August 4, 2017 / 11:27 PM / 17 days ago

British cyber expert arrested in U.S. gets support from MP

(Reuters) - A British cyber security researcher arrested in the United States on hacking charges has gained the support of his MP in England.

Marcus Hutchins, 23, widely credited with helping neutralise the global "WannaCry" ransomware attack, was arrested on charges he conspired to sell malware that steals online banking credentials and credit card data, a court filing unsealed on Thursday showed.

In a statement issued Friday, Peter Heaton-Jones, MP for North Devon, expressed his concern at Hutchins' arrest.

"People who know him in Ilfracombe, and in the wider cyber-community, are astounded at the allegations against him," Heaton-Jones said, referring to the town in Devon where Hutchins is originally from.

The Conservative Party politician credited Hutchins' role in protecting Britain's National Health Service and other institutions from the "WannaCry" attacks earlier this year.

He said he had written to British foreign minister Alan Duncan seeking assurances Hutchins was receiving consular assistance and would get independent legal representation.

A U.S. official said Hutchins' case was unrelated to the WannaCry attack.

Reporting by Shalini Nagarajan in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrew Hay

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