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Carnegie Mellon Student Pleads Guilty to Making Android Spy App

PITTSBURGH -- A Carnegie Mellon University student has pleaded guilty to developing and selling malicious software that allowed others to remotely control Google Android smartphones, including using the phones' cameras to spy on their owners. Morgan Culbertson entered the plea Tuesday to a conspiracy charge in Pittsburgh federal court.

Culbertson, 20, from the suburb of Churchill, is one of 12 people living in the United States who were charged by federal prosecutors in the takedown of the Darkode.com cybercriminal marketplace in July.

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The online forum was a place where authorities say computer hackers bought and sold malicious software, and otherwise advertised for help in schemes designed to infect computers and cellphones with software that could cripple or illegally control the devices.

Related: 'Darkode' Hacker Pleads Guilty to Aiding Online Break-Ins

"I am sorry to the individuals to whom my software may have compromised their privacy," Culbertson said after pleading guilty, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Culbertson faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 when he is sentenced in U.S. District Court on Dec. 2.

Related: International Crackdown Targets 'Darkode' Market for Stolen Data