Since Friday, 12 May, the world has been hit by a massive cyber attack. It has affected 230,000 computers in 150 countries, leading to crises in hospitals, schools, government offices, and any industry that relied on computers – which is to say, all industries. The attack has been described by Europol, Europe’s police agency, as “unprecedented”, and it continues to affect computers around the world, with analysts warning about the possibility of renewed attacks in coming days.
Friday’s attack was slackened after a random researcher accidentally found a kill switch to combat the malware’s – WannaCry’s – spread. Had the kill switch not been discovered, the impact would have invariably been far more catastrophic.
It was soon revealed that the saviour was a 22-year-old British national who is known online as MalwareTech. His “accidental” discovery led to the halt of what could invariably have escalated into a global crisis. Since then, he has been the subject of great media intrigue, with reporters clamouring to secure an interview with him, and many even gathering outside his residence. He has been irked by the media interest and has requested to be left alone.
Meanwhile, HackerOne, a platform that lets security professionals responsibly report potential security issues in software, often in return for a cash reward, in recognition of MalwareTech’s efforts, offered him a $10,000 bounty. They wrote, “Thank you for your active research into this malware and for making the internet safer!”
It has now been revealed that MalwareTech has donated the $10,000 reward to charity.
“I plan on holding a vote to decide which charities will get the majority of the money,” he wrote after HackerOne’s announcement. “The rest will go to buying books/resources for people looking to get into [information security] who can’t afford them.”
In a message, MalwareTech told Business Insider he hadn’t decided the sort of charities he would give the reward to, and that he planned “to let people suggest which they think is best.”
“I don’t do what I do for money or fame,” he said. “I’d rather give the money to people who need it.”
So why does he do what he does? “Because it helps people, and I enjoy it,” he said.