Court documents filed Wednesday in the trial of British security expert and accused malware writer Marcus Hutchins have outlined the very limited evidence the US government is willing to throw at the case.
Hutchins came into the limelight after crippling the WannaCry ransomware attack earlier this year. He came over to the US from the UK for the DEF CON security conference season last month, and while waiting to fly back to Blighty was arrested by the FBI, with the British authorities looking the other way. The 23-year-old was charged with coding and selling the Kronos banking malware, which is still in circulation today.
Hutchins denies any wrongdoing.
This week's filing [PDF], to the Wisconsin court where Hutchins will be tried, shows that US prosecutors will submit two CDs of audio content – one from when the Brit was interrogated for 24 hours by FBI agents without access to a lawyer, and the other containing audio recordings from where he was held in county jail in Nevada.
The FBI has also submitted a disturbingly non-specific "3-4 samples of malware" and 150 pages of transcripts from Jabber chats between Hutchins and an unidentified individual.
Also included are another 350 pages of transcribed chats on an internet forum. These were obtained by the government in another district of the US. Hutchins and his legal team will be given a chance to see the government's evidence, albeit within a strict time limit.
"The parties agree that the case should be designated as complex. Information is still being obtained from multiple sources," the document states.
"The issues are complex. The defendant requests 45-60 days in which to review the discovery. The government notes that it is in agreement with the request."
The clock is now ticking. He's out on bail, confined to Los Angeles where his employer Kryptos Logic is based, and virtually live tweeting his unexpected life in America. His legal team, we're told, checks his tweets prior to publication.
"Daily life of someone who's just unwillingly moved out of [his] parents' house and to another country with no ID or house would make a great blog," he wrote. "Unfortunately it probably overlaps with the rule of 'don't talk about your case.'" ®