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Security News, Exploits, and Vulnerabilities.

Who Is Marcus Hutchins?

In early August 2017, FBI agents in Las Vegas arrested 23-year-old U.K. resident Marcus Hutchins on suspicion of authoring and/or selling “Kronos,” a strain of malware designed to steal online banking credentials. Hutchins was virtually unknown to most in the security community until May 2017, when a British newspaper revealed him as the “accidental hero” who inadvertently halted the global spread of WannaCry, a ransomware contagion that had taken the world by storm just days before.

Relatively few knew it before his arrest, but Hutchins for many years authored the popular cybersecurity blog MalwareTech. When this fact became more widely known — combined with his hero status for halting Wannacry — a great many MalwareTech readers quickly leapt to his defense to denounce his arrest. They reasoned that the government was overstepping on flimsy evidence, noting that Hutchins has worked tirelessly to expose cybercriminals and their malicious tools. To date, some 226 supporters have donated more than $14,000 to his defense fund.

At first, I did not believe the charges against Hutchins would hold up under scrutiny. But as I began to dig deeper into the history tied to dozens of hacker forum pseudonyms, email addresses and domains he apparently used over the past decade, a very different picture began to emerge.

In this post, I will attempt to describe and illustrate more than three weeks’ worth of connecting the dots from what appear to be Hutchins’ earliest hacker forum accounts to his real-life identity. The clues suggest that Hutchins began developing and selling malware in his mid-teens — only to later develop a change of heart and earnestly endeavor to leave that part of his life squarely in the rearview mirror.

A King’s Ransom It is Not

The first half of 2017 began with two intriguing ransomware events, both partly enabled by wormable exploit technology dumped by a group calling themselves “The ShadowBrokers”. These WannaCry and ExPetr ransomware events are the biggest in the sense that they spread the quickest and most effectively of known ransomware to date.

SambaCry is coming

Not long ago, news appeared online of a younger sibling for the sensational vulnerability EternalBlue. The story was about a new vulnerability for *nix-based systems – EternalRed (aka SambaCry). On May 30th our honeypots captured the first attack to make use of this particular vulnerability, but the payload in this exploit had nothing in common with the Trojan-Crypt that was EternalBlue and WannaCry.

WannaCry mistakes that can help you restore files after infection

Sometimes ransomware developers make mistakes in their code. These mistakes could help victims regain access to their original files after a ransomware infection. This article is a short description of several errors, which were made by the WannaCry ransomware developers.

WannaCry and Lazarus Group – the missing link?

Moments ago, Neel Mehta, a researcher at Google posted a mysterious message on Twitter. The cryptic message in fact refers to similarity between samples that have shared code between themselves. The two samples Neel refers to post are a Wannacry cryptor sample and a Lazarus APT group sample.

WannaCry FAQ: What you need to know today

Friday May 12th marked the start of the dizzying madness that has been ‘WannaCry’, the largest ransomware infection in history. Defenders have been running around trying to understand the malware’s capabilities. In the process, a lot of wires have gotten crossed and we figured it’s time to sit down and set the record straight on what we know, what we wish we knew, and what the near future might hold for us going forward.

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