John McAfee enters the fray: 'I'll decrypt the San Bernardino iPhone for free'
posted by Daniel P.
Feb 18, 2016, 8:38 AM
With all the brouhaha surrounding the order that Apple opens up the iPhone 5c of the San Bernardino shooter, one would think that the FBI has no other way to find out what's in it, rather than that it's just being desperate for a backdoor into iPhones, and using this highly public matter as a pretext.
Enter John McAfee, of McAfee Antivirus and expat debauchery fame. In his typical brash style, McAfee is now offering to decrypt the San Bernadino terrorist's phone absolutely for free, so long as the Feds leave Apple alone with the backdoor requests. The legendary hacker has issued a lengthy open letter to offer his services, which boils down to this:
So here is my offer to the FBI. I will, for free, 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 their product, which will be the beginning of the end of America. If you doubt my credentials, Google “Cybersecurity legend” and see whose name is the only name that appears in the first ten results out of over a quarter of a million.
There you have it, FBI, ball's in your court, and you can read the whole of John McAfee's statement below. After all, he is a presidential candidate from the Libertarian party, too, so he's not taking personal freedom and privacy issues lightly.
Using an obscure law, written in 1789 - The All Writs Act, the U.S. Government has ordered Apple to place a back door into its IOS software so that the FBI can decrypt information on an an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters.
It has finally come to this. After years of arguments by virtually every industry specialist that back doors will be a bigger boon to hackers and to our nation’s enemies than publishing our nuclear codes and giving the keys to all of our military weapons to the Russians and the Chinese, our government has chosen, once again not to listen to the minds that have created the glue that holds this world together.
This is a black day, and the beginning if the end of the US as a world power. The Government has ordered a disarmament of our already ancient cybersecurity and cyber defense systems, and 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.
Any student of world history will tell you that this is a dream. Would Hitler have stopped invading Poland if the Polish people had sweetly asked him not to do so? Those who think yes should stand strongly by Hillary Clinton’s side, whose cybersecurity platform includes negotiating with the Chinese so that they will no longer launch cyber attacks against us.
The FBI, in a laughable and bizarre twist of logic, said that the back door would be used only once and only in the San Bernardino case.
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, replied:
"The government suggests this tool could only be used once, on one phone. But that’s simply not true. Once created, the technique could be used over and over again, on any number of devices. In the physical world, it would be the equivalent of a master key, capable of opening hundreds of millions of locks — from restaurants and banks to stores and homes. No reasonable person would find that acceptable.
The government is asking Apple to hack our own users and undermine decades of security advancements that protect our customers — including tens of millions of American citizens — from sophisticated hackers and cybercriminals. The same engineers who built strong encryption into the iPhone to protect our users would, ironically, be ordered to weaken those protections and make our users less safe.”
No matter how you slice this pie, if the Government succeeds in getting this back door, then it will eventually get a back door into all encryption, and our world, as we know it, is over. In spite of the FBI’s claim that they 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. Then a few million dollars, some beautiful women (or men), and a yacht trip to the Caribbean might be all it takes for our enemies to have full access to our secrets.
Tim Cook said:
“The FBI may use different words to describe this tool, but make no mistake: Building a version of iOS that bypasses security in this way would undeniably create a backdoor. And while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control.”
The fundamental question is this: Why can't the FBI crack the encryption on its own? They have the full resources of the best that the US Government can provide.
With all due respect to Tim Cook and Apple, I work with a team of the best hackers on the planet. They 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 hard core 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.
And why do the best hackers on the planet not work for the FBI? Because the FBI will not hire anyone with a 24 inch purple mohawk, 10 gauge ear piercings, a tattooed face, who demands to smoke weed while working and won't work for less than a half million dollars a year. But you bet your ass that the Chinese and Russians are hiring similar people with similar demands and have been for many years. It's why we are decades behind in the cyberrace.
Cyber science is not just something you can learn. It is an innate talent. The Julliard school.of music cannot create a Mozart. A Mozart, or a Bach are genetically created, much like our modern hacking community. A room full of Stanford Computer Science graduates, cannot compete with a true hacker without even a high school education.
So here is my offer to the FBI. I will, for free, 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 their product, which will be the beginning of the end of America.
If you doubt my credentials, Google “Cybersecurity legend” and see whose name is the only name that appears in the first ten results out of over a quarter of a million.
Once one iPhone is hacked, then nearly all iPhones will be hackable using the same method. Though it might take 3 weeks to hack the device, once the method is figured out, it'll probably take just a matter of minutes to hack in the future.
