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John McAfee Tried to Trick Reporters Into Thinking He Hacked WhatsApp (gizmodo.com) 99

John McAfee, best known for creating McAfee security suite, apparently tried to trick journalists into believing that he is capable of breaking WhatsApp's end-to-end encryption and reading the private conversations. Gizmodo reports that McAfee tried to do so by sending journalists with compromised smartphones -- riddled with malicious tools such as keylogger. From the report: "[John McAfee was offering to a different couple of news organizations to mail them some phones, have people show up, and then demonstrate with those two phones that [McAfee] in a remote location would be able to read the message as it was sent across the phones," cybersecurity expert Dan Guido, who was contacted by a reporter trying to verify McAfee's claims said. "I advised the reporter to go out and buy their own phones, because even though they come in a box it's very easy to get some saran wrap and a hair dryer to rebox them."
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John McAfee Tried to Trick Reporters Into Thinking He Hacked WhatsApp

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  • And in completely unrelated news, it turns out all viruses were created by antivirus software companies.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Gizmodo reports that McAfee tried to do so by sending journalists with compromised smartphones

    But where did he send them?

    • by msauve ( 701917 ) on Monday May 16, 2016 @05:23PM (#52123847)
      You didn't even read the full summary... "to a different couple of news organizations..."
      • Gizmodo reports that McAfee tried to do so by sending journalists with compromised smartphones -- riddled with malicious tools such as keylogger. From the report:

        "to a different couple of news organizations" is in a completely different sentence. Either the sentence as written is missing a direct object, or we got an extraneous "with" lodged in there somehow.

        • by msauve ( 701917 )
          Whoosh.
          • To be whooshed there had to have been a joke.

            • by msauve ( 701917 )
              Don't you ever wonder why your friends are laughing and you just don't understand? It's true, Aspies don't recognize sarcasm, and have poor social skills.
              • Don't you ever wonder why your friends are laughing and you just don't understand?

                Not really.

                It's true, Aspies don't recognize sarcasm

                Ah, the good old Internet standby of calling anyone who disagrees with you illiteral/mentally ill. So what mental disorder causes you to be rude to everyone you meet online?

                have poor social skills.

                Not projecting at all...

                • Ah, the good old Internet standby of calling anyone who disagrees with you illiteral/mentally ill. So what mental disorder causes you to be rude to everyone you meet online?

                  Whoa there cowboy - Asperger's is not in any way shape or form mentally ill.

                  They are differently abled, and some of those abilities are magnitudes more proficient that "normal" people.

                  And normal ain't all that anyhow.

                  • Aspergers is in the DSM under Autism Spectrum Disorders. What would you call it? If it isn't a mental illness, than what is a mental illness?

                    Coming from someone who has this disorder...

                    • Aspergers is in the DSM under Autism Spectrum Disorders. What would you call it? If it isn't a mental illness, than what is a mental illness?

                      Coming from someone who has this disorder...

                      If you want to call yourself mentlly ill, have at it. I've worked with and was friends with a number of Engineers who were Aspies". They weren't social butterflies. But they were good engineers. They lived, ate and breathed with us, just like everyone else, they didn't commit crimes. About the worst was there was a level a level of curiousity and concern about their difference. I refuse to call a highly competent and focused person as mentally ill. Differently and sometimes superiorly abled is what I wou

                • Wow, 3 whole posts and already #31 on his foe list. I never knew it was so easy.

  • I used McAfee in the past, but I believe that was after John and the company parted. Besides that I never heard of him or read any news about him. For the past few years though I keep getting articles popping up about him. I have to give the guy credit for getting into the spotlight, at least he's more entertaining to read about than your standard celebrity.
    • I used McAfee in the past, but I believe that was after John and the company parted.

      John left the company in 1994.

      • Yeah, i figured I could have googled that... but meh....
      • by Anonymous Coward

        I used McAfee in the past, but I believe that was after John and the company parted.

        John left the company in 1994.

        John left reality about the same time

    • McCafee is the Donald Trump of Infosec. Always amusing to read about but proof that some things just don't react well with Cocaine

  • Con-Man (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GrooveNeedle ( 3847301 ) on Monday May 16, 2016 @03:36PM (#52122993)

    It seems like he's trying to be a con-man, and doing a real bad job of it. I'm not sure if any of that is intentional, or it's just the voices in his head making him do asinine things.

