According to the indictment, Durachinsky is alleged from 2003 through Jan. 20, 2017, to have orchestrated a scheme to access thousands of protected computers owned by individuals, companies, schools, a police department, and the government, including one owned by a subsidiary of the U.S. Department of Energy. He is alleged to have developed computer malware later named “Fruitfly” that he installed on computers and that enabled him to control each computer by accessing stored data, uploading files, taking and downloading screenshots, logging a user’s keystrokes, and turning on the camera and microphone to surreptitiously record images and audio.
As alleged in the indictment, Durachinsky 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. According to the indictment, Durachinsky used stolen logon credentials to access and download information from third-party websites.
Durachinsky is further 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. In some cases, the malware alerted Durachinsky if a user typed words associated with pornography. According to the indictment, Durachinsky saved millions of images and often kept detailed notes of what he saw.
“For more than 13 years, Phillip Durachinsky allegedly infected with malware the computers of thousands of Americans and stole their most personal data and communications,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Cronan. “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.”
“This defendant is alleged to have spent more than a decade spying on people across the country and accessing their personal information,” said First Assistant U.S. Attorney Sierleja.
“Durachinsky is alleged to have utilized his sophisticated cyber skills with ill intent, compromising numerous systems and individual computers,” said Special Agent in Charge Anthony. “The FBI would like to commend the compromised entities that brought this to the attention of law enforcement authorities. It is this kind of collaboration that has enabled authorities to bring this cyber hacker to justice.”
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.