Don't miss a story sign up to the North Devon Gazette's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Ilfracombe hero credited with halting the global cyber attack

PUBLISHED: 11:35 16 May 2017 | UPDATED: 09:36 17 May 2017

Ilfracombe's Marcus Hutchins has been branded a hero for slowing down the WannaCry global cyber attack. Picture: AP/Frank Augstein

Ilfracombe's Marcus Hutchins has been branded a hero for slowing down the WannaCry global cyber attack. Picture: AP/Frank Augstein

Marcus Hutchins, 22, from Ilfracombe, found a way to stop the virus that brought worldwide chaos on Friday

Marcus has been inundated with national media attention. Picture: AP/Frank Augstein Marcus has been inundated with national media attention. Picture: AP/Frank Augstein

An Ilfracombe computer expert has been credited with slowing the cyber attack that brought chaos worldwide.

Marcus Hutchins, 22, was hailed an ‘accidental hero’ after discovering the ‘kill switch’ that brought the WannaCry virus to a halt.

The ‘ransomware’ virus hit NHS systems across the UK and computers around the world, leaving users faced with a blocked screen and a demand for a ‘ransom’ otherwise their files would be rendered unusable.

Marcus, who works for Los Angeles-based Kryptos Logic but is from Ilfracombe, spent the weekend fighting against the virus that meant computer systems were able to return to relative normality.

He discovered that by registering a web domain it effectively halted the spread of the virus.

On his Twitter page under the name Malware Tech he said: “I will confess that I was unaware registering the domain would stop the malware until after I registered it, so initially it was accidental.”

But he went on to explain in his online blog that this was not done on a whim: “My job is to look for ways we can track and potentially stop botnets (and other kinds of malware),” he said.

He was helped to stop the virus by others in the industry, including researcher Darien Huss.

Since the attack his actions have prompted worldwide recognition and coverage across national newspapers and television.

Marcus tweeted on Monday that he had ‘three days with nearly no sleep’ and had been subjected to heavy national media attention.

Some news sources had reported he feared retribution for his efforts, but he tweeted: “For the record I don’t ‘fear for my safety’, I’m just unhappy with trying to help clear up Friday’s mess with the doorbell going constantly.”

Large swathes of the NHS were hit by the cyber attack on Friday, which hit 200,000 victims in 150 countries around the world.

Marcus thanked several individuals and organisations for their help, including the National Cyber Security Centre UK, the FBI and Microsoft.

In North Devon the attack did not have the same effect. A spokesman for Northern Devon Healthcare Trust said: “At this time, our systems are running normally.

“We have safeguards in place to continuously protect hospital computer systems from cyber-attacks and we have asked our staff to remain vigilant in light of national reports.”

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Other News Stories

10:10

The bid for funding for a £250million package of improvements to the North Devon Link Road will be handed in to Department for Transport on Monday

Read more
07:24

Firefighters free a woman who was ‘medically trapped’ in one of the cars

Read more
11:15

The Lundy Company has been fined £30,000 for safety failings after a worker was seriously injured when falling through a roof.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:27

Will festive video go viral? St Michael’s Nursery in Barnstaple is racking up the social media views for its Christmas video debut

Read more
Yesterday, 13:30

There are proposals for a cycle bridge across the North Devon Link Road from Seven Brethren in Barnstaple

Read more
Yesterday, 12:04

New leisure centre at Seven Brethren approved by council planning committee this morning (Wednesday)

Read more
Yesterday, 09:27

A teaching assistant is fundraising to bring her husband’s family to Devon for Christmas after their home was ravaged by a tropical hurricane. Can you help?

Read more
Tue, 19:06

The Gazette has been along to review Beauty and the Beats at the Queen’s Theatre in Barnstaple – have you got your tickets yet?

Read more
Tue, 17:30

The Appledore RNLI lifeboat was requested to transport a woman who needed hospital treatment after being injured on Lundy

Read more
Tue, 12:00

Dogs Trust Ilfracombe has revealed the bizarre excuses why people gave up their dog last Christmas, including ‘he was a secret Santa’ and ‘he pants too much’.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 6°C

min temp: 4°C

Most Read News

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
North Devon Football League
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Local business directory

North Devon's trusted business finder

Find planning applications