John McAfee offers to decrypt iPhone used by San Bernardino terrorists, criticizes FBI

Posted:
in General Discussion edited February 2016
Calling it a "black day and the beginning of the end of the U.S. as a world power," software developer John McAfee criticized the FBI on Thursday for attempting to force Apple to build a backdoor to access data from a terrorist's iPhone, saying that he will decrypt the handset himself for free.




McAfee, an eccentric millionaire who is currently vying for presidential nomination from the Libertarian Party , believes that he and his team could hack into the iPhone in question without the need for a new, insecure version of iOS to be built by Apple. He shared his thoughts in an editorial published by Tech Insider.
"I would eat my shoe on the Neil Cavuto show if we could not break the encryption on the San Bernardino phone. This is a pure and simple fact." - John McAfee
The former antivirus creator believes his team would be able to decrypt the information from the iPhone 5c at the center of the case within three weeks. He believes they will be able to unlock the iPhone "primarily" with social engineering.

McAfee argued that allowing him to unlock the iPhone free of charge will negate the need for Apple to go down a dangerous path, building a backdoor into iOS to allow access to investigators.

"If the government succeeds in getting this back door, it will eventually get a back door into all encryption, and our world, as we know it, is over," he wrote. "In spite of the FBI's claim that it would protect the back door, we all know that's impossible. There are bad apples everywhere, and there only needs to be in the US government."

McAfee's confidence that his team could crack the iPhone is based on the fact that he does not believe the FBI would hire the type of people he works with. Specifically, he described "prodigies" who sport mohawk haircuts, ear piercings, tattooed faces, and one person "who demands to smoke weed while working and won't work for less than a half-million dollars a year."

"I would eat my shoe on the Neil Cavuto show if we could not break the encryption on the San Bernardino phone," McAfee wrote. "This is a pure and simple fact."

On Tuesday, a federal judge ordered Apple to comply with FBI requests for assistance in unlocking an encrypted iPhone 5c used by San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook. Law enforcement technicians are looking to facilitate a brute force attack, but need specialized software capable of bypassing iOS 9's passcode counter.

Apple CEO Tim Cook took immediate action, vowing to fight government calls for privileged hardware access in a letter posted to his company's website just hours after the order came down. For Cook, the issue has implications far beyond a single iPhone, an argument floated by the White House on Wednesday.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 91
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,926member
    I thought McAfee is on the lam. 
    williamlondon
  • Reply 2 of 91
    genovellegenovelle Posts: 1,481member
    That's what I'm talking about!
    cornchip
  • Reply 3 of 91
    well, he's in Tennessee at the moment.  

    and the world is a better place with him in it. well maybe not better, but definitely more interesting.
    Omahajbdragoncornchipfulwild
  • Reply 4 of 91
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 2,393member
    "Libertarian is not a single viewpoint, but includes a wide variety of perspectives. Libertarians can range from market anarchists to advocates of a limited welfare state, but they are all united by a belief in personal liberty, economic freedom, and a skepticism of government power."

    I guess he isn't going to their nominee for to long if he takes on this quest.

    SpamSandwichcornchip
  • Reply 5 of 91
    bbhbbh Posts: 134member
    It looks like everybody is missing something pretty incredible here. The government wants to essentially trash privacy forever on a one time fishing trip. This is just oo unbalanced to evev rate a discussion of "National Security" (what hogwash...) against personal privacy.
    sockrolidOmahacornchiprazorpitcalinumenoreanredgeminipaicoco3lordjohnwhorfinfulwild
  • Reply 7 of 91
    mobiusmobius Posts: 380member
    The FBI will not accept his gracious offer because that is not part of 'their plan'. They want a precedent to be set so that they can gain access to encrypted data whenever they want.
    jbdragonstompyirelandcornchipwilliamlondonhcrefugeebobschlobcnocbuicalifotoformat
  • Reply 8 of 91
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    Imagine what would happen if this stunt were to go ahead and if their team were to fail? That would be huge! And even better advertisement for Apple! :#
    jbdragonOmahalkruppcornchipwilliamlondonnumenoreanredgeminipa
  • Reply 9 of 91
    It'll get his face on TV, which is what he really wants. It's an insincere offer. Also, he's no Libertarian if he's offering to break encryption (which he couldn't possibly do anyway).
    Omahacornchippalominepatchythepirate
  • Reply 10 of 91
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    Also, he's no Libertarian if he's offering to break encryption (which he couldn't possibly do anyway).
    Yes, it is kind of ironic since he's also running on the Libertarian ticket. I didn't even know that by the way, until this article.
    cornchippscooter63redgeminipa
  • Reply 11 of 91
    maxitmaxit Posts: 222member
    Is this for real ???
    cornchip
  • Reply 12 of 91
    There's crazy.. And then there's John McAfee.. At least he's on the right sensible side of this issue.
    anantksundaramcornchippalomine
  • Reply 13 of 91
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,528member
    mobius said:
    The FBI will not accept his gracious offer because that is not part of 'their plan'. They want a precedent to be set so that they can gain access to encrypted data whenever they want.
    This offer is calling their bluff.  If they decline the offer, their claim that they only want to decrypt one phone will be confirmed to be a lie (as if anyone believed them anyway).
    jbdragonpscooter63mwhitetomkarlhcrefugeebobschlobmatrix077cnocbuicalimobius
  • Reply 14 of 91
    ... He believes they will be able to unlock the iPhone "primarily" with social engineering. ...
    So the Stoned Mohawk Guy (not his real name) is really good at guessing passwords?
    Hey, good luck with that, John. 
    brakkenmuppetryjustbobf
  • Reply 15 of 91
    So, who is watching the watchmen? 
  • Reply 16 of 91
    It will be interesting to see the effectiveness of decryption via 357 Magnum.
    edited February 2016
  • Reply 17 of 91
    jungmark said:
    I thought McAfee is on the lam. 
    Yeah me too.  Whatever happened with that murder thing?

    Also, how are these highly paid, tattooed, pot smoking geniuses working for half a mil a year going to "social engineer" this, when the guy who chose the passcode is dead?  Are they going to do a seance?

    McAfee is an out-of-control nutcase, but we knew that didn't we?
    jbdragonbrakkenwilliamlondonjustbobf
  • Reply 18 of 91
    tmaytmay Posts: 6,439member
    apple ][ said:
    Imagine what would happen if this stunt were to go ahead and if their team were to fail? That would be huge! And even better advertisement for Apple! :#
    It is exactly the case that John McAfee could be given any 5C with an unknown 4 digit passcode that he would have to break; it doesn't have to be the singular iPhone 5C in question. I don't believe for an instant that he or his team would meet success in three weeks.

    He is speaking of using social engineering to figure out what the passcode is for the now expired user; like in the movies where they figure it out in 30 seconds. Only he and his crew won't be able to figure it out, and they would brick the phone.
    jbdragonai46
  • Reply 19 of 91

    bbh said:
    It looks like everybody is missing something pretty incredible here. The government wants to essentially trash privacy forever on a one time fishing trip. This is just oo unbalanced to evev rate a discussion of "National Security" (what hogwash...) against personal privacy.
    The government wants to expand their surveillance into iOS devices, which is unconstitutional and a threat to our right to privacy.  
    Meanwhile, the real bad guys can and will simply use 3rd party encryption tools.
    And the government would still be in the dark about who they are contacting and what they are saying.
    jbdragonai46mwhitehcrefugeelymfredgeminipa
  • Reply 20 of 91
    another idiot computer genius.  this is not a hard problem and does not require a team of self proclaimed dope smoking experts
    Maria Ashot
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