Hacker indicted for breaking into computers at CWRU and other institutions

Hooded man holds laptop computer as cyber code is projected on him in this illustration

Besides the creep factor, a stunning thing about Fruitfly is that it is both unsophisticated and relatively easy to spot, yet according to the DoJ, Durachinsky was able to use it undetected from 2003 until January 2017, when he was arrested and jailed on another charge. He allegedly saved millions of images and often kept detailed notes of what he witnessed. Security firm Malwarebytes past year also found that the malware had infected biomedical research institutions.

A North Royalton man was charged in federal district court in Cleveland on Wednesday, Jan. 10, in a 16-count indictment for hacking into thousands of computers.

Durachinksy targeted computers that were used by individuals, but owned by their employers, schools and even a police department.

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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. The malware program would also alert him if a user typed words associated with pornography. 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.

The Ohio hacker faces up to 20 years in prison. And while it was only recently discovered, it had been in existence for awhile - at least before 2014, part of its code indicated it had been modified for the Mac Yosemite operating system, which was released that year. "Defendant used the Fruitfly malware to watch and listen to Fruitfly victims without their knowledge or permission". "It is this kind of collaboration that has enabled authorities to bring this cyber hacker to justice".

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.

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Durachinsky also been charged with using minors to engage in sexually explicit conduct. 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.

To store the information and obscure the activity, Fruitfly needed bandwidth and storage. A probe of Durachinsky's computer found software for the malware.

"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.

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