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The dark secrets of Hacking Hero Marcus Hutchins

In May of In 2017, Marcus Hutchins saved the Internet. A malicious ransomware attack called WannaCry infected computer systems in dozens of countries. It was the worst cyberattack in history at the time and didn’t seem to stop. But Hutchins, a 23-year-old hacker in Ilfracombe, England, discovered a secret kill switch that prevented the malware from spreading. Hutchins became a celebrity overnight, and the hacker community and the media welcomed him as a hero. But all the newly discovered attention wasn’t good for him. The FBI arrested Marcus three months after the malware was defeated, not because of his involvement in WannaCry, but because of a number of past illegal activities that he had kept secret.

This week at Gadget Lab, WIRED writer Andy Greenberg talks to us about Hutchin̵

7;s remarkable story. In the second half of the show, Andy tells us about efforts to set up a contact tracking system to monitor the spread of the coronavirus.

Show notes

Read Andy’s cover story here about the hacker who saved the Internet. His story about contact tracking in India is here. Also check out Andy’s book. Sandworm. Read more about the WannaCry ransomware attack here. Track all of WIRED’s cyber security coverage here.


Andy recommends the book The genius by Evan Ratliff. Lauren recommends NPR’s Planet Money podcast. Mike recommends The New York Times Magazine Story “What happened to Val Kilmer? He’s just starting to find out. “

Andy Greenberg can be found on Twitter @a_greenberg. Lauren Goode is @LaurenGoode. Michael Calore is @Snack fight. Bling the main hotline at @GadgetLab. The show is hosted by Boone Ashworth (@Booneashworth). Our executive producer is Alex Kapelman (@alexkapelman). Our theme music comes from Solar Keys.

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