Phillip Durachinsky Indicted for Using 'Fruitfly' Malware to Spy

Hacker indicted for breaking into computers at CWRU and other institutions

Federal Indictment Alleges 28-Year-Old Cleveland Man is Creator of 'Fruitfly' Malware, Spied on Thousands of Computers Over 13 Years

According to the indictment, Durachinsky saved millions of images and often kept detailed notes of what he saw.

In 2003, when Durachinsky was 15 years old, he created a string of malware that would later be called "Fruitfly" and infected tens of thousands of IP addresses worldwide, according to the US attorney's office. Security firm Malwarebytes past year also found that the malware had infected biomedical research institutions. As security experts began analyzing Fruitfly, it turns out that law enforcement was on the heels of its author (see Mac Malware Targets Biomedical Institutions). 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.

According to a copy of the indictment, the suspect's name is Phillip R. Durachinsky, 28, of North Royalton, Ohio.

What Fruitfly proved was that Mac software was no more secure than any other operating system and it could be knocked over by a 15 year old.

He's also accused of taking screenshots, logging keystrokes and recording audio/video via the victim machines' webcams and microphones.

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The so-called Fruitfly malware that Durachinsky allegedly developed and used also alerted him if a victim used their search engine to look for terms associated with pornography.

Within this week's complaint, prosecutors also asked the court to order that Durachinsky forfeit any property he derived from his 13-year campaign, an indication that they allege he sold the images and data he acquired to others. They knew that malware dubbed Fruitfly captured screenshots and webcam images and had been installed on hundreds of computers in the U.S. and elsewhere, possibly for more than a decade. Agents have been investigating since then, and Durachinsky remains in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service. It seems as though that Durachinsk was using Fruitfly to collect images using the Mac's camera as well as collecting audio.

Durachinsky is accused of orchestrating the scheme to gain access to thousands of protected computers owned by individuals, companies, schools, a police department and the government, including one owned by a subsidiary of the US Department of Energy, between 2003 and January 20, 2017.

The Fruitfly malware had computer security researchers puzzled for some time.

Mr Anthony said numerous organisations that Mr Durachinsky is claimed to have compromised, shared key information with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies helping them uncover who was behind the hack attacks.

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