Apple World Today News Update: January 10, 2018

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It's Hump Day™! As we reach the middle of this week, there's not a lot of news that we haven't covered elsewhere, but we still have two kinda creepy stories for you.

  • Remember the "FruitFly" malware that was infecting Macs last year? The hacker behind the attack has been indicted for not only his malware attacks and stealing data, but for child pornography as well
  • A second iPhone fire has occurred, this time in Spain. The uptick in incidents seems to be tied to the increase in iPhone battery replacements taking place due to Apple's discounted replacement plan

The text version of the podcast can be read below. To listen to the podcast here, click the play button on the player below. Apple News readers need to visit Apple World Today in order to listen to the podcast.

Text Version

This is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and you’re listening to the AWT News Update podcast for Wednesday, January 10th, 2018.  It’s kind of a short podcast today…

Here’s a creepy story for you. Last July, we heard about a rare piece of Mac malware called “FruitFly”. Now Macs don’t usually get hit with malware, and as of the time of the report last year, a security researcher noted that he had only seen about 400 infections in the US. Well, the US Department of Justice has indicted 28-year-old Phillip Durachinsky of North Royalton, Ohio for not only installing spyware, but also producing child pornography. The investigation shows FruitFly has apparently been around for more than 13 years to “watch, listen to, and obtain personal data from unknowing victims.” FruitFly was used by Durachinsky to steal files, grab passwords, and turn on the camera and microphone of the Mac. He then listened in on conversations and watch the Mac owners, while taking detailed notes of the snooping. Describing the indictment, a federal official said that “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.” As for the child pornography charges, the DOJ claims that between October of 2011 and January of 2017, Durachinsky “did use a minor and minors to engage in sexually explicit conduct” to produce “a visual depiction” of such conduct, “knowing that it would be transmitted to others.” Durachinsky was arrested in January of 2017 and is still in custody.

Well, this isn’t good. Remember yesterday when we had a story about an iPhone fire that caused an evacuation of an Apple store in Zurich, Switzerland? It’s happened again, this time at the Calle Colon store in Valencia, Spain. As before, first responders were called, but in this case didn’t intervene as the Apple workers smothered the battery with sand, then aired out the store by opening windows. Unlike the Swiss incident where the battery caught fire, this battery exploded. It’s thought that many people could be bringing iPhones with weak batteries into the stores for replacement under Apple’s discounted replacement plan, and with extra repair traffic and volatile lithium-ion batteries, incidents like this are sure to happen more often.

That’s all for today; I’ll be back tomorrow afternoon with another edition of the AWT News Update.