Michigan man helps stop global cyber security attack

Posted at 5:27 PM, May 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-15 17:27:40-04

“Personally, I really feel like I didn't play a huge role in everything,” said Darien Huss, of the cyber-security company Proofpoint, when asked by reporters about his role in stopping a global cyber attack.

Darien Huss, from Fremont, in Newaygo County on Michigan’s west side, is clearly humble.

So, let us tell you what he did.

Investigators say a group of hackers used software that locks down all computer files. They then demanded ransom from anyone who wanted their files released.

They spread their ransomware quickly, taking over more than 200,000 computers in 150 countries. It literally put lives at risk. Just one example, the National Health Service in Britain was compromised, leading to the misdirecting of ambulances and forcing some emergency rooms to shut down.

“It was not a good scene on Friday at all, with hospitals and train stations all suffering from this ransomware outbreak,” said Ryan Kalember, Senior Vice President of Cyber Security at ProofPoint.

Kalembar said Darien was assigned to reverse engineer the code-and find a way to stop it.

“He is one of the best in the world at it, and he is also really fast, which is important in keeping our customers safe,” said Kalembar.

“All I really did is figure out that there was a kill switch feature,” said Huss. “It just goes to show how interconnected our world is and how something so simple can have a devastating impact on everybody.”

People paid thousands of dollars around the world in ransom before Darien found the kill switch. What he did allowed Microsoft and others to take action to stop the spread of this malware, protecting lives and property.

Darien says from what he saw, the hackers left a cyber trail. He believes law enforcement around the world will be able to bring them to justice.