Fruitfly Malware Creator Allegedly Spied on Victims for 13 Years

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Prosecutors claimed the malware was configured to activate when the user of a compromised computer typed in search terms related to pornography.

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 also claimed to have watched and listened to victims and intercepted communications in the room where the infected computer was located.

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The indictment, filed in US District Court for the Northern District of Ohio's Eastern Division, went on to say that Durachinsky developed a control panel that allowed him to manipulate infected computers and view live images from several machines simultaneously.

The US Attorney's Office for the Northern District of OH said that 28-year-old Phillip R. Durachinsky faces 16 counts including the production of child pornography, aggravated identity theft and violations against the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and the Wiretap Act. And while it was only recently discovered, it had been in existence for awhile - at least before 2014, part of its code indicated it had been modified for the Mac Yosemite operating system, which was released that year.

He allegedly created the Fruitfly malware to spy on Mac and Windows users between 2003 and 2017. Using the stolen login credentials, Durachinsky was able to access and download additional information from third-party websites. According to local newspaper Cleveland Scene, the FBI Cleveland branch was investigating a malware incident at the Case Western Reserve University.

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Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the US Department of Justice Criminal Division, First Assistant US Attorney David A. Sierleja for the Northern District of OH and Special Agent in Charge Stephen D. Anthony of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Cleveland Field Office, announced the indictment, according to the DOJ press release. He handed over his full findings to law enforcement previous year.

"Durachinsky is alleged to have utilized his sophisticated cyber skills with ill intent, compromising numerous systems and individual computers", said Special Agent in Charge Stephen D. Anthony. He then gave his findings to law enforcement, which may have provided the evidence used to bring this week's indictment.

The software found its way into individuals' computers, company PCs, schools, a police department and the government, including a body owned by a subsidiary of the U.S. Department of Energy.

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Wardle concluded that Fruitfly "was created by a hacker or some malware author to basically spy on victims for perverse reasons, which kind of sucks".

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