‘I would eat my shoe’: McAfee tells FBI he can open San Bernardino iPhone for free
John McAfee, a computer security pioneer, has offered to crack a phone belong to a San Bernardino shooter free of charge in just three weeks – if the agency drops its “back door” order to Apple, which he says is “the beginning of the end of the US.”
“I work with a team of the best hackers on the planet,” McAfee wrote in an op-ed on Business Insider. “I will, free of charge, decrypt the information on the San Bernardino phone, with my team.”
On Wednesday, Apple rejected the FBI’s request “to build a back door to the iPhone” used by one of the San Bernardino shooters. The iPhone 5C, used by Syed Rizwan Farook, has an auto-erase function which destroys all of its encrypted data if it detects a hacker.
Apple said on Wednesday that it would appeal a California judge’s order to help prosecutors unlock the encrypted iPhone. The FBI called it "reasonable technical assistance," stressing that it would only apply to San Bernardino case.
“This is a black day and the beginning of the end of the US as a world power,” McAfee wrote in his piece, which reads like a kudos to Apple’s Tim Cook, who refused to assist the feds.
The cybersecurity guru – and a presidential candidate – compared the US government’s request to a disarmament order, which would target the country’s “already ancient cybersecurity and cyber defense systems” inevitably leading Americans to “where cyberwar is unquestionably waiting.”
“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,” McAfee wrote.
However, McAfee says he has a solution – his team of talented prodigies, which the FBI, unlike the Russians or Chinese, would never hire just because of their lifestyle and “24-inch purple mohawk, 10-gauge ear piercings, and a tattooed face.”
With McAfee less concerned about the looks, he believes his people will be able to unlock the iPhone "primarily" with social engineering.
“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,” he wrote.
Wrapping up his piece, McAfee wrote: “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.”