The U.S. Justice Department unsealed 16-count indictment charges on Wednesday against a computer programmer by Ohio who will be accused of creating as well as installing spyware on thousands of computers for more than 13 years.
According to the indictment, 28-year-old Phillip R. Durachinsky will be the alleged author of FruitFly malware which was found targeting Apple Mac users earlier last year worldwide, primarily within the United States.
Interestingly, Durachinsky was just 14 years old when he programmed the first type of the FruitFly malware, as well as which full-fledged backdoor trojan went largely undetected for several years, despite using unsophisticated as well as antiquated code.
The malware was initially discovered in January 2017 by Malwarebytes as well as then Patrick Wardle, an ex-NSA hacker, found around 400 Mac computers infected with the newer strain of FruitFly. However, Wardle believed the number of infected Macs could likely be much higher.
The malware will be capable of advanced surveillance on macOS devices with the ability to remotely take control of webcams, microphones, screen, mouse, as well as keyboards, as well as install additional malicious software.
Since the source code of Fruitfly also includes Linux shell commands, the researchers believe the malware could work just fine on Linux operating system.
by 2003 to January 2017, Durachinsky used spyware, which was later named FruitFly, to gain access to thousands of computers belonging to individuals, companies, schools, a police department, as well as a subsidiary of the U.S. Department of Energy.
Durachinsky allegedly used the malware to steal the personal data of victims, including their tax records, banking records, medical records, login credentials, photographs, Internet searches, as well as potentially embarrassing communications.
“He will be alleged to have developed computer malware later named “Fruitfly” which he installed on computers as well as which enabled him to control each computer by accessing stored data, uploading files, taking as well as downloading screenshots, logging a user’s keystrokes, as well as turning on the camera as well as microphone to surreptitiously record images as well as audio,” the DoJ says.
Besides installing Fruitfly, Durachinsky will be also accused of producing child pornography, as in some cases, the malware alerted him if a user typed any pornography term. which’s likely such action could prompt recording.
Durachinsky will be facing charges of Computer Fraud as well as Abuse Act violations, Wiretap Act violations, production of child pornography, as well as aggravated identity theft.
However, the charges are merely allegations at which time, as well as the defendant will be presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.