WannaCry hero Marcus Hutchins wants phone transcript suppressed

The transcript 'shows Hutchins discussing Kronos role', say prosecutors

Lawyers for British cyber security researcher Marcus Hutchins are trying to have a phone transcript thrown out as evidence against him.

Hutchins, famous for being the 'WannaCry killer' who found a kill switch for the ransomware attack that had forced more than 40 NHS hospitals to postpone operations last year, is currently in the US, where he faces charges of creating and distributing a banking password-stealing malware called Kronos. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Prosecutors filed a transcript on Tuesday of a prison phone call recorded hours after Hutchins was detained in Las Vegas in August 2017. The prosecutors claim the transcript shows Hutchins admitting he wrote the code for the malware, which was used by an unidentified third party to collect bank logins and other financial information.

Hutchins' lawyers are trying to have the evidence ruled inadmissable, and for the court to reject Hutchins' form agreeing to waiver his Miranda Rights. Their argument is based on the grounds that he was "sleep-deprived and intoxicated" at the time of the call, was "coerced" into a confession and as a foreigner did not understand his Miranda Rights when he waived them.

"So I wrote code for a guy a while back who then incorporated it into a banking malware, so they have logs of that," Hutchins is quoted as saying in the phone call with an unnamed associate, "and essentially they want to know my part of the banking operation or if I just sold the code onto some guy. Then they wanted me to - once they found I sold the code to someone - they wanted me to give them his name, and I don't actually know anything about him."

The government wants to use both Hutchins' post-arrest interview and his phone call as evidence against him.

The transcript also quotes Hutchins as saying that he sold logs containing the compiled binary of the Kronos code written for this third party to another person in order to pay off a 5,000 debt. He also said he was under 18 years old when he created the code but may have been over 18 when he sold the software.

The indictment against him also includes charges of attempting to intercept electronic communications and access a computer without authorisation.

Hutchins, currently detained in the US awaiting trial, faces up to 40 years in prison if found guilty.

"I knew it was always going to come back," Hutchins is quoted as saying in the phone call transcript. "I just did[n't] think it would be so soon."

Image: Shutterstock

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