back to article Crowdfunding scheme hopes to pay legal fees for Marcus Hutchins

A new crowdfunding appeal to help security researcher Marcus Hutchins has begun, after persons unknown spammed his old one with potentially ruinous credit card spam. Hutchins was the security researcher who found a way to cripple the WannaCry ransomware that took down a large chunk of Britain's National Health Service, amongst …

  1. Mark 85 Silver badge


    a) He solved the WannaCry problem and was able to stop it dead in his tracks.

    b) All white hats started out as black hats, so he did something "bad"... He attended a Black Hat conference.

    c) He's guilty, pick him up, Danoo.

    d) Queue up appropriate theme music as the FBI with Jack Lord jump into a car and rush to make the arrest.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Timeline?

      It's book him Dano.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Timeline?

        "It's book him Dano."

        Not if you're hanging out of the car when it drives off at high speed.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who is benefiting

    from closing down the first crowd funding attempt?

    Three possibilities: (1) the authorities, (2) his alleged accomplices, and (3) random crims who want to waste their stolen credit cards on a stunt.

    (2) is unlikely because if he has a good defence he is less likely to dog on his accomplices. (3) is a bit absurd or whoever did it is just a vicious lowlife.

    However, the authorities stand to gain a lot by Marcus not having a good defence - their case might be flawed and weak, and unable to stand up to scrutiny. They have embarrassed themselves enough already, and not to get a conviction would be terribly humiliating and costly in terms of compensation.

    1. Adam 1 Silver badge

      Re: Who is benefiting

      > is unlikely because if he has a good defence he is less likely to dog on his [alleged] accomplices.


      You had it right in the previous paragraph but if he's innocent then he has no accomplices to which to "dog on".

    2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: Who is benefiting

      Possibly the FBI, but for once I'm turning my paranoia dial down a bit, and I'd say there are some unhappy people out there (the ones behind WannaCry) who probably have access to an awful lot of stolen CC details!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Who is benefiting

      Probably just those who wanted to benefit from Wannacry or an NHS boss... ;)

      1. Justice

        Re: Who is benefiting

        Perhaps look at those who arrested him. He majorly rained on someone's parade. Grudge?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Who is benefiting

      I think you need to look up 'non sequitur'

    5. 2460 Something
      Big Brother

      Re: Who is benefiting

      I find it difficult to not be paranoid in instances like these. Not am I paranoid, but more am I paranoid enough?

  3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Big Brother

    "but without the usual restrictions on internet use..usually accompany.. crime accusations. "

    Unrestricted <> unmonitored.

    You can bet they will be hoping he will either do something to incriminate himself or allow they an opportunity to add spyware (if they haven't already done so).

    He'd be wise to abandon it when leaves and take nothing off it. Any file he removes must be viewed as contaminated.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: "but without the usual restrictions on internet use..usually accompany.. crime accusations. "

      Hope as a security bod he can spot malware on his systems... of course he can do little if they intercept communications. When returning to England, I would bring with me everything I can, an thoroughly analyze it....

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lucy was on twitter a few days ago

    I notice he is still using pastebin. Is that what sensible people use when they want to share and are fighting a legal defence?

    Isn't it full of credit card numbers, malware and pink links?

  5. david 12 Bronze badge

    Still looks like a DOS attack against a security white hat.

  6. Hollerithevo Silver badge

    Thanks for the link

    Glad to be able to do the right thing.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To get justice in the US... need money or allies prepared to give it to you.

    This is all kinds of fucked up.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: To get justice in the US...

      Or if you need help and you can find them...The A Team.

      1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

        Re: To get justice in the US...

        "I ain't gettin' on no plane, fool" - maybe Mr T was right all along?

    2. Adam 52 Silver badge

      Re: To get justice in the US...

      Not just the US. Can't, at the moment, think of any jurisdiction that offers a fair trial to the poor or middle incomes. Certainly not England.

  8. Mr Sceptical

    No travel insurance?

    Serious question:

    Did he REALLY go to the US without travel insurance? There's no way I'd even consider it, mainly because a simple hospital visit could bankrupt you with ease. Not that I've been there this decade or planning to either but I always took out cover in the past.

    Most policies will include legal expenses cover, so did his not include that? Considering how litigious they are over there and what line of work he's in, wouldn't that be a sensible precaution?

    Chalk it up to the innocence of youth if he had no insurance, but bet he will if he ever goes there again!

    Saying all that, I'm hoping 'justice' will be done in the way we're all hoping and he's safely back over here soon (no doubt working under the oversight of the hobnailed boots of GHCQ).

    1. Neil McCauley

      Re: No travel insurance?

      It's possible Marcus had insurance which included legal cover, but that the company isn't paying out. Given that the offences he's accused of didn't happen during his trip to Vegas, the company may be treating it as the legal equivalent of a previously existing condition.

      1. Mr Sceptical

        Re: No travel insurance?

        Good point - would be a typical insurer trying to wriggle out of a payout.

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge

          Re: No travel insurance?

