A hacker has been accused of spying on people for more than a decade using their own webcams. The North Royalton man infected thousands of computers with malware which helped him to spy.
The court documents indicate that 28-year-old Philip R. Durachinsky was charged with Computer Fraud and Abuse Act violations, Wiretap Act violations, aggravated identity theft and production of child pornography.
At the age of 15-years in 2003, Durachinsky created a string of malware that would later be called "Fruitfly" and infected tens of thousands of IP addresses worldwide, according to the U.S. attorney's office.
Having successfully infected the computers, Durachinsky "used the malware to steal the personal data of victims, including their login credentials, tax records, medical records, photographs, banking records, Internet searches, and potentially embarrassing communications," according to the attorney's office.
He spent around 13 years spying on people from all across the country. According to court documents, the 28-year-old watched and listened to people without their knowledge by hijacking computer webcams.
The Fruitfly targeted both Windows PCs and Apple Mac computers. It could also alert Durchinksy if a user typed in specific words associated with pornography.
Reports from the attorney's office allege that the man saved millions of images from infected computers and kept notes detailing what he saw on other people's computers.
According to officials, some of the computers infected by Fruitfly went beyond personal computers. Companies, schools, and a police department were infected by the malware. The indictment indicates that even a subsidiary of the U.S. Department of Energy was targeted.
“Durachinsky is alleged to have utilized his sophisticated cyber skills with ill intent, compromising numerous systems and individual computers,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen D. Anthony.