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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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Ultra-fast gaming and the sports of tomorrow, with Break the Record's Fredrik Lidholt
Completing a game more quickly than opponents is the goal of the esport of speedrunning. It could be Super Mario, Doom or any other game. This week we'll see which elite players can break the speed record playing Minecraft.
Speed is the name of the game
The Break the Record Live Series is a live-streamed event where elite gamers compete to be the fastest ever player. Next week, they'll try to break the Minecraft speed-playing record. The brains behind Break the Record, Fredrik Lidholt (aka Edenal) chats about the future of esports with Marco Preuss and Rainer Bock in the latest episode of Unlocked.
Find out more about next week's Minecraft event here!
Intro to cryptoart and non-fungible tokens (NFTS)
A non-fungible token (NFT) of digital kitten art sold for 170,000 US dollars. These tokens could change how we buy, sell and own digital media. What are they, and could they build a new creative economy? To start, check out the video above from CNBC!
Is this the art of true ownership in the digital age?
Most of us can make a GIF, take a picture or record a clip, but what if you could sell those and other digital media for hundreds of thousands of dollars? With the rise of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), pictures, short clips of comedians, GIFs and every other form of digital art is now being tokenized and sold just like a physical painting.
What is an NFT?
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are a digital certificate of ownership of a piece of digital information that can be bought and sold. It works the same way as cryptocurrency: Secure transactions made between two parties recorded permanently through blockchain. The difference is, with bitcoin – a popular cryptocurrency using blockchain – you can trade one coin for the other and it has the same value, but NFTs are one-of-a-kind. Each NFT is unique and can have a different value.
You can make NFTs of almost anything digital, but the big news is they're starting to be used to buy and sell digital art, known as cryptoart.
Why NFTs can benefit digital artists and art buyers
Uniqueness has always been central to the art market. Digital art is hard to sell, and for buyers, hard to 'own' because of the potential for an infinite number of copies. NFTs could solve that problem.
For creators, NFTs are super trendy and therefore add to your enigmatic status, and they have a handy sell-on feature. If you sell a GIF using NFTs, you get a percentage every time the NFT is sold to a new buyer. Imagine Van Gogh selling a painting, then getting a slice of every resale, forever.
And if you're a buyer, you have a concrete claim of owning a piece of digital art. And speaking of buying, you might want to see this.
A world gone mad for NFTs
The best way to understand the NFT market explosion is to see some pieces that have fetched crazy sums. Brace yourself.
This Nyan Cat GIF sold for almost $600,000 US dollars.
Grimes - The NFT goldrush continues
This 50-second video by Grimes sold for almost $390,000.
Watch the video here.
Beeple - Authenticated by blockchain
This video by Beeple sold for $6.6 million.
Watch the video here.
Crypto financial and environmental impacts
Many financial experts have warned that this could be an investment bubble that, if it bursts, could mean big losses.And while NFTs are making the digital art world fairer, they come with a warning. The sale of a crypto art piece can use the same amount of energy in one transaction as an art studio uses in two years.
How artists can benefit
If you're an aspiring or established artist or content creator, no promises, but this could be big for you. First, prepare your work ready, whether it's a GIF, picture or video. Then, when you're happy with it, start on NIfty Gateway. On Nifty Gateway, you can apply to create a project for them to sell.