Of course he can. If iOS can be hacked in minutes by hackers, don't you think a guy who made one of the world's leading anti-virus programs could also?
The only thing you need to bypass is the password.
He could easily test his own theories by simply buying a phone and putting data on it and having someone set a password/pin or whatever security measure.
The FBI could hack it too, but they probably would lose the info in the process. Seems the easiest way would be to pull the internal flash of the phone, give it power and just transfer the data off the drive.
Nobody should help the Feds access anyone's phone. It's a extremely bad line to cross. Apple should have all the right to not access people's privacy. That's like a lawyer giving up he's client. It's unethical. The government will use any scare tactic to get people to pressure Apple, they always blame terrorist when it will only benefit them.
I live in San Bernardino and 3 weeks after those killings there was a white guy who shot and killed 4 people, why didn't they classified that as terrorist? Cuz he was white? Did they try to access he's phone? The US government is full of spit.
Great race baiting response, I lived in San Bernadino, graduated from San G. I was heckled and bullied because I was a white in a non-white neighborhood. The next random shooter was a sociopath or mentally unstable, that is why he didn't make the news.
Anti-Muslim culture that drives ratings is what got the shooter on the news, and it was in progress. If a shooting is not in progress it gets much less notoriety unless something about it is out in left field somewhere.
Now lets get off this kick and go back to Tech, something we can all talk about . Also allowing the government to freely hack your phone, without a warrant or reason is a violation of your 4th amendment. But if ok'd by Judge and Prosecutor then go on with it.... but also the CIA/FBI can't be trusted with an all the time back door. Also I am a government employee.
Actually I believe the definition of terrorist is wrong - it states on numerous sites something similar to this definition from Vocabulary.com
"Someone who uses violence, mayhem, and destruction — or the threat of those things — to coerce people or countries into taking a certain action is a terrorist. A terrorist may be motivated by religious fervor, politics, or just plain old-fashioned greed."
In my opinion that definition should be changed to "Anyone who commits an act of terror by causing physical harm or threatens public safety".
I think that all crimes of any type of physical harm or death or mental harm should be classified as terrorism, we let too many people off with the old' American "he was just bat s**t crazy" BS.
And yes I do think all terrorists are bat s**t crazy.
And also I think that anyone who fits into terrorist, murderer, rapist, molester, etc have forfeited their American rights to privacy, and I wish more people felt the same - after all it could be you or your kid that is next on the list in the bad guys phone. Wouldn't you like to know?
You're last line about this kid is spot on. Because emotion would cloud my judgement about what is logcial/right/wrong/realistic. It all goes out the window because that's MY kid. My personal end game should not effect 300+million other current and future people. I'm wish more people felt the same.
If you were in the direct middle of a situation where accessing this guys phone could HAVE potentially saveeyour life or the life of a loved one, in the aftermath you would be singing a different song. Its easy to say its not right to access someones phone when the outcome has no affect on you.
I think this phone should be unlocked and given the the FBI on a silver platter - it might save lives. Thats more important than a terrorists rights to privacy, which he should have none.
Derek, Is it possible that the phone that the "white guy" was using wasn't an iPhone, And government did not need to ask the manufacturer to help access it?
Just wanted to throw that outthere for arguments sake.
Not anymore. Since iOS 8, Apple has encrypted (read: scrambled randomly) data on iDevices, and they are only decryptable by entering your passcode/fingerprint, which is the decryption key. A second copy of the key, which would allow Apple to open it, is not stored by Apple, and as such, even when the gov't wants it to, Apple technically can't. The govt says it wants Apple to force load a version of iOS that removes the security feature where it wipes data after 10 failed attempts, but Apple is refusing to do so.
Also, this issue will be null in devices from the 5S onwards: the passcode stuff is stored in a special part of the processor called Security Enclave, and that's unhackable and cannot be altered like what's technically possible in this case.
ok, so apple has a big ass pad lock on the OS, if a device has a key/code then it CAN be hack....this just blows my mind they are supposed to be able to hack ANY OS...i feel that this is all a big stunt it has to be
Im not exactly sure why, But I think the reason is that 5c didn't come with a Touch ID.
But let's say it did come with Touch ID:
1. After the phone was I unused for 48 hours it requires pin
2. If the phone was shut down - it will require pin upon reboot
3. Dead fingers (with no pulse) do not work
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Off-topic talk - you must stick to the subject of discussion
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