          "would be a typical insurer trying to wriggle out of a payout."

          in a way, can you blame them? [not saying it's ethical]

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: No travel insurance?

            "in a way, can you blame them?"

            Yes. Selling insurance requires persuading potential customers that they'll get the payment they need when they need it. Weaselling persuades them that they won't. More weasel, less sales.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: No travel insurance?

              "More weasel, less sales."

              Elzar says...BAM!

  9. Bob Vistakin

    Security Now

    Not expressing an opinion here, just reporting on what was discussed on this weeks podcast, and elsewhere.

    Marcus is a malware software development expert - this is what he does for a living. Suppose he wrote WannaCry and it accidentally got out into the wild. He'd see the damage being done to the NHS etc, maybe panic, maybe want some glory or whatever. He'd be in the perfect place to miraculously discover the kill switch - a unique feature not generally found in other malware.

    MI5 knew the FBI would pick him up, so let him go there and thus avoided a very diplomatically messy extradition process/trial.

    God - I hope this is just speculation :-( Hmm - that is an opinion, I guess.

    1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge

      Re: Security Now

      1: He certainly didn't want the glory, hence he was writing under a pseudonym.

      2: Noticing queries for a domain from malware is trivial, especially for a malware researcher. Others hadn't registered the domain because they didn't know if it was a "stop spreading" trigger or a "destroy everything" one.

    2. Not also known as SC

      Re: Security Now

      Wonder why you were voted down? All you've done is repeat a discussion about the possibility that he might be guilty. You even state at the end you hope this is just speculation. So were you down voted for repeating the speculation which must have entered other people's minds, or were you down voted for wishing this was just speculation?

      1. FlamingDeath Bronze badge

        Re: Security Now

        "Wonder why you were voted down?"

        Because it's the internet, and you can't extrapolate anything meaningful from social media. A forum account is not a person, a person can be the owner of many accounts. Not saying that is what is happening here, but, just sayin in case you forget

        Some advice, don't take any credence to thumbs up / thumbs down on the internet.

        Astroturfing is a thing, just ask Bell Pottinger

  10. Aodhhan Bronze badge

    First - Hutchins can be represented without having to pay anything at all.

    --- A high profile grand jury indictment means the public defender would likely seek out a private lawyer for pro-bono representation

    --- A high profile case where the evidence against the accused is questionable typically has lawyers jumping out trees to represent them. Here, the key is... the evidence has to be weak. In this case... it's not. The evidence is seemingly strong against him.

    If all you can do is raise $15K for a case like this... you're only going to afford one lawyer, likely without a huge amount of experience to find ways to win on technicalities. This also doesn't afford specialized assistance or pay for good expert testimony. You might as well take a lawyer assigned by the public defender, where they pick up the tab and must ensure a competent defense for the accused.

    A decent lawyer costs around $800 to $1500 per hour. You only want your lawyer working 5 to 6 hours on your case... when at least 5-10 hours of this will be time in the courtroom.

    Based on the evidence in this case... assume he's going to be found guilty and will need to file for an appeal (in which case, you REALLY need to have a good lawyer, not to mention pick up the FULL tab), you better attempt to raise in excess of $150K. Look closer to $300K.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      "A decent lawyer costs around $800 to $1500 per hour"

      not necessarily. keep in mind that a lawyer probably has a 'legal team' and will hand off many tasks to team members, whose hourly rates will be significantly lower [please don't ask why I know this, k-thx]. Court appearances may be 'fixed fee' and you probably won't speak directly to the attorney except for the initial interviews and in the court room. Paperwork will be prepared by paralegals along with a lot of the research.

      So it's not THAT BAD, but still pretty expensive.

      [and pro bono attorneys are probably more likely to have you plead 'guilty' or 'no contest' to do a plea bargain, even if you're NOT guilty, which may end up being cheaper overall... if you can avoid jail anyway]

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "Here, the key is... the evidence has to be weak. In this case... it's not. The evidence is seemingly strong against him."

      What evidence? Where did you read it? Do you mean the redacted summary that was released? If so I've got news for you: that wasn't evidence. it was a summary of what the FBI hope to prove.

  11. John_Smith

    "the 23-year-old isn't that well off"

    I suppose that depends on your definition of "well off" but he certainly didn't seem to be short of a few bob when he was staying in a $1500 a night villa and renting a Lamborghini.

    1. Midnight

      I know, right? Most people who go on vacation just spend the whole week in a youth hostel reading paperback romance novels.

      It's unheard of for a 23 year old guy to be throwing money around like that, especially in Las Vegas, a city which prides itself on sober, quiet contemplation.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Sorry, I only back winners...

    The last crowd-funded thing I backed was the Vega+ console. It's definitely turn up soon.

  13. fedupwithlogins

    Security Researcher ? Hero that stopped the NHS cyber attack ? Did he ask if anyone was looking at the data source/domain ? Did he find out if anyone was working on this ... that maybe there was a trigger behind the domain registering that would cause mass destruction and untold record loss for 65 million peoples medical records ?

    No he just went ahead and did it ....

    Now past deeds are catching up with him, did he research the consequences of any of these ?

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