‘Creepy’ and ‘reclusive’ Ohio man burrowed into strangers’ computers and spied on them for years, police say
Phillip Durachinsky

An Ohio man spent half his life infecting computers with voyeuristic malware that allowed him to spy on strangers online.


Federal prosecutors say Phillip Durachinsky, of North Royalton, spread malware cybersecurity analysts called "FruitFly" that gave him control over other unwitting computer users' devices, reported the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

The 28-year-old Durachinsky, who's been jailed for more than a year on federal charges, spied on unsuspecting men, women and children and even remotely recorded video and audio of their activities.

From his "control panel," Durachinsky was able to dig through another person's computer files and steal whatever he wanted, FBI agents say, and log their keystrokes.

Cybersecurity analysts were familiar with Durachinsky and his work for a year before federal authorities publicly identified him as the mastermind behind FruitFly, which targeted both Apple and Microsoft-based computer systems.

They're baffled that Durachinsky and his malware went undetected for 14 years.

Durachinsky lived in the Cleveland area all his life, and his former high school classmates said he was socially awkward and a bit of a "recluse."

"He was one of those kids who was very smart but didn't have any drive to apply himself," said former classmate Nik Krieger.

Durachinsky cared little about his appearance and cut his own hair, and a former college classmate said his long hair and goatee looked the same in his mugshot as he had at Case Western Reserve University.

Classmates in both college and high school say Durachinsky excelled at computers, and seemed to have few interests in the outside world.

His malware wasn't apparently used for monetary gain but simply to steal personal information, according to the FBI and cybersecurity analysts.

"This was more 'creepy' malware,'" said Thomas Reed, director of Mac and mobile at the Malwarebytes software company.