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Man charged with spying on thousands of Mac users for 13 years
14 January 2018, 07:16 | Jodi Jackson
Federal Indictment Alleges 28-Year-Old Cleveland Man is Creator of 'Fruitfly' Malware, Spied on Thousands of Computers Over 13 Years
Starting in 2003 and running through last January, federal prosecutors assert that Durachinsky installed malware-which authorities later named "Fruitfly" - to steal passwords, tax records, medical documents, photographs, bank statements and sensitive personal communications. Law enforcement was able to trace Durachinsky, a Case Western alumnus, through his alumni email account, according tolast year'scomplaint. The suspect, in addition to allegedly targeting individuals, also allegedly infected computers belonging to police departments, schools, companies and the federal government, including the US Department of Energy.
The malware gave him access to data and allowed him to upload files, download and take screenshots, track keystrokes, and turn on the camera and microphone - and record it all.
The indictment claims he saved millions of images and kept detailed notes of what he saw.
"In certain cases, the Fruitfly malware alerted defendant if a user of an infected computer types certain words associated with pornography", the indictment says.
According to Forbes, the US Department of Justice has unveiled an indictment against 28-year-old North Royalton, Ohio, resident Phillip Durachinsky, who is not only accused of spying on Apple Mac owners via Fruitfly but producing kiddie porn.
Durachinsky is charged with computer fraud, wiretapping and child pornography production. The malware was an oddball in the context of modern malware: It used Perl, a programming language first developed in the late 1980s.
The current indictment does not list specific victims, but Durachinsky was arrested past year after a series of hacks at Case Western Reserve University were reported. But six months later, Patrick Wardle, now chief research officer at Digita Security, showed that the malware was still out in the wild, just not as widespread.
More intriguing still at the time, Malwarebytes found Windows-based malware that connected to the same control servers used by Fruitfly.
Durachinsky is further alleged to have watched and listened to victims without their knowledge or permission and intercepted oral communications taking place in the room where the infected computer was located.
The announcement of the indictment was made by Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department's Criminal Division, First Assistant U.S. Attorney David A. Sierleja for the Northern District of OH, and Special Agent in Charge Stephen D. Anthony of the FBI's Cleveland Field Office. "It is this kind of collaboration that has enabled authorities to bring this cyber hacker to justice".
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