Marcus Hutchins, the British researcher who stopped the May WannaCry hack, has been arrested by the FBI in Las Vegas for allegedly playing a role in creating the "Kronos" malware that targeted bank accounts, per The Guardian. The WannaCry attack crippled healthcare operations in the UK and hit dozens of countries.

About Kronos: It spread between 2014 and 2015 through emails with malicious attachments, such as compromised Word documents, with the aim of getting banking credentials. New infections occurred through 2016.

Hutchins' charges: The Department of Justice released the allegations about Hutchins' role in the Kronos hack, claiming he helped create, spread, and maintain the hack. Hutchins faces six counts of hacking-related charges. There is another, unnamed co-defendant, who allegedly tried selling the malware on AlphaBay, a darknet marketplace, which was shut down July 20 when the FBI and European authorities seized its servers.

Note: Ryan Kalember of Proofpoint said "This could very easily be the FBI mistaking legitimate research activity with being in control of Kronos infrastructure. Lots of researchers like to log in to crimeware tools and interfaces and play around."

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted COVID relief bill McConnell urges White House not to strike stimulus deal before election.
  2. Economy: Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet).
  3. Health: Studies show drop in COVID death rate — The next wave is gaining steam — The overwhelming aftershocks of the pandemic.
  4. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots — San Francisco public schools likely won't reopen before the end of the year.

Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted COVID relief bill

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Senate Democrats on Wednesday blocked a vote on Republicans' $500 billion targeted COVID-19 relief bill, a far less comprehensive package than the $1.8 trillion+ deal currently being negotiated between the Trump administration and House Democrats.

Why it matters: There's little appetite in the Senate for a stimulus bill with a price tag as large as what President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have been calling for. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) "skinny" proposal was mostly seen as a political maneuver, as it had little chance of making it out of the Senate.

The hazy line between politics and influence campaigns

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The recent firestorm over the New York Post’s publication of stories relying on data from a hard drive allegedly belonging to Hunter Biden shows the increasingly hazy line between domestic political “dirty tricks” and a foreign-sponsored disinformation operation.

Why it matters: This haziness could give determined actors cover to conduct influence operations aimed at undermining U.S. democracy through channels that just look like old-fashioned hard-nosed politics.

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