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Marcus Hutchins, cybersecurity hero turned cybercrime defendant, starts telling his story
"I was shaking, I think I sweat through my t-shirt and through my blazer. I did not know how to feel - it just felt like everything was coming to an end but not in a good way..."
For Marcus Hutchins, a dream that had turned into a nightmare ended in July with a compassionate sentence by a judge in Milwaukee. "I just got out of my court hearing for the sentencing, of course. I wasn't really sure how it was going to go down, I was very, very nervous", he told us right after leaving the courtroom. "But the judge took a very broad view of the entire circumstances rather than just the case at hand - he weighed up my past work helping security. He also went into the unique circumstances of me being stuck in a foreign country instead of at home. And he ended up ruling 'time served', which was actually a big surprise to me. But looking back it does make sense when you weigh in the fact that I've not been at home, I've been forced to stay in a foreign country for two years."
Hutchins became a cybersecurity celebrity from one day to another in 2017. "I came back from lunch, saw all the news about something targeting the NHS and so I decided to dig a little deeper into what it does, which was when I noticed that there was an unregistered domain inside the code", he recalls what happened that day. He registered the domain and the infection count went down. He had - rather accidentally - found the kill switch for the Wanna Cry epidemic.
Coming in October: WannaCry - The Marcus Hutchins StoryMarcus Hutchins, the cybersecurity hero who stopped WannaCry turned cybercrime defendant, tells his story in this exclusive documentary. Coming to YouTube en...
It changed his life - he became a hero, just to fall to zero a few weeks after. "I woke up on, I believe, a Sunday morning to see my face over a two page spread of the Daily Mail. Media had actually posted my address in the paper, which meant now I had the risk of the bad guys I am fighting, knowing where I live."
Hutchins is a calm and friendly personality, and he pleaded guilty to a dark past. He had created a banking malware called Kronos and sold it through an online marketplace. It's unclear if it was his sudden fame that sparked the FBI's interest in Hutchins or if they had been after him before, but it didn't take long until his short period of heroism was over.
He spent a few days of vacation at the hacker conference DefCon in Las Vegas. With friends he shared a mansion with a huge pool (as they figured out it was cheaper than booking hotel rooms for all of them). They celebrated more than actually participating in the conference - with a 30 bedroom mansion, huge pool, sports cars. Back at the airport, though, the party was over. "At this point, I am completely exhausted, I have no idea what's going on anymore and I am just relaxing in the lounge waiting for my flight. And a man and two other people in uniform approached me and asked: are you Marcus Hutchins? I said yes and they asked me to come with them. It turned out the guy was actually an FBI agent and that's when they arrested me".
Two years later he left the court, clearly not a hero anymore. Yet, a free man.
See his story and the story of WannaCry in the second part of our hacker:HUNTER series: WannaCry - The Marcus Hutchins Story. On Tomorrow Unlocked at the end of October.
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- Man who stopped WannaCry cyberattack arrested for alleged bank ... ›
- Kronos, the banking Trojan created by the “hero” who stopped ... ›
- Briton who stopped WannaCry attack arrested over separate ... ›
- Bad news for WannaCry slayer Marcus Hutchins: Judge rules being ... ›
- Marcus Hutchins, 'MalwareTech' researcher, avoids prison in ... ›
- Marcus Hutchins: UK ransomware 'hero' pleads guilty to US hacking ... ›
- WannaCry Hero Marcus Hutchins' New Legal Woes Spell Trouble ... ›
- Marcus Hutchins, malware researcher and 'WannaCry hero ... ›
- Marcus Hutchins - Wikipedia ›
Do you have what it takes to lead a tech start-up?
Feeling like you're back to the same-old, job? It's frustrating when your ideas at work go unrecognized, for reasons outside of your control. What if you were making all the decisions? Do you have what it takes to lead your own tech start-up?
Here are six qualities that make a successful tech entrepreneur, coming from those who've broken the mold of what it means to be one.
