Cyber expert credited with stopping 'WannaCry' attack admits malware charges

Pleaded guilty to US charges of writing malware

A British cyber security researcher hailed as a hero for neutralising the global "WannaCry" ransomware attack in 2017 has pleaded guilty to US charges of writing malware.

Marcus Hutchins, who was charged on 10 counts in the United States, pleaded guilty to two of them, with the U.S. government agreeing to move toward dismissing the remaining counts at the time of the sentencing, according to a filing at the US District Court in the eastern district Wisconsin.

"I've pleaded guilty to two charges related to writing malware in the years prior to my career in security", Hutchins, also known online as MalwareTech, said in a statement.

He did not give details.

Hutchins had risen to overnight fame within the hacker community in May 2017 when he helped defang the global "WannaCry" ransomware attack, which infected hundreds of thousands of computers and caused disruptions at factories, hospitals, shops and schools in more than 150 countries.

He was arrested later that year in Las Vegas on unrelated charges that he had built and sold malicious code used to steal banking credentials.

U.S. prosecutors had claimed that he and a co-defendant advertised, distributed and profited from malware code known as "Kronos" between July 2014 and 2015.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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