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How a lucky accident stopped WannaCry ransomware attack, landed 22-yr-old a job

Marcus Hutchins, also known as “Malware Tech”, accidentally triggered a “kill switch” that helped in stopping the “WannaCry” ransomware attack from spreading further.

world Updated: May 15, 2017 20:06 IST
An employee of Equinix data center checking servers on July 21, 2014 in Pantin, a suburb north of Paris in the Seine-Saint-Denis department.
An employee of Equinix data center checking servers on July 21, 2014 in Pantin, a suburb north of Paris in the Seine-Saint-Denis department.(AFP File Photo)

A 22-year-old cyber expert who accidentally stopped the ransomware breach at the British National Health Service (NHS) has now been hired by the British National Cyber Security Centre to prevent further damage.

Marcus Hutchins, also known as ‘Malware Tech’, accidentally triggered a ‘kill switch’ that helped in stopping the WannaCry ransomware attack from spreading further, telegraph.co.uk reported on Monday.

It took Hutchins just a few hours to stop the breach but by then, the virus had spread and crippled the NHS.

Hutchins was in his bedroom when he accidentally stopped the attack.

“I will confess that I was unaware registering the domain would stop the malware until after I registered it, so initially it was accidental,” @MalwareTechBlog tweeted.

The self-taught tech savy is believed to be living in south-west England.

Hutchins joined a Los Angeles-based “private intel threat firm” a year ago.

He said in a blog that he purchased a web domain for £8 and redirected it elsewhere to stop the ransomware attack.

“My job is to look for ways we can track and potentially stop botnets (and other kinds of malware), so I’m always on the lookout to pick up unregistered malware control server (C2) domains,” Hutchins noted on his blog.

He has also told how he shunned university and instead self taught himself sophisticated hacking techniques.

“I had planned to go to university but ended up getting offered a job in security a year prior, so I took it. I’m completely self-taught so in hindsight university would probably not have been worth the time or money,” The Guardian quoted Hutchins as saying.