The case of the terrorist’s iPhone took an unexpected turn yesterday when eccentric antivirus pioneer John McAfee offered to hack the iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters. The FBI has gone to court to force Apple to program a firmware update that will disable the security on the phone that deletes all its data if an incorrect password is entered ten times.
Apple has refused to do so, as it would give the FBI a backdoor to all iPhones. The refusal to comply with the FBI’s demands has put the question of personal freedom against the rights of the government to search your communications without consent.
Laying out the reasons for refusing to supply the hack to the government, Apple CEO Tim Cook said
“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.“
To prevent the government from forcing Apple to make them a custom version of iOS that would give them a backdoor to any Apple device, cyber-security expert John McAfee has offered to break the encryption on the terrorist’s iPhone free of charge and do it in three weeks or less. McAfee is famous for inventing the world’s first commercial antivirus product, naturally called “McAfee Antivirus.”
He described the dangers of the US security apparatus possessing an “Apple backdoor” in an open letter:
“No matter how you slice this pie, if the government succeeds in getting this back door, 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 it 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.”
Touting the abilities of his team of hackers, McAfee used the occasion to bash the “ancient cybersecurity and cyberdefense systems” of the US government. Noting that the Chinese and Russians are decades ahead of the US in cyberwarfare, he blasts the lack of political will to do anything about it. In particular, he calls out Hillary Clinton, “whose cybersecurity platform includes negotiating with the Chinese so they will no longer launch cyberattacks against us.”
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