NHS ransomware 'hero' pleads not guilty in US over banking malware

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A British cyber security expert who derailed a global ransomware attack has pleaded not guilty to creating and selling a malware that harvests banking details as he appeared in a US court.

Marcus Hutchins, 23, denied six counts relating to the Kronos malware as he faced a judge in Milwaukee on Monday.

The researcher, from Ilfracombe, Devon, was arrested on August 2 in Las Vegas's McCarran airport as he prepared to leave a hacking convention, according to a friend.

After the hearing, defence lawyer Marcia Hofmann said she is confident he will be found not guilty at a trial.

She said: "Marcus Hutchins is a brilliant young man and a hero.

"He is going to vigorously defend himself against these charges and when the evidence comes to light, we are confident that he will be fully vindicated."

Hutchins, also known as MalwareTech, is accused of creating and distributing the banking trojan between July 2014 and July 2015 alongside another defendant, who has not been named and is at large.

In May this year, Hutchins was hailed a hero for curbing the WannaCry ransomware attack that infected more than 300,000 computers in 150 countries and crippled the NHS.

Prosecutor Dan Cowhig told an earlier court hearing that Hutchins admitted to interviewers that he created the code and hinted that he sold it.

Hutchins, who works for Los Angeles-based computer security firm Kryptos Logic, was freed on a 30,000 US dollar (£23,000) bail.