McAfee Lied about San Bernardino Shooter’s iPhone Hack

by Elias J. Atienza

Yesterday, John McAfee, according to Daily Dotlied about hacking into the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone, but said he did it for a good cause.

McAfee has been on a media blitz: he’s appeared on CNBCCNN, and Business InsiderHe made social media waves when he claimed he could hack into the iPhone of the San Bernardino shooter with a secret way and “social engineering.”

The method, according to McAfee, is not secret and not feasible to do. He first admitted to lying about it in an Inverse interview. However, he said he did it to bring attention to the war between Apple and the FBI, along with boosting his own presidential campaign.

“By doing so, I knew that I would get a shitload of public attention, which I did. That video, on my YouTube account, it has 700,000 views. My point is to bring to the American public the problem that the FBI is trying to [fool] the American public. How am I going to do that, by just going off and saying it? No one is going to listen to that crap.”

“So I come up with something sensational,” he continued. “Now, what I did not lie about was my ability to crack the iPhone. I can do it. It’s a piece of friggin’ cake. You could probably do it.”

McAfee also discussed his method of hacking into the phone. According to Daily Dot:

“Later in the interview, McAfee