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Government The Courts United States

US Piles New Charges on Marcus Hutchins (aka MalwareTech) (bleepingcomputer.com) 104

British cyber-security researcher Marcus Hutchins, who has been credited with stopping the spread of WannaCry, is now facing four more charges related to separate malware he is alleged to have created. BleepingComputer reports: According to court documents, the new charges are for allegedly creating another piece of malware and for lying to the FBI. Hutchins had previously been accused of creating and selling the Kronos banking trojan last year. But in a superseding indictment filed this week, U.S. prosecutors claim Hutchins also coded and sold another piece of malware called the UPAS Kit. According to US prosecutors, UPAS Kit "used a form grabber and web injects to intercept and collect personal information from a protected computer," and "allowed for the unauthorized exfiltration of information from protected computers." The U.S. government claims Hutchins sold this second malware strain in July 2012 to a person going by the online pseudonym of Aurora123, who later infected US users. Hutchins expressed disappointment on the development, tweeting, "Spend months and $100k+ fighting this case, then they go and reset the clock by adding even more bullshit charges like 'lying to the FBI.' We require more minerals." In a subsequent tweet, he requested people to help him with the cost of legal proceedings.

US Piles New Charges on Marcus Hutchins (aka MalwareTech)

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Maybe so?

  • "Lying to the FBI" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 07, 2018 @10:56AM (#56742778)

    "Lying to the FBI" is what you get charged with when they can't find anything else.

    Hell, they'll even manufacture a claim of "witness tampering" over a one-minute phone call and a text saying "We need to talk".

    • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

      It's akin to "hate crime", where they pretend to know what the accused was thinking.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 07, 2018 @01:18PM (#56743840)

      "Lying to the FBI" is what you get charged with when they can't find anything else.

      Or, you know, when you've been found to have lied to the FBI -- which is an actual crime.

      Hell, they'll even manufacture a claim of "witness tampering" over a one-minute phone call and a text saying "We need to talk".

      If someone is a witness for the case against you, and you know this, saying "we need to talk" is illegal. That's actual witness tampering ... again, an actual crime, because you are barred from communicating with them precisely to prevent you from trying to get your stories straight.

      You seem to be suggesting that actual crimes shouldn't be treated as actual crimes. Which tells me you've drank way too much of the kool-aid.

      So, ask yourself this in your twisted little partisan mind ... if the tables were turned, and your 'crooked Hillary' was caught lying to the FBI and trying to get together with witnesses against her ... would you be saying the same thing? My guess is no, you'd be shrieking loudly about how she'd breaking the law.

      If you think it's only legal when your team is the one committing the crimes, you're a fucking moron.

      The only ones defending lying to the FBI and witness tampering are the ones who think the law doesn't apply to them. Fuck those people, they're so fucking crooked it isn't funny.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        Lying without having taken an official spoken oath to tell the truth should never be a crime. It's fucking stupid that in a free country we can be imprisoned for not being truthful to law enforcement. It is their job to decide if what is being said is true or false. There should be no obligation on pain of taking all freedoms away to speak the truth.
        • Which is why whenever the FBI asks to speak to you your answer should be, "I have nothing to say in the absence of my lawyer."

          When they ask you to go with them ask if you are under arrest or detainment. If the answer is no, politely decline. If the take you anyway say nothing until you can contact your lawyer.

      • Lying to the FBI definitely should not be a crime. They use this to nail people who are otherwise innocent (Martha Stewart), to pressure people into pkea bargains, etc.. Often it's bullshit, because misstatements or fallible memories are errors, not lying. Or they pressure you and trick you into a misstatement.

        • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

          No problem, never want to get busted by the FBI for lying to them, all to easy, simply express you opinion always, never ever make statements of fact ie I believe this happened, I remember this, in my opinion. Don't even make statements of fake, only express you opinion on what you believed occurred but you can't be certain. If you are not sure, clearly state you are not sure and you should always be not sure. First choice, don't answer questions, second choice do it all in writing, written questions and an

          • More importantly, never talk to them without a lawyer, and never ignore your lawyers advice about what to answer or how to answer it because you think you know better or because you think you can 'clear it up'. They love people who think they're clever.
      • You probably believe the FBI every time they claim to have found child porn on machines they had compromised months before (see: lavabit) . Naiive. I bet the FBI is thrilled to have lapdogs like you.
      • Lying to the FBI: FBI Agent: Where were at 2:45a.m. on May 27th? Patsy: Uh. I don't know. Asleep? FBI Agent: You're lying. We have wiretap data that shows you were talking on your phone, Patsy: Oh. that's right. It was a wrong number that woke me up in the middle of the night. FBI Agent: Too late. Book him Dano. Charge: lying to the FBI.
  • by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Thursday June 07, 2018 @10:58AM (#56742782) Journal

    The "Lying to the FBI" (or other lying to cops) charge is one of the several reasons you Never Talk to Police [youtube.com].

    See the above video for a law professor's lecture on many more.

    Instead you ALWAYS exercise your Fifth Amendment privilege to remain silent. ESPECIALLY if you're innocent. ANYTHING you tell them "can and will be used against you".

    Even if it's true, somebody else may have told them something conflicting - through error or malice - and the police and prosecutors may then decide you're lying. Bingo: Both a criminal charge and the burden of proof switches from them proving you're guilty to you proving you're innocent.

    • by ytene ( 4376651 )
      I don't disagree with you, but this raises a question.

