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DOJ Charges Suspect Behind Fruitfly Mac Malware

12 January 2018, 08:02 | Cameron Gross

Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published broadcast rewritten or redistributed

Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published broadcast rewritten or redistributed

The DOJ claims the suspect allegedly used the malware " to steal the personal data of victims, including their logon credentials, tax records, medical records, photographs, banking records, Internet searches, and potentially embarrassing communications".

He took detailed notes about what he saw through his spying and kept millions of the images he gained access to through Fruitfly.

The indictment charges that while Durachinsky primarily used Fruitfly to infect Macs, he also wrote variants of Fruitfly that were capable of infecting computers running Windows.

In early 2017, computer security experts noticed a particularly malicious and almost undetectable strain of malware infecting computers across America, specifically Macs.

Security firm Malwarebytes discovered Fruitfly in January past year, forcing Apple to issue a patch.

Fruitfly proved to be such an odd malware specimen that Patrick Wardle, chief security researcher for the vulnerability testing firm Synack, undertook deep research into it.

The US Department of Justice has revealed an indictment against 28-year Phillip Durachinsky, 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.




Durachinsky is alleged to have created the Fruitfly malware 13 years ago and used it since to secretly spy on Mac users including making recordings from victim's webcam and microphone, viewing what's on the screen, controlling the keyboard and mouse and remotely downloading files.

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

Authorities said that the malware sometimes alerted Durachinsky to certain words being types, such as those associated with pornography.

"Defendant used certain Fruitfly victims' computer networks to access sufficient bandwidth to allow the Fruitfly malware to infected protected computers", not only in OH but worldwide, the indictment reads.

Durachinsky is not only accused of snooping on home users.

"Durachinsky is alleged to have utilized his sophisticated cyber skills with ill intent, compromising numerous systems and individual computers", said Special Agent in Charge Anthony.

Aside from personal computers, Fruitfly was discovered on a computer run by a subsidiary of the U.S. Department of Energy, one police department, as well as schools and businesses. Once he captured login credentials for Fruitfly-infected machines, Durachinsky is accused of creating virtual machines on those computers.



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