Alleged author of creepy FruitFly macOS malware arrested

Posted by   Martijn Grooten on   Jan 11, 2018

It is almost a year since the mysterious FruitFly malware for macOS was discovered. Malware targeting macOS is still uncommon enough to be newsworthy, but FruitFly seemed particularly interesting: its spying capabilities, combined with the fact that it had managed to stay under the radar for many years, led many to postulate that it was some kind of creepy nation-state malware.

Now, following the recent arrest of the suspected author of FruitFly, we can be fairly certain that it wasn't a nation state that developed FruitFly – but creepy it certainly was.

The 28-year-old Ohio resident under arrest is believed to have used the malware – which could, among many other things, record audio and video – to spy on a a large number of victims. What exactly was the purpose of these activities isn't clear from the indictment, but it is telling that the author was sent an alert whenever an infected user 'typed certain words associated with pornography'.

The defendant is also accused of having produced child sexual abuse material, though it is unclear whether these charges are related to the malware.

Though the vast majority of malware seen in the wild has a purely financial motive and thus goes after your Bitcoin wallet and your PayPal password rather than your private photos, there are some notable exceptions. A VB2017 presentation by Joseph Cox looked at the threat of consumer spyware used by stalking (ex-)partners; FruitFly demonstrates that complete strangers are also using malware for very creepy purposes.

 

Patrick-W-VB2017.jpg

Patrick Wardle describes FruitFly at VB2017.

Another VB2017 paper, by Synack's Patrick Wardle, presented a detailed technical analysis of one particular FruitFly variant, by analysing it through a custom C&C server. The paper is available to read online and the video of Patrick's presentation is available on our YouTube channel.

 

twitter.png
fb.png
linkedin.png
hackernews.png
reddit.png

 

Latest posts:

VB2019 paper: Domestic Kitten: an Iranian surveillance program

At VB2019 in London, Check Point researchers Aseel Kayal and Lotem Finkelstein presented a paper detailing an Iranian operation they named 'Domestic Kitten' that used Android apps for targeted surveillance. Today we publish their paper and the video…

VB2019 video: Discretion in APT: recent APT attack on crypto exchange employees

At VB2019 in London, LINE's HeungSoo Kang explained how cryptocurrency exchanges had been attacked using Firefox zero-days. Today, we publish the video of his presentation.

VB2019 paper: DNS on fire

In a paper presented at VB2019, Cisco Talos researchers Warren Mercer and Paul Rascagneres looked at two recent attacks against DNS infrastructure: DNSpionage and Sea Turtle. Today we publish their paper and the recording of their presentation.

German Dridex spam campaign is unfashionably large

VB has analysed a malicious spam campaign targeting German-speaking users with obfuscated Excel malware that would likely download Dridex but that mostly stood out through its size.

Paper: Dexofuzzy: Android malware similarity clustering method using opcode sequence

We publish a paper by researchers from ESTsecurity in South Korea, who describe a fuzzy hashing algorithm for clustering Android malware datasets.

We have placed cookies on your device in order to improve the functionality of this site, as outlined in our cookies policy. However, you may delete and block all cookies from this site and your use of the site will be unaffected. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to Virus Bulletin's use of data as outlined in our privacy policy.