‘We have no privacy; every router compromised’ – John McAfee
Last week, WikiLeaks released new information about a CIA project called ‘Cherry Blossom’ which has been hacking into home Wi-Fi routers since 2007 and reportedly using the hack as a listening device.
This week a California-based cybersecurity firm reportedly found a database of 198 million American voters left unsecured on an Amazon cloud server.
RT discussed these revelations with cybersecurity expert and CEO of MGT Capital John McAfee
RT: Terabytes worth of information was reportedly accessible without a password. How is this even possible?
John McAfee: The hacking happens all the time. The thing that concerns me is not so much the fact that the information was available, all of this information you can buy from Google. What concerns me is how did they get this information? My phone number, my address, my age, my marital status, my preferences, whether or not I believe in Obamacare, what do I feel about immigration, what do I feel about our national policy - every single political attitude is in that database for virtually every adult in America. Shouldn’t we be asking the question how did this data company even acquire that information? That's what concerns me. Because once you get the information into a database, it will be hacked, it will be let loose; this is just a fact of life these days and something we should be concerned about. But far more concerning to me is how did it happen? It happened because companies like Google and Facebook acquired data on every one of us: what blogs we are visiting even our messages that we pass on Facebook or instant messages on Twitter are accessible, and these things are collected so that we have no privacy. What concerns me about this is - if you look at the data in these 25 terabytes it is almost every political attitude a person could have. And my phone number, and the jobs that I've had and my health records…
RT: A lot of people don't want that information public, especially their political stance because it causes so much friction nowadays…Moving on now to WikiLeaks, they just released those secret documents revealing that home routers from different manufacturers can be turned into listening posts the CIA can monitor. Were you personally shocked at these findings?
JM: Myself and every other security professional have known about this, and I have been warning about this. It's not just the CIA. All of these routers - and that's virtually every router that's in use in the American home - are accessible to hackers. The CIA, they can take over the control of the router, they can monitor all of the traffic and worse - they can download malware into any device that is connected to that router. I, personally, never connect to any Wi-Fi system, I use the LTE on my phone. I know that sounds crazy, but that's the only way that I can be secure because every router in America has been compromised. We have all known this, and we've been warning about it for years, nobody pays attention until something like WikiLeaks comes up. It is devastating in terms of the impact on American privacy, our individual privacy because once the router is compromised and it then infects the cell phones that are attached, your laptop, your desktop computer, your tablet. Then they become compromised and not only can you watch the data, you can start listening to conversations, you can start watching through the cameras on these devices.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.