At just 22 years old, Marcus Hutchins is already a hero. Hutchins, a British IT expert, was the man responsible for thwarting last week’s WannaCrypt (commonly referred to as “WannaCry”) ransomware virus.
The virus has already infected an estimated 200,000 computers in Europe alone, with an additional 40,000 Chinese organizations affected as well. If not for Hutchins, the malware would have infected thousands more.
But despite all this, Hutchins maintains that he not a hero. Rather, he claims that thwarting the attack was merely “the right thing to do.”
“I’m definitely not a hero,” Hutchins told The Associated Press. “I’m just someone doing my bit to stop botnets.”
But here at Philanthropic People, we beg to differ. It’s not just the fact that Hutchins stopped the attack, but rather what he did afterwards that has us buzzing.
HackerOne, an organization that rewards “ethical hackers” for finding cyber security flaws, gave Hutchins a $10,000 (£7,800) reward for successfully foiling the attack. But instead of keeping the money for himself (as he would have every right to do) Hutchins instead decided to donate it to charity.
“They [HackerOne] got in touch to offer the bounty, which I decided to claim and donate to multiple charities, as well as save a bit for helping people looking to get into security have access to educational resources,” Hutchins told The Telegraph.
According to NBC News, Hutchins thwarted the attack in just a matter of hours. He was able to stop the virus from spreading by locating a website address within the malware code that acted as a kill switch. He then registered the website domain, which essentially deactivated the virus and kept it from spreading.
Hutchins plans to hold a vote to help him decide which charity to donate to. Those who want to get into contact with him can find him on Twitter at @MalwareTechBlog.