British intelligence officials allowed a security researcher recently hailed as a hero to travel to Nevada, where they knew he would be arrested, in the hopes of avoiding the “headache of an extradition battle,” the Sunday Times reported.
Marcus Hutchins, who discovered a flaw in and stopped the rapid spread of WannaCry ransomware, was arrested in early August following the DEF CON cybersecurity conference for his alleged role in creating malware used to steal banking credentials.
U.S. law enforcement officials believe that Hutchins helped design and sell the unrelated Kronos malware years ago.
“Our U.S. partners aren’t impressed that some people who they believe to have cases against [them] for computer-related offences have managed to avoid extradition. Hutchins’s arrest freed the British government and intelligence agencies from yet another headache of an extradition battle,” one source told the British newspaper.