In a conflict with the US government over cracking encryption on an iPhone used by a terrorist, Apple has recently come down on the side of its customers. The FBI obtained a federal court order that the technology giant permit the government to break into an iPhone used by San Bernardino attacker Syed Farook, and Apple head Tim Cook decisively said no, citing a much larger issue of privacy rights for all Apple customers. Now John McAfee—original founder of the McAfee antivirus program and general man-about-crazytown—has stepped in to say he knows how to help.
Writing for BusinessInsider, McAfee details the conflict between Apple's desire to maintain encryption and the government's use of an arcane law to insist it be broken. He writes that because of the government's demands it "is a black day and the beginning of the end of the US as a world power."
The government, writes McAfee, "is asking us to take a walk into that near horizon where cyberwar is unquestionably waiting, with nothing more than harsh words as a weapon and the hope that our enemies will take pity at our unarmed condition and treat us fairly."
Employing his gift for understatement, McAfee clearly sides with Apple's skepticism that the FBI will live up to its claim that it intends to break encryption just this one time on one phone and concludes that "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."
But John McAfee knows how to resolve the situation!
With all due respect to Tim Cook and Apple, I work with a team of the best hackers on the planet. These hackers attend Defcon in Las Vegas, and they are legends in their local hacking groups, such as HackMiami. They are all prodigies, with talents that defy normal human comprehension. About 75% are social engineers. The remainder are hardcore coders. 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.
McAfee upbraids the FBI's hiring practices, explaining how they can't acquire the best minds in hacking because government employment isn't a good fit for mohawk-wearing, weed-smoking cyberscience geniuses. He then throws down his final offer, writing that he "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." In return, writes McAfee, the government will rescind its demand Apple break its encryption.