      Marcus Hutchins is a UK citizen, facing US justice. Can he legally take the 5th? Does the 5th Amendment of the US Constitution extend to apply to anyone charged under US law, or does it just apply to US citizens charged under US law?

      One way to think about this would be to consider the reciprocal. If a US citizen were charged in the UK under UK law, could that citizen claim the right to silence courtesy of the 5th Amendment? I don't think they could
      • by b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) on Thursday June 07, 2018 @11:10AM (#56742866)
        The Constitution applies to all people on US soil, not just citizens.
      • England also has a 'right to remain silent'. But they can hold your silence against you, if you later claim a defense you didn't speak about during initial interrogation.

        Not an English shyster, but silence is still your best bet. England also has volumes of unenforced laws, they all commit 3 felonies/day, same as Americans.

        • by XXongo ( 3986865 )

          England also has a 'right to remain silent'. But they can hold your silence against you, if you later claim a defense you didn't speak about during initial interrogation.

          In England, maybe, but not in America.

          You can't bring up a new defense after the trial, but no, you don't have to bring up a defense until after you talk to a lawyer, and being silent before you consult a lawyer explicitly can not legally be used against you.

        • In the US, your silence can be used against when under oath, sometimes, but not usually otherwise. IE if you take the witness stand, you cannot just answer the defenses questions, once you answer questions about an event, generally you have to answer all questions about that event, or your silence can be used to weigh your other testimony. But since testimony given to a police... is not "on the record" and it cannot be brought up in your defense, you can go silent at anytime. I think because the prosecut

      • by flink ( 18449 )

        The 5th amendment enumerates a right, but it is couched in the form of a restraint on the governemnt's power to compel testimony: "No person... shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself".

        In theory, anyone anywhere has the right not to answer a question posed by a member of the US government or their representative if responding might cause them to provide incriminating evidence. In practice, if you are in a foreign country, good luck exercising this right: the US will just hav

    • It's not like refusing to even talk to the police or pleading the 5th to every question isn't going to make you look really suspicious even if you're completely innocent. Oh wait...
      • It's not like refusing to even talk to the police or pleading the 5th to every question isn't going to make you look really suspicious even if you're completely innocent. Oh wait...

        No you're already suspicious. The point is not giving an inch of rope to the hangman.

        Also nickname checks out :-)

        • Maybe you should think before you talk? Because talking actually gives you the opportunity to lower suspicion while refusing to do so can only have the exact opposite effect.
  • The government has infinite resources to deploy when it decides you have to get 'got'. I've long thought that we need a new form of Miranda in which if you're involved in a civil or criminal matter vs the government and you prevail, you get all your legal fees reimbursed, aka "loser pays". That's the only chance there is of leveling the playing field.
    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      Well, since the government side of this is essentially operating like organized crime, I doubt this will help. Also, they can just endlessly level charges against you until you run out of money and with no risk whatsoever to them. They can essentially be evil to an unlimited degree as long as they formally follow the rules enough so you cannot prove anything against them and make it stick. This means they can figuratively (and if they send the cops in just the right way also literally) kill anybody they do

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by HornWumpus ( 783565 )

        On the flip side I know a CA shyster, one of his most lucrative fields is 'uncopping' a cop. If you have high five figures to spend, he will just go at the cop administratively and legally until his is unbondable (claiming he is working 'pro bono' for all people that fill out a complaint against said cop).

        Then his employer will fire him and he will be a mall cop. Then whichever rich person this cop helped convict gets a new trial. All during this process the cop doesn't even know who is paying the bills

        • I don't know about you, but to me that sounds like it's only making things worse and not better with the way you can use it to overturn even perfectly legitimate convictions.
        • On the flip side I know a CA shyster, one of his most lucrative fields is 'uncopping' a cop. If you have high five figures to spend, he will just go at the cop administratively and legally until his is unbondable (claiming he is working 'pro bono' for all people that fill out a complaint against said cop).

          Then his employer will fire him and he will be a mall cop. Then whichever rich person this cop helped convict gets a new trial. All during this process the cop doesn't even know who is paying the bills to end his fun.

          As corrupt as that process is, it's about the only check left on cops power.

          Corruption is never a check on corruption, it just yields yet more corruption. This is not a check on a cops power, it's a way for the rick to buy their way out.

    • > The government has infinite resources

      You say that like the government in the US is a single entity. I know the local DA where I lived on average had less than a hour, to prosecute.

      This made it very difficult on things like Drunk Driving, spousal abuse... Anyone who could spend $1000 on a defense was virtually guaranteed no, or at worst a plea with little punishment (other than the money spent.) Also makes it very difficult on the victims to get any relief if they didn't have the same resources as the

  • He should have never come to the US... the US is known for kidnapping people that make it uncomfortable. North Korean/Iranian tactics right here on US soil.
  • The Prison-Industrial Complex of America. Big Corrections is hungry for profits.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Oh please. Less than 13% of federal prisoners are are in private prisons.

  • I know "Innocent until proven guilty" is kind of a cornerstone of western legal systems, but it seems like many are taking it a tad too far with the general stance here is that he can't possibly be guilty. Even thou there's loads of ex cybercriminals working in the infosec industry these days, many of them openly and some of them are even open about the convictions they've received.
    • by XXongo ( 3986865 )

      yes, the real answer is we haven't seen the evidence, and we simply don't know; we don't have the information to know.

      He says he didn't do it. But that doesn't really count for much.

      • The fact that the FBI agents have, on the stand and on court documents, been caught misstating facts or outright lying, counts for a good bit too.

        See the Empty Wheel take on this story. (Googling left to the reader.)

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