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12 January 2018, 08:03 | Brandon Parsons
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"Defendant used his access to Fruitfly victims' computers to collect and save personal data from Fruitfly victims including tax records, medical records, photographs, internet searches performed, banking records and potentially embarrassing communications and data", the indictment says. According to the indictment, Durachinsky saved millions of images and often kept detailed notes of what he saw.
Wardle reverse-engineered the command-and-control infrastructure for a "B" variant of Fruitfly, finding that at least 400 computers were infected with it and that the malware had been around for at least five years. Security firm Malwarebytes a year ago also found that the malware had infected biomedical research institutions.
According to prosecutors, from 2003 to early 2017, Durachinsky infected thousands of computers. 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.
Cleveland.com reported that Durachinsky was arrested by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents a year ago, following a series of hacks at Case Western Reserve University, where the OH man was a student, the university identified more than 100 computers that were breached using 'FruitFly'.
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. Court documents say the 28-year-old watched and listened to people without their knowledge by hijacking computer webcams.
The malware gave him access to data and allowed him to upload files, download and take screenshots, track keystrokes, and turn on the camera and microphone - and record it all.
Durachinksy targeted computers that were used by individuals, but owned by their employers, schools and even a police department. The DOJ further accuses him of illicitly watching and listening to his victims and intercepting conversations taking place in the room where the infected computers were located.
He also allegedly produced child pornography with the material obtained.
He's said to have developed the malware known as Fruitfly, which allowed him to remotely access and control victim machines, although it's not clear how he installed the malware. In some cases, the malware alerted Durachinsky if a user typed words associated with pornography.
"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 Anthony.
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