Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Hi-Tech | By Ellis Neal

Man installed Mac malware on thousands of machines: claim

Man installed Mac malware on thousands of machines: claim

The 28-year-old OH man responsible for the creepy spyware Fruitfly was caught Wednesday, 13 years after he initially started installing the malware to computers.

Along with thousands of individual victims, Durachinsky is also said to have accessed computers owned by "companies, schools, a police department, and the government, including one owned by a subsidiary of the U.S. Department of Energy", according to the Justice Department. It could even alert him when victims typed in search queries related to porn. The attorney's office alleges the man saved millions of images from infected computers and kept notes detailing what he saw on other people's machines.

"The control panel allowed defendant to manipulate computers infected with the Fruitfly malware and had a visual interface that allowed defendant to view live images and data from several infected computers simultaneously", the 11-page indictment states.

The federal indictment says Durachinsky recorded minors having sex over a five-year period. According to local newspaper Cleveland Scene, the FBI Cleveland branch was investigating a malware incident at the Case Western Reserve University.

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

More intriguing still at the time, Malwarebytes found Windows-based malware that connected to the same control servers used by Fruitfly.

When Mashablereported about the spyware back in July, Synack chief security researcher Patrick Wardle said, "A$3 hacker built this to spy on users for probably perverse reasons". Prosecutors say he also used login credentials to access and download information from third-party websites. The investigation determined that Durachinsky had infected computers at other universities and institutions from 2003 to 2017. The U.S. Department of Justice claims the malware was installed on thousands of computers, and as Mashable reports, those included Macs, too.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Anthony said that Durachinsky was alleged to have used "sophisticated cyber skills with ill intent, compromising numerous systems and individual computers". He then gave his findings to law enforcement, which may have provided the evidence used to bring this week's indictment. More from the news release from the U.S. District Attorney's office: According to the indictment, Durachinsky is alleged from 2003 through January 20, 2017, to have orchestrated a scheme to access thousands of protected computers owned by individuals, companies, schools, a police department, and the government, including one owned by a subsidiary of the U.S. Department of Energy.

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