A self taught programmer and surfer who lives in the south west of England yesterday managed to crack a hole in the ransomware programme that has been wreaking havoc on the NHS.
The 22 year old, known only by his online pseudonym of ‘malware tech’, is being hailed as a hero online after he discovered a flaw in the ransomeware’s source code which allowed him to stop it in its tracks. He was supposed to be on holiday last week, but after reading online about the attack on the NHS, he decided to take a look at the ransomware’s code. Within it he discovered a reference to an unregistered domain name, which he presumed had been accidentally left in after the testing phase of the software. By registering the name and directing it to a ‘server sinkhole’, he managed to render the programme useless (you can read a more techy version of how he did it here, or just ask the computer geeks in the office tomorrow).
‘Malware tech’ is completely self taught, and despite working for a ‘private intel threat firm’ based in LA, lives in the south west, reportedly because he wants to be close to the surf.
Newquay today *drool* pic.twitter.com/LzI4k9tT0k
— MalwareTech (@MalwareTechBlog) February 3, 2017
‘I’m not a graduate.’ he explained in an interview with the DM. ‘I had planned to go to university but ended up getting offered a job in security a year prior, so I took it,’ he said. ‘I’m completely self taught so in hindsight university would probably not have been worth the time or money.’
‘I love to surf in my free time so that vastly limits where I’d like to live,’ he told a friend online last year.
@MalwareTechBlog I could move to a city, but where in a city would I get this view 🙁 pic.twitter.com/HXiJ5FOI5N
— MalwareTech (@MalwareTechBlog) August 19, 2016
A quick scroll through the comments section of the story on the Daily Mail reveals the usual smorgasbord of confusion and inexplicable anger. ‘Surf the waves or surf the web???’ cried one ‘A surf dude, what the f888 country does this rag think its in?!’ hollered another, however many were quick to praise the young man, with one commenter even deciding that he deserved the prize we all most seek in life, writing: ‘Give him a job with hours he can surf as much as he wants’.