    • An imaginary Insightful upvote for you since I don't have mod points at the moment.
    • by Desler ( 1608317 )

      That's what happens after taking bath salts.

    • It seems like he's trying to be a con-man, and doing a real bad job of it.

      the truth is we don't know what he was trying to do. maybe he was trying to point out that the media isn't tech savvy and it blew up in his face or maybe he did it for the lulz, we really don't know. the only thing we do know is that he's not a credible source of information.

      • by Falos ( 2905315 )
        I'm gonna say all of the above is true, simultaneously. You could debate about whether he's "a joke", or how much so, but legit or not his shenanigans are good for a laugh, which is more than I can say about the rackets and exploitation and malice of most Tech/Corporate headlines.
      • It seems to me that he was trying to show how easy it is to social engineer a defeat to security or the appearance of security.

    • He successfully tricked them into thinking he's a Presidential candidate.
      • by Raenex ( 947668 )

        He successfully tricked them into thinking he's a Presidential candidate.

        So did Trump, but he actually got his party's nomination. I can't imagine McAfee being nominated by the Libertarian Party.

        • He successfully tricked them into thinking he's a Presidential candidate.

          So did Trump, but he actually got his party's nomination. I can't imagine McAfee being nominated by the Libertarian Party.

          That's what we said about Trump!

        • So did Trump, but he actually got his party's nomination. I can't imagine McAfee being nominated by the Libertarian Party.

          He won't. Gary Johnson has a pretty commanding lead. Still, even if he did, I'd vote for him before Clinton or Trump, because no matter how crazy he is, he's still better than either of them.

    • He's trolling -- using the same technique Craig Wright used to scam Gavin into thinking that he was Satoshi Nakamoto -- the "brand new computer" trick. It's a very relevant and snarky troll based on current events, which is what he's been doing with his youtube videos etc. He's not insane, just eccentric and happy to troll on people.
  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Monday May 16, 2016 @03:40PM (#52123045) Homepage
    I wanna see a cartoon or perhaps live action series where John McAfee and Steve Ballmer team up together for zany adentures. these guys are like the bill and ted of modern technology.
    • Holy F! that would be damn funny!
    • by eam ( 192101 )

      I imagine them getting into trouble every edition, with Steve Wozniak secretly swooping in, saving the day, and rescuing them each time. They would, of course, believe that they were the true heroes.

  • "App & App, whatsAPP?!"
    -- Kara, frustrated by the constant inquiries about Spock's APP
  • Sounds familiar (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sims 2 ( 994794 ) on Monday May 16, 2016 @03:46PM (#52123099)

    McAfee Says He Lied About iPhone Hacking Method To Get Public Attention
    https://apple.slashdot.org/sto... [slashdot.org]

  • Cybersecurity Ventures has an article [cybersecur...ntures.com] claiming it McAfee actually did it. So he managed to trick at least some of the reporters he talked to. Worth mentioning this is similar to the bitcoin/Craig Wright media trick.

    Here is a screenshot in case they realize their mistake and remove it later [imgur.com].
    • Re:it worked (Score:5, Insightful)

      by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Monday May 16, 2016 @03:48PM (#52123113) Journal
      John McAfee is mildly insane, but he gives me more entertainment per word uttered than most of the other people you see in the media. So keep going John, I'm waiting to see what weird thing you pull next.
      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by AdamThor ( 995520 )

        Exactly! Someone should hire him to consult about some technology issue, and make a reality tv series about it. You might not even have to tell him you're doing it!

        "All the cameras? Well, Mr. McAfee we take security very seriously here at Setec Astronomy."

  • Gizmodo reports that McAfee tried to do so by sending journalists with compromised smartphones -- riddled with malicious tools such as keylogger.

    Did someone a word here? What is this trying to say?

    • offering to a different couple of news organizations to mail them

      I RTFA, and this is an accurate quote. The grammar in article is as bad as the grammar in the summary.

