Ohio Man Charged with Allegedly Creating, Using 'Fruitfly' Malware


The US Attorney's Office for the Northern District of OH said that 28-year-old Phillip R. Durachinsky faces 16 counts including the production of child pornography, aggravated identity theft and violations against the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and the Wiretap Act.

A North Royalton man is accused by federal prosecutors of creating a malware program named "Fruitfly" that was used to worm its way into thousands of computers nationwide and take control of and steal data, according to a news release.

Durachinsky's attorney couldn't be reached immediately for comment. 'This case is an example of the Justice Department's continued efforts to hold accountable cybercriminals who invade the privacy of others and exploit technology for their own ends'.

"The U.S. Justice Department unsealed 16-count indictment charges on Wednesday against a computer programmer from OH who is accused of creating and installing spyware on thousands of computers for more than 13 years".

Authorities said Fruitfly could alert Durchinksy if a user typed in specific words associated with pornography.

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Authorities say cyber experts have had him on their radar as he previously hacked into schools, companies, and local police departments.

The computer programmer allegedly used the malware to steal the personal data of victims, including their tax records, logon credentials, medical records, photographs, banking records, internet searches and potentially embarrassing communications.

An Ohio man has been charged with creating a strain of Mac malware known as "Fruitfly" and installing it on thousands of computers to spy on victims, obtain their personal information, and produce child pornography. Though there are few details, the indictment states the defendant "did use a minor and minors to engage in sexually explicit conduct" and that "such visual depiction was produced and transported in and affecting interstate and foreign commerce". He had infected at least 10 Case Western computers, according to the complaint. The investigation determined that Durachinsky had infected computers at other universities and institutions from 2003 to 2017.

The FBI was called in to investigate and found that the hacker had accessed the alumni account of Durachinsky.