WannaCry cyber attack 'accidental hero' fears for his safety

WannaCry cyber attack 'accidental hero' fears for his safety

The British IT expert who slowed the spread of the WannaCry global cyber attack now fears for his safety.

The security researcher, who is 22, was hailed an "accidental hero" for his discovery of the virus' kill switch.

However he has said he is now concerned that "terrible things" may be done in retaliation for his efforts.

An international operation is underway to find the perpetrators behind the unprecedented attack that has infected 200,000 machines in 150 countries since Friday.

Speaking to MailOnline, the cyber specialist, known as MalwareTech, said: "In future someone might want to retaliate - they could find my identity within seconds. If they know where I live, they could really do anything."

He referred to the case of another security blogger who was subject to intimidation, including death threats, after his identity was leaked online.

"I've seen posts about the terrible things people have done to him and for me in future it could be the same things," MalwareTech said.

Writing on his Twitter account, he said journalists had already tracked down a friend, whose photograph was published in the press and turned up at her house, saying: "Please if you want an interview that badly, DM me."

The online community pleaded for his identity not to be outed online - a research process known as "doxing" - to protect him.

MalwareTech himself wrote: "I always thought I'd be doxed by skids (people in hacking forums), but turns out Journalists are 100x better at doxing."

But he added: "I guess the upside is now I can be a selfie queen and livestream because I've got no opsec (operations security) left."

The keen surfer, who reportedly lives in the south of England, was praised by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) for his part in tackling the ransomware's propagation around the world.

He became an international sensation after he prevented hundreds of thousands of computers from being infected by the virus that wreaked havoc across the NHS.

The blogger said he was "jumping around a room with the excitement" after he discovered that activating a specific web domain could disable the worm.

MalwareTech said he had also been providing the NCSC with data to help notify infected companies, warning that computers which had not had their security brought up to date will be vulnerable to further attack.

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