John McAfee can break into the Apple’s iPhone 6 if they just give him a chance, but his claim is certainly total bluster. The claim gets John McAfee his 15 minutes of fame, although today it has been cut to about 90 seconds on national television. I explained the government’s problem with hacking through the iPhone 6 in a separate blog- but it’s worth reviewing.
Apparently, law enforcement departments across the country have a large number of iPhone 6 they would like to open. FBI Director Comey explained the problem best as they want Apple to remove the watchdog in front of the security system. Apple’s iPhone 6 has built in defenses when it suspects there is an intruder. Entering the password too many times, initiates a delay in password attempts. The user can activate another security measure which would wipe clean iPhone contents if too many attempts are made on the phone. The phone is still functional in every respect, except the user’s content such as telephone numbers, pictures, etc is gone. These measures thwart an attempt to open the iPhone by simply trial and error iterations on the password.
So, what the government has been unable to do, is to find a means of calling off the watchdog, presumably by some code change in the operating system. Once that is done, it could be days, months or years (or never) to hack through the phone by guessing at the password. The government is likely has experts working with other iPhone 6 so they don’t trigger the defense mechanisms on the San Bernadino phone.
Along with pictures, there is likely stored GPS information, useful in tracking the movements of the San Bernadino terrorists. The contents of cell phone these days is a phenomenal tool in solving crimes. But search warrants are required.
Now what you need to know about John McAfee. John McAfee founded McAfee and Associates, but he sold out way too soon. He credits the success of his company, to finding the best individuals to write the anti-virus software. He has a long history of being an incredible promoter of his latest endeavors. For decades, he separated himself from the computer technology world. As a great marketer that he is, he was involved in marketing various enterprises including yoga, ultalight flight, and anti-viral medicines based on plants grown in Belize. With the wealth gained from the sale of McAfee, he built a number of beautiful homes and according to McAfee, had to unload them at a loss. Now, he has founded Future Tense Central and announced he is running for president. I don’t see much for sale at his website but a baby monitoring system.
Ok. So why John McAfee is blowing hot air? Because if what he is saying is true, he can at any moment, demonstrate his company’s ability to open iPhone 6. If he could do that, I’m sure he will be in strong demand from law enforcement across the country, with much less publicized cases, such as theft and drug cases. Of course, these would be cases where the police has valid search warrants to hack the phones based on probable cause.
He’s teasing the FBI- I know how to open the phone and you don’t. Ha ha ha. And I can’t tell you unless you give me the San Bernadino iPhone, which the FBI can’t do, in case John McAfee sets off the watch dogs.
But, McAfee always sounds very good. He gets invited as keynote speaker at computer security conferences. And obviously, he knows how to get on MSNBC or Fox News in their attempts to find commentators on any hot topic of the day.