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Share this storyMarcus Hutchins, the celebrated security professional who was arrested Wednesday on federal charges he helped create and distribute malware that steals banking credentials, will be released from detention pending $30,000 bail, according to Las Vegas reporter Christy Wilcox and other news outlets.
Wilcox reported on Twitter that Hutchins will stay in a halfway house until more permanent housing arrangements are made. She said Hutchins would spend at least one more night in detention, because defense attorneys were unable to raise the required funds in time. The security researcher, who was instrumental in neutralizing the virulent WCry ransomware worm that shut down computers worldwide in May, appeared at a federal court hearing in Las Vegas late Friday afternoon wearing a yellow detainee jumpsuit with orange Crocs and socks.
According to the reporter, federal prosecutors told the court that Hutchins admitted to developing the malware at the heart of the criminal case and to playing a role in its sale. She said Hutchins' attorney disagreed with that claim. Federal prosecutors also attempted to block Hutchins' request for bail on grounds he had shot firearms at a shooting range last week while in Vegas for the Black Hat and Defcon security gatherings. Magistrate Judge Nancy Koppe ruled that Hutchins is not a danger to the community and has sufficient community support to not be a flight risk, the Associated Press reported.
The AP also reported that Hutchins didn't enter a formal plea during the hearing, but that his attorneys said the researcher plans to fight the charges.
According to an indictment filed by federal prosecutors in Wisconsin, Hutchins and another unnamed person participated in a conspiracy to create and distribute malware dubbed Kronos. Prosecutors said the banking trojan was demonstrated in a video posted to the Internet on July 14, 2014 and sold for $3,000. Unrelated security researchers from IBM reported three days earlier that the same malware was being advertised in Russian underground forums with a price of $7,000. The upstart malware was billed as a way for criminals to extract passwords and other financial credentials transmitted in major browsers. The ads also claimed Kronos could evade antivirus detection and protection from browser security sandboxes.
Prosecutors have yet to detail any evidence for the allegation that Hutchins developed or helped distribute Kronos.
According to Wilcox, once Hutchins is released, he will be barred from using devices connected to the Internet and must wear a GPS device that monitors his location. He was also barred from having any contact with an unnamed co-conspirator federal prosecutors allege was also involved in creating or distributing the bank-fraud malware. The AP said the UK resident and citizen was also ordered to surrender his passport. His next scheduled appearance, according to ZDNet, is on August 8 in Wisconsin, where the indictment was filed.