Hackers need invisibility like a plant needs water and sunlight. They lurk in our cameras, our laptops, our phones, and sooner or later, or pocketbooks. There are a myriad of things that hackers can do, see, and accomplish while they are hiding in the digital shadows like ghosts of the modern age, and one man in Ohio seems to have been particularly good at it.
Phillip Durachinsky is a 28-year-old computer programmer who, according to MSN News, “was charged Wednesday as part of chilling, 13-year cybertheft campaign” that allowed him to steal “personal data from thousands of people and remotely controlled their devices.” The man used this his knowledge to “monitor unsuspecting victims and listen to their communications.” This is over a full decade of spying!
When the government authorities violate our privacy laws, many feel the anger quite accurately. For some, when our fellow citizens violate us, it is even more worthy of frothing rage.
The hacker (who must have begun his work at around 15 years of age) faces “a 16-count federal indictment alleging fraud, identity theft, and violations of the federal Wiretap Act.”
The targets of his digital abuses were “workers whose computers were owned by private companies,” schools, “a law enforcement agency, and a subsidiary of the U.S. Department of Energy.” Certainly, Durachinsky was sure of himself to such a degree that he felt as though he may never get caught.
His deeds were being conducted from 2003 up until last January, according to reports. It has taken more than a year to compile the case against the man.
“Fruitfly” malware was installed on unsuspecting devices which worked to heist “passwords, tax records, medical documents, photographs, bank statements and sensitive personal communications.” Basically, Durachinsky was everything that we have been warned about in our post-modern, computer-centered world.
Making matters even worse: the hacker was a coinsurer of kiddie porn, too.
“This defendant is alleged to have spent more than a decade spying on people across the country and accessing their personal information,” said Ohio Assistant U.S. Attorney David Sierleja of the deplorable man.
Similarly, Cleveland FBI chief Stephen Anthony describes the hacker as one who possesses a “sophisticated skill” which allowed him to breach “numerous systems and individual computers.”
Apart from stealing data, this computer wizard was able “to surreptitiously record images and audio” from the devices that he hacked. This is more than mildly unsettling to everyone who has ever used a computer for virtually anything at all. Many times, he “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.”
Even creepier is the fact that Durachinsky stored “millions of images and often kept detailed notes of what he saw,” according to reports. Only after “a breach involving more than 100 computers at Case Western Reserve University” was the rather dangerous man identified. If not for that mishap, he may still be lurking behind the computer screens of people still.
For his deeds, the hacker is looking at a maximum sentence of 20-years behind bars. While those two decades will certainly be computer free, we can’t help but wonder how many people just like him are spying us even as this is read with no one having any idea of their presence.
Source: MSN News