1. You embrace diversity and don't let your gender hold you back<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTUxMzkwOS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0ODk1ODE5N30.jg7Bkw8n0XuzrplK4QKbrLdWA6vmZqrw0pMACBIsbYc/img.jpg?width=980" id="15281" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a49b04421925ef22c9fa90b54541eebb" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="3875" data-height="2580" />
Christina Morillo - Pexels.com<p>The tech industry benefits from diversity. But there are still perceived barriers for women, like lack of role models, stereotypes and inflexible working hours. The good news? Change is underway. A new <a href="https://kas.pr/wit2021" target="_blank">Kaspersky study</a> shows over half of women working in tech feel women are represented in leadership roles, and 7 in 10 feel confident and respected at work. </p><p>There's some way to go to having gender-balanced tech teams: only 1 in 10 work in female-majority teams, while 1 in 2 work in male-majority teams. Let's be the change we want to see – don't place limits on what you want to achieve in your career. </p>
2. Uncertainty doesn't faze you<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e279b9b5cf175f28af1deb8f11f2d528"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/OSE6Ja_vup8?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Starting a tech business is riddled with uncertainty. You need to be able to make a plan when the goalposts, and the ground beneath your feet, are moving. And you'll need to be able to adapt to change fast. You'll never have all the answers, but you'll still be able to see ways to move forward. Did you know that Tesla and SpaceX, both flagship companies of Elon Musk, came close to failing? The first electric car created by <a href="https://www.roadandtrack.com/new-cars/news/a29378/elon-musk-admits-to-shareholders-that-the-tesla-roadster-was-a-disaster/" target="_blank">Tesla, the Roadster, had big production problems</a> and <a href="https://timeline.com/spacex-musk-rocket-failures-c22975218fbe" target="_blank">SpaceX had many launch failures</a> before its final effort was a success.</p>
3. You're willing to develop, improve and even throw out your ideas<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="44880f393043d8c33c5dd6a095874418"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/6s2nzg2wxUw?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Tech entrepreneurs don't decide their 'baby' is the right solution and doggedly cling to it. Stories like that of <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Holmes" target="_blank">Elizabeth Holmes – inventor of the blood-test biochip that never existed</a> – show just how destructive hanging onto a dud idea can be.</p><p>Great tech entrepreneurs want to solve the problem more than they want to be right about how it's best solved. They're more interested in being useful than in being popular.</p>
4. You can be persuasive, but you're more substance than style<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="3406bbc59ae87c317b61874c3d06ec90"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ofz3iwX_x-o?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>When you run a start-up, you need to win people over to your idea, time and again. From securing funding to motivating your team, you need to be tireless in inspiring people to give you their best. And you're not just selling your product, you're selling yourself.</p><p>Contrary to popular belief, leaders don't need star quality – <a href="https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/insights/lindred-greer-great-leaders-understand-fundamentals" target="_blank">experience and skills predict success better than charisma</a>. But you do need to make people believe in what you can do. </p><p>The famous author and pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupéry once said: "If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea."</p>
5. You're happy to do whatever needs doing<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="34991cff9a653726279b601b5342c050"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/dN2JIp6u4r0?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Early in the life of your start-up, you'll need to turn your hand to all kinds of tasks that won't feel like what you were born to do. If you're the kind of person who tends to think, 'that's not my job,' or you've developed advanced skills in avoiding tasks you don't like, tech entrepreneurship may not be for you.</p><p>Did you know that the search engine and company we know as Google today, <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2018/09/04/8-surprising-facts-you-might-not-know-about-googles-early-days.html" target="_blank">has started as a PHD project</a>? At the beginning, the world wide web wasn't that big. As a matter of fact Larry Page, one of the founders of google collected the links on the web by hand. He didn't know exactly what to do with it but it seemed to be a good idea, because no one had ever collected the links before. This seems inconceivable today!</p>
6. You can cope with imperfection, and you're willing to put your ideas to the test<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzQxODY2NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxODEzNDg4N30.a6hft0WkTI5jrPrYxRpJcoojp8HMd2n2nCq_oxKSZIU/img.jpg?width=980" id="8a97d" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ac67d2d45957c27d9971c6709b1505c5" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1280" data-height="959" />
Free Creative Stuff - Pexels.com<p>Gone are the days when entrepreneurs jealously guarded their ideas up until the moment of a giant, glitzy launch. <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfect_is_the_enemy_of_good" target="_blank">Perfect is the enemy of good</a>. And in tech, it's usually much easier to get a prototype or beta version out to gauge the response than it is with other kinds of products.</p><p>As anyone who's done <a href="https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/user-research-what-it-is-and-why-you-should-do-it" target="_blank">user research</a> will tell you, the biggest shortcomings of products often aren't what the team thinks they are. Testing with real people isn't a luxury; it saves time and money.</p><p>Leading your own start-up almost always means working long hours and testing your skills to their limit. <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/neilpatel/2015/01/16/90-of-startups-will-fail-heres-what-you-need-to-know-about-the-10/#7f685a416679" target="_blank">Few succeed</a>, but if you have these six qualities, you have a great chance of being among those who do.</p>