CYBERSECURITY
More charges filed in Kronos malware case

A British cybersecurity researcher credited with stopping a worldwide computer virus last year faces charges of lying to the FBI in an updated indictment accusing him of developing malware to steal banking information.

Marcus Hutchins, 23, faces 10 charges alleging that he created and distributed malware known as Kronos, including four new charges in the indictment filed Wednesday in the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

Moments after the charges were filed, Hutchins sent tweets asking for donations for his defense and disparaging prosecutors.

He has pleaded not guilty.

Hutchins’s arrest was a shock because months earlier he had been praised for finding a “kill switch” to the WannaCry virus that crippled computers worldwide.

The updated indictment contains new details of the FBI probe of Hutchins, including aliases of people he allegedly conspired with online to advertise and sell Kronos.

— Associated Press

WORKPLACE
Walmart settles gender harassment case

Walmart on Wednesday settled a lawsuit by a transgender former employee who accused the retail giant of unlawfully firing her for complaining about harassment.

Walmart and the plaintiff, Charlene Bost, did not disclose the terms of the settlement in a joint filing agreeing to dismiss the case in federal court in Greensboro, N.C. The company did not admit to wrongdoing.

“While we have strong anti-discrimination policies, we are glad we could resolve this matter with Ms. Bost,” Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove said.

The Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, which represents Bost, said Bost was pleased with the settlement.

Bost sued Walmart in December, claiming that her co-workers at a Kannapolis, N.C., Sam’s Club store called her “sir,” “that thing with an attitude” and other names. She also said her male boss made unwanted physical advances and referred to her as “it.”

Walmart owns Sam’s Club.

Bost said she was fired in March 2015 in retaliation for complaining to supervisors about harassment.

— Reuters

Also in Business

Record exports shaved the U.S. trade deficit in April for the second straight month. But so far this year, the deficit is up 11.5 percent from a year ago despite President Trump's vow to reduce the gap through new import tariffs and renegotiated trade deals. The Commerce Department said Wednesday the trade deficit dropped to $46.2 billion in April, down from $47.2 billion in March and the lowest since September. Exports rose to a record $211.2 billion; imports dipped to $257.4 billion. The trade deficit in goods with China widened by 8.1 percent in April; the gap with Mexico narrowed by 29.8 percent.

U.S. productivity grew at an annual rate of just 0.4 percent in the first quarter, even weaker than initially estimated, while labor costs rose at a bit faster pace. The Labor Department said Wednesday that the January-March productivity increase was revised down from the 0.7 percent gain initially estimated a month ago. Labor costs rose 2.9 percent, up from an initial estimate of a 2.7 percent gain in the first quarter.

— From news reports

Coming today

10 a.m.: Freddie Mac releases weekly mortgage rates.

3 p.m.: Federal Reserve releases consumer credit data for April.