      • by MoFoQ ( 584566 )
        It IS a part of gawker media after all, where the bar is so low, it's just a pipe placed on the ground.
  • Failure Abounds (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cyriustek ( 851451 ) on Monday May 16, 2016 @04:00PM (#52123213)

    John McAfee is doing everything he can to and and be relevant in today's society, apart from actually creating anything and doing something productive.

    * He is a failed Libertarian candidate for President
    * He failed to decrypt iPhones for the FBI although he said he can do it.
    * He failed in decrypting whatsapp.
    * The software he originally wrote is a failed idea. (Who ever thought A/V signatures were a good idea other than a mad man.)

    It is too bad he could not move back to South America since he is now a known fraud and dog killer.

    • (Who ever thought A/V signatures were a good idea other than a mad man.)

      I guess the question is who is the madder, the person with that good idea, or the people who kept buying it and the people who bought out the concept making the original mad man pretty wealthy.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      * He is a failed Libertarian candidate for President

      He's one of several people running for the Libertarian nomination, he is not the candidate. The LP has not had its convention yet this year so hasn't picked a candidate yet.

    • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) *
      Although I think McAffee is a lunatic and probably a murderer, even a broken clock is right twice a day. It was hilarious to read about all the naysayers on "tech sites" denying that the iphone could be hacked. While I'm not sure McAfee has the skill to do it, he was right in that it could be done. If your phone can decrypt stuff and display it on the screen for you, then it must have a copy of the key (or keys) somewhere. There is no such thing as a "secure device" if you have physical access to it. There
    • Didn't se say, quote, "I would eat my shoe on the Neil Cavuto show if we could not break the encryption on the San Bernardino phone."

      Shit, at least he could do that and we could get some entertainment out of him.
    • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Monday May 16, 2016 @04:42PM (#52123565) Journal

      > Who ever thought A/V signatures were a good idea other than a mad man.

      They WERE a good idea. He did that in 1987. Intel was selling a lot of 286 processors. The same year IBM announced their first 386 computer, the PS/2, which came with half a MB of RAM and supported of to 4MB if you maxed out the upgrades.

      A year earlier the first virus for PC compatibles had come out, called Brain. By 1987 there were several viruses, perhaps a dozen or more. Nothing that caused destruction over a network, though, that wouldn't happen until year-end.

      If you're trying to identify a dozen or so programs, and you have maybe 2KB to spare, a simple lookup table of signatures seems like a pretty good way to do it.

  • by bkmoore ( 1910118 ) on Monday May 16, 2016 @04:13PM (#52123329)
    In other news, Al-Queda's calling for the execution of John McAfee to damage the U.S. economy and expose millions of computers to viruses.
  • ...Is not to try to be a smartass, is to think that everyone else is stupid.
  • I don't understand what they are trying to say here: "Gizmodo reports that McAfee tried to do so by sending journalists with compromised smartphones -- riddled with malicious tools such as keylogger." What? He sent compromised smartphones to journalists? He sent messages to journalists who already had compromised smartphones? keyloggerS?
    • I *think* they are saying he sent compromised phones for them to use.

      Which is totally legit, hacking the end user is easier than hacking the technology, and often more effective.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    John McAfee, best known for being a crazy drug addict

    FTFY. McAfee's not best known for antivirus, he's best known for the crazy things he's done with the money he made making antivirus software.

  • Distraction from the fact that he was suspected of murder

  • by GodWasAnAlien ( 206300 ) on Monday May 16, 2016 @07:43PM (#52124627)

    saran wrap?

    Do people really seek a specific brand of plastic wrap?

    The best brand of plastic wrap, of course, is Cling-On brand plastic wrap.

    • Any kind of cling-wrap is wrong. What you want is SHRINK WRAP. If you received a phone in a box wrapped in household kitchen plastic wrap, you would suspect immediately that it had already been opened.
  • Did McAfee really write that anti-virus software? Or was it written by a Bangkok prostitute?

  • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 ) on Tuesday May 17, 2016 @12:38AM (#52125707)

    McAfee should suffer death by a million bee stings. He is an attention whore who deserves the worst the Universe has ever seen.

We all like praise, but a hike in our pay is the best kind of ways.

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