John McAfee: I’ll decrypt the San Bernardino iPhone or “eat my shoe”

by Matt Klassen on February 22, 2016

keep-calm-and-eat-my-shoeLate last week the ongoing fight between the government and Apple was ratcheted up several more notches, as the U.S. Department of Justice filed a motion on Friday seeking to force Apple to comply with a California judge’s orders to unlock the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters, arguing that the tech company’s refusal was little more than a “marketing strategy.”

But given that Apple has yet to even officially respond to the original court order, the DOJ filing seems little more than a marketing strategy itself, the government agency attempting to win the battle over mobile security in the most influential court in the land: the court of public opinion.

Amidst all this, though, Apple may have a very strange white knight riding to the rescue, as controversial and oft-maligned cyber-security guru John McAfee has offered to use his considerable resources (i.e. his unrivalled team of ne’er-do-well hackers) to break into the iPhone, making this dangerous bid to create backdoors into the security we depend on every day an unnecessary gamble.

In an op-ed piece published by Business Insider, cybersecurity titan John McAfee takes a significant shot at the incompetence of the current government regime (although to be fair, Republican candidate Donald Trump has blasted Apple as well), stating that once again the government has failed to listen to those who know best; those arguing for maintaining ironclad encryption standards.

If Apple is forced to re-write iOS with backdoors in place there is no way it will be a one-off event, McAfee argues, for soon the FBI will apply those backdoors to other cases, followed by the backdoor being leaked to the world, followed inevitably by the failure of the encryption standards of every mobile phone the world over. Hyperbole and obvious fear-mongering aside, let’s just say that revising encryption with backdoors in place is dangerous, particularly given what we know about the surveillance tactics of America’s law enforcement and intelligence sectors already.

So how is McAfee confident he can succeed where the FBI has so clearly failed? Simple, McAfee works with the “best hackers on the planet,” a group of cyber-security prodigies “with talents that defy normal human comprehension.”

Of course the follow-up question is, why don’t these hackers work for the FBI? According to McAfee, “Because the FBI will not hire anyone with a 24-inch purple mohawk, 10-gauge ear piercings, and a tattooed face who demands to smoke weed while working and won’t work for less than a half-million dollars a year.”

With his crack team of prodigy hackers, McAfee has offered to break the encryption on the phone in question for free in a span of three weeks, ostensibly taking the bullet for Apple so that the government won’t have any grounds to force what he classifies as cyber-security “disarmament.”

“So here is my offer to the FBI,” McAfee writes. “I will, free of charge, decrypt the information on the San Bernardino phone, with my team. We will primarily use social engineering, and it will take us three weeks. If you accept my offer, then you will not need to ask Apple to place a back door in its product, which will be the beginning of the end of America.”

And just how confident is McAfee that his team will succeed? “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.” Now that would indeed be an interesting twist in this ongoing encryption debate.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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