John McAfee enters the fray: 'I'll decrypt the San Bernardino iPhone for free'

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.

Apple's CEO Tim Cook already rebuffed the FBI's advances, and Google's Sundar Pichai stand firmly behind him. This might turn out to be the grandest standoff yet between the Silicon Valley, where companies are under tremendous pressure for providing ways to access personal communication executed with iOS, Android or Windows devices, and the federal government, the source of that same pressure.

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:

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.

source: BI

Story timeline



70. stuck_788

Posts: 54; Member since: Jul 26, 2013

I knew the antivirus, I had no idea, before today, who that guy was...

65. Af1rPA

Posts: 712; Member since: Jun 12, 2014

Thug Life?

63. 2faraway

Posts: 75; Member since: Mar 26, 2014

Apple be like: "this is war!"

60. skymitch89

Posts: 1453; Member since: Nov 05, 2010

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.

45. joevsyou

Posts: 1093; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

McAfee HAHAHAHA owns one of there worse anti sofrware for PC and he doesn't even use it himself

59. murphslaws

Posts: 54; Member since: Apr 22, 2015

He sold his shares. Who said he owns it. He does Yoga.

35. newuser1

Posts: 276; Member since: Dec 10, 2010

Hey. Drop it dead now. why would this Nazi terrorist guy bring up Russians and the Chinese??? This freak thing has nothing to do with Chinese !. Drop it now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

26. tedkord

Posts: 17517; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Now I'm curious to see if he can do it.

43. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

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.

46. joevsyou

Posts: 1093; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

world's leading anti-virus programs HAHAHAHA, the guy doesn't even use his own programs

53. AlikMalix unregistered

Techie you contradicted every statement you made. Funny read though.

23. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

he'll be vanished right after he succefully decrypt than phone (kidnaped by NSA or FBI)

33. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Or the Terrorists...right?

21. Derekjeter

Posts: 1579; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

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.

27. kasrkin76

Posts: 7; Member since: Jan 21, 2014

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.

55. semipro1337

Posts: 117; Member since: Oct 01, 2012

Actually I believe the definition of terrorist is wrong - it states on numerous sites something similar to this definition from "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?

69. greyarea

Posts: 267; Member since: Aug 14, 2015

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.

42. engineer-1701d unregistered

its the countys phone not his its a government issued work phone.

56. semipro1337

Posts: 117; Member since: Oct 01, 2012

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.

58. AlikMalix unregistered

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.

10. SprintGuy26

Posts: 229; Member since: Mar 21, 2011

wait im so lost? the Gov can already hack into our phones (AKA mini computers) so why are they asking for apples help?

14. WPX00

Posts: 513; Member since: Aug 15, 2015

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.

16. yoosufmuneer

Posts: 1518; Member since: Feb 14, 2015

but is it AES 256 encryption tho?

31. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Well if they win this they will have court order apple to put a backdoor on all future iphone and may also do same thing with others mobile OS. So its not only about apple security here.

34. SprintGuy26

Posts: 229; Member since: Mar 21, 2011

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

39. engineer-1701d unregistered


44. tacarat

Posts: 854; Member since: Apr 22, 2013

If it was shut off at any point the phone requires the code or pin before reenabling the scanner. Its more than that, butclose enough.

48. AlikMalix unregistered

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

51. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

Jesus F Christ please just get off this site, IT WAS IPHONE 5C IT HAS NO FINGERPRINT SCANNER it's second or third time you say the same bulls*it

73. JumpinJackROMFlash

Posts: 464; Member since: Dec 10, 2014

If the 5C had a fingerprint scanner that could work but as it doesn't it really wouldn't do much. Not a very technical guy are you?

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless