[BreachExchange] Ohio man indicted for creating malware to spy on Americans for 13 years
destry at riskbasedsecurity.com
Wed Jan 10 17:59:38 EST 2018
A 28-year-old Ohio man was indicted for digitally spying on people for
more than 13 years.
Phillip Durachinsky has been charged with allegedly creating and
installing computer malware called Fruitfly that let him spy on and
He allegedly accessed thousands of computers, including those owned by
individuals, companies, schools, a police department and a subsidiary
of the U.S. Department of Energy. The U.S. Department of Justice
announced the 16-count indictment on Wednesday.
Durachinsky is charged with violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act
and the Wiretap Act, aggravated identity theft, and production of
He allegedly created the Fruitfly malware to spy on Mac and Windows
users between 2003 and 2017. An attorney for Durachinsky did not
immediately respond to a request for comment.
According to the indictment, Durachinsky stole private credentials,
tax, medical, and banking records, internet searches, photos and
private communications. He allegedly used stolen usernames and
passwords to access and download information from third-party sites.
"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 DOJ said in a press release. "In some cases, the
malware alerted Durachinsky if a user typed words associated with
He "regularly kept detailed notes" of what he saw, the indictment says.
Researchers found the Fruitfly malware last year. Patrick Wardle,
chief research officer at Digita Security who discovered one strain of
the malware infecting Macs, saw at least 400 infected computers.
Wardle, who makes free software security tools for Macs, assisted the
FBI with its investigation.
He said the span of the hacking campaign was "mind-blowingly long,"
and incredibly invasive. It also illustrated that even though Mac
malware is less widespread than Windows, Apple products can still get
infected with harmful tools, he said. Apple (AAPL) did not respond to
a request for comment.
"This is in a way the worst case scenario," Wardle said. "If my
computer got hacked for ransom, that would suck. But something like
this can be life-impacting in a horrible way. It's nothing I've seen
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