New York: The 23-year-old computer expert, Marcus Hutchins, who made a kill switch for “WannaCry” could face 40 years in a US prison following accusations that he helped create and sell a malicious software to target bank accounts.
Hutchins was arrested by the FBI while he was attending a hackers’ conference in Las Vegas. He faces six counts of helping to create, spreading and maintaining the banking Trojan Kronos between 2014 and 2015, reports The Telegraph.
According to the US Department of Justice indictment, the alleged offences took place between July 2014 and July 2015. Hutchins was jointly charged with another individual who was not named.
According to the allegations, Hutchins “created the Kronos malware” and the other person later sold it for $2,000 (£1,500) online.
“The maximum statutory sentence he could face is decades, roughly 40 years,” said Tor Ekeland, a US lawyer who specialises in defending alleged cyber criminals.
“Would he get that? I doubt it, it would be a bizarre outcome. Is it possible? It sure is,” he added.
If he pleads guilty he could be sentenced to a short prison sentence or supervised release. If he pleads not guilty, he will be moved to Wisconsin, where the charges have been brought, to face trial, which could start anytime between three months and three years, Ekeland said.
On his arrest, an NCSC spokesman said: “We are aware of the situation. This is a law enforcement matter and it would be inappropriate to comment further.”
Hutchins found a way to stop the Ransomware from rapidly spreading. He was given a $10,000 (£7,600) reward for the effort, which he donated to charity. The ethical hacker, who is largely self-taught and did not go to university, was in the US for the world’s largest annual conventions for security experts, BlackHat and DefCon.