Marcus Hutchins, the 23-year-old security professional who accidentally stopped the spread of the virulent WCry ransomware worm in May, was detained by law-enforcement authorities after attending the Defcon security convention last weekend, according to a close personal friend.
Hutchins was booked into the Henderson Detention Center in Nevada on Wednesday afternoon, according to a screenshot the friend captured of the facility website. When the friend visited the detention center on Thursday morning, he was told Hutchins was no longer there. The website mention of Hutchins was also gone. PJ Thomas, an administrator at the US Marshall office that the website referenced, said the agency has no record of Hutchins. The friend, citing privacy concerns, asked not to be identified by name in this article.
Hutchins spent the past week in Las Vegas as it hosted both the Black Hat and Defcon security gatherings. On late Wednesday morning, Hutchins and his friend parted ways as Hutchins left for the airport, where, his Twitter account shows, he tweeted over several hours. Then the account went silent—which the friend found odd, since Hutchins typically uses a plane's Wi-Fi service to stay in contact during flights. The first indication something was seriously wrong was when the friend heard from Hutchins' mother early Thursday morning, when she said Hutchins didn't arrive in the UK as planned.