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If the internet has a soul, it has served up bad karma to Marcus Hutchins.
Hutchins, a security researcher a.k.a. "MalwareTech," allegedly created the Kronos malware that steals banking credentials. He has pleaded not guilty to criminal charges, but he is getting a crypto-type of payback.
Unknown sources have donated at least $150,000 to his legal defense fund -- from stolen credit cards or fake account information. Yep, payback is a bit.
Tor Ekeland, a hacker's attorney, started the fund for Hutchins. Ekeland is not representing him, but is known for helping struggling hackers, including Andrew "weev" Auehrnheimer.
Ekeland said the Hutchin's fund payment processor rejected most of the fake donations. He said any payments are being refunded to avoid legal problems.
"We don't want to take the risk of taking money that is fraudulent," he said. "We're not sure what is legitimate."
He said somebody may have run a "script with a bunch of bogus numbers."
Hutchins, a resident of the United Kingdom, was praised for slowing down the WCry ransomware that shut down computers around the world. But that notoriety turned against him when he was arrested later on unrelated charges that he helped create the Kronos virus.
In a federal indictment in Wisconsin, he is accused of developing the trojan and advertising it on the black market. It claims that Hutchins and a co-conspirator were responsible for a website video that showed how the "Kronos Banking trojan" works.
They allegedly offered to sell the malware for $3,000 and then sold it for $2,000 in crypto-currency. Hutchins is free on $300,000 bail.