January 20, 2018

Man installed Mac malware on thousands of machines: claim

14 January 2018, 07:13 | Marlene Myers

EnlargeChris Potter

EnlargeChris Potter

An Ohio man allegedly used malware to secretly hijack thousands of webcams. Dubbed "Fruitfly", the malware collected keystrokes and spied on users' screens, webcams and microphones.

A computer programmer from OH has been charged in a 16-count indictment with creating the "Fruitfly" malware and installing it on unwitting victims' computers with the alleged intent of spying and creating child porn.

Phillip Durachinsky faces a 16-count indictment filed in Cleveland federal court charging him with Computer Fraud and Abuse Act violations, wiretapping, production of child pornography, and aggravated identity theft.

Fruitfly, which we first heard about in January 2017, consists of just two files created to open a backdoor into the Macs it infects, letting it receive instructions from the hacker's computer.

He "regularly kept detailed notes" of what he saw, the indictment says.

(He) used the malware to steal the personal data of victims, including their logon credentials, tax records, medical records, photographs, banking records, internet searches, and potentially embarrassing communications.

Authorities say cyber experts have had him on their radar as he previously hacked into schools, companies, and local police departments. Security firm Malwarebytes previous year also found that the malware had infected biomedical research institutions.

Six months later, Forbes reported that Patrick Wardle, a former National Security Agency analyst and now a researcher specializing in Mac malware, found a new version of Fruitfly, decrypted the names of several backup domains hardcoded into the malware and found the addresses remained available.

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The technical description of the "Fruitfly" malware is "spyware".

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.

The FruitFly malware was also the subject of a presentation at the Black Hat USA 2017 and DEF CON 2017 security conferences.

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. "It is this kind of collaboration that has enabled authorities to bring this cyber hacker to justice".

The indictment also alleges that Durachinsky produced child pornography.

It's still unclear how Fruitfly ended up on computers.

The man - Phillip R. Durachinsky - is alleged "to have watched and listened to victims without their knowledge or permission and intercepted oral communications taking place in the room where the infected computer was located".

To store the information and obscure the activity, Fruitfly needed bandwidth and storage.

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