The U.S. Justice Department unsealed 16-count indictment charges on Wednesday against a computer programmer from Ohio who is accused of creating and installing spyware on thousands of computers for more than 13 years.
macOS Malware Creator Charged With Spying Over 13 Years
According to the indictment, 28-year-old Phillip R. Durachinsky is the alleged author of FruitFly malware that was found targeting Apple Mac users earlier last year worldwide, primarily in the United States.
Interestingly, Durachinsky was just 14 years old when he programmed the first version of the FruitFly malware, and this full-fledged backdoor trojan went largely undetected for several years, despite using unsophisticated and antiquated code.
Since the source code of Fruitfly also includes Linux shell commands, the researchers believe the malware would work just fine on Linux operating system.
From 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, and 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, and potentially embarrassing communications.
Durachinsky is facing charges of Computer Fraud and Abuse Act violations, Wiretap Act violations, production of child pornography, and aggravated identity theft.
However, the charges are merely allegations at this time, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.