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Ohio man charged with creating Fruitfly malware, spied on thousands during 13-year campaign

By midian182 ยท 5 replies
Jan 11, 2018
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  1. You might remember the sinister Fruitfly malware that came to light last year. It appeared to be able to spy on victims via webcams, take screenshots, modify files, and take complete control of a system. Now, it’s been revealed that the person behind Fruitfly had been infecting unsuspecting users for 13 years.

    The US Department of Justice has revealed an indictment against 28-year Phillip Durachinsky, of North Royalton, Ohio. Prosecutors say he created Fruitfly and started spreading the malware when he was a teenager in 2003 "in order to watch, listen to and obtain personal data from unknowing victims."

    He allegedly used his creation to turn on thousands of infected systems’ microphones and webcams, capture images, log keystrokes, and steal tax and medical records, photographs, Internet searches, and bank transactions. It could even alert him when victims typed in search queries related to porn.

    In addition to targeting individuals, Fruitfly made its way onto computers at various companies, police departments, schools, and a subsidiary of the US Department of Energy. It was initially discovered to be targeting macs, but he allegedly developed versions that could infect Windows and Linux systems, too.

    It appears that Durachinsky may have sold some of the data and images he acquired through Fruitfly, as prosecutors have asked the court for an order requiring he forfeit any property derived from his campaign.

    Security firm Malwarebytes discovered Fruitfly in January last year, forcing Apple to issue a patch. But six months later, Patrick Wardle, currently chief research officer at Digita Security, showed that the malware was still out in the wild, just not as widespread. He told Forbes that Fruitfly had been used to spy on children.

    Separately, Durachinsky is facing child pornography charges. The DoJ claims he "did use a minor and minors to engage in sexually explicit conduct" to produce "a visual depiction" of this conduct,"knowing that it would be transmitted to others.”

    It’s still not known how Fruitfly infected computers, though it’s suspected it was via malicious web links and email attachments.

    According to Forbes, Durachinsky has been in custody since he was arrested in January last year and is now awaiting trial.

    Permalink to story.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 11, 2018
  2. QuantumPhysics

    QuantumPhysics TS Maniac Posts: 258   +173

    Microphones and Cameras are sitting around just waiting to be exploited. And now - they're everywhere. The same people who used to say "I'd never let myself be chipped or wiretapped" have a KINECT sitting in front of their children's bed, a smart TV, Alexa, Siri and a house with appliances wired to their apple watch.
    veLa, Reehahs, Capaill and 2 others like this.
  3. andy06shake

    andy06shake TS Evangelist Posts: 486   +158

    Orwell's 1984 really, disguised as communication mediums, and it's not even like the Thought Police had to put there thinking caps on to get us to swallow the premise.
    veLa, Reehahs and senketsu like this.
  4. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 4,425   +2,885

    To quote a now famous line "just because we can doesn't mean we should".
    Hexic likes this.
  5. andy06shake

    andy06shake TS Evangelist Posts: 486   +158

    It generally follows, however, that if Humanity can do a thing, they will do that thing. Fact is we simply do not invent tools that we do not use.
  6. Reehahs

    Reehahs TS Guru Posts: 709   +445

    May be they should offer him a job at NSA.
    andy06shake likes this.

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