Ohio computer programmer faces 16 criminal charges for monitoring thousands of computers

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An Ohio computer programmer has been charged with 16 counts of continuous and unauthorized monitoring of computers for 13 years.

Suspected hacker Phillip R. Durachinsky monitored the devices using malware he developed called Fruitfly, according to an indictment filed with the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

He is said to have accessed thousands of Macs and Windows PCs in US schools, businesses, law enforcement, and government.

The indictment indicates that he was involved in criminal activity from around 2003 to January 20, 2017. The 28-year-old has since been charged under the Computer, Fraud and abuse, after the FBI investigated the case.

Durachinsky’s malware enabled him to track and record victims’ internet searches, as well as banking communication and connection information, medical records, emails, and photographs. He was able to access and download recorded files to computers, in addition to taking and uploading screenshots.

Additionally, the indictment claims that the programmer used Fruitfly to track keystrokes and record with the webcam or microphone without the computer user knowing. According to the indictment, Durachinsky saved millions of images over the 13 years and took detailed notes of what he saw.

Acting Deputy Prosecutor General John Cronan said the indictment of Durachinsky is part of the Justice Department’s attempts to find cybercriminals who invade privacy.

“For more than 13 years, Phillip Durachinsky is said to have infected the computers of thousands of Americans with malware and stole their most personal data and communications,” he said.

“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 special agent in charge, Stephen Anthony, praised the collaboration of organizations and individuals in identifying the alleged crime.

“Durachinsky allegedly used his sophisticated computer skills with bad intentions, compromising many individual systems and computers,” he said.

“The FBI would like to commend the compromised entities who have brought this to the attention of law enforcement authorities. It is this kind of collaboration that allowed the authorities to bring this cyber hacker to justice. “

The programmer was also charged with breaking the law on wiretapping, aggravated identity theft and producing child pornography. These allegations are just allegations at this point and Durachinsky remains innocent until his guilt is proven beyond a reasonable doubt.


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