Anti-virus software creator John McAfee has weighed in on the issue around Apple giving the FBI a backdoor bypass for its iOS security following the San Bernardino shootings.
McAfee said he will break the encryption on the killer’s iPhone for the FBI ‘free of charge’ and claims it will take his team three weeks.
“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,” said McAfee in article for Business Insider.
“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 claimed.
Known for being very vocal about security issues, earlier this year McAfee launched an indiegogo campaign to fund his new password and key replacement device ‘Everykey’, calling it “a fucking game changer”.
Apple has refused the FBI’s order to disable the security software, with CEO Tim Cook releasing the following statement on the firm’s website:
“We were shocked and outraged by the deadly act of terrorism in San Bernardino last December. We mourn the loss of life and want justice for all those whose lives were affected. The FBI asked us for help in the days following the attack, and we have worked hard to support the government’s efforts to solve this horrible crime. We have no sympathy for terrorists.
When the FBI has requested data that’s in our possession, we have provided it. Apple complies with valid subpoenas and search warrants, as we have in the San Bernardino case. We have also made Apple engineers available to advise the FBI, and we’ve offered our best ideas on a number of investigative options at their disposal.
We have great respect for the professionals at the FBI, and we believe their intentions are good. Up to this point, we have done everything that is both within our power and within the law to help them. But now the U.S. government has asked us for something we simply do not have, and something we consider too dangerous to create. They have asked us to build a backdoor to the iPhone.
Specifically, the FBI wants us to make a new version of the iPhone operating system, circumventing several important security features, and install it on an iPhone recovered during the investigation. In the wrong hands, this software — which does not exist today — would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession.
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 FBI has responded to this by stating: "We simply want the chance, with a search warrant, to try to guess the terrorist’s passcode without the phone essentially self-destructing and without it taking a decade to guess correctly.
"That’s it. We don’t want to break anyone’s encryption or set a master key loose on the land.
"Maybe the phone holds the clue to finding more terrorists. Maybe it doesn’t. But we can’t look the survivors in the eye, or ourselves in the mirror, if we don’t follow this lead."
A lawyer representing the victims of the shooting in San Bernardino in December has now annoucned that he is filing a legal brief telling Apple to disable the security software of the killer’s iPhone.
Stephen Larson said he intends to file legal paperwork on their behalf next month.
"They were targeted by terrorists, and they need to know why, how this could happen," said Larson.