virus as it swept through computer systems around the world.

Large swathes of the NHS were paralysed by the cyber attack on Friday, which hit 200,000 victims in 150 countries.

Speaking to AP at the time, he said: "I've had people, sort of inundating me with messages thanking me, saying that I'm a hero.

"I mean I sort of just registered this domain for tracking. I didn't intend for it to like, sort of blow up and me to be all over the media.

"I was just sort of doing my job and I don't really think that I'm a hero at all."

Hutchins was arrested in Las Vegas on August 2, 2017, as he was about to board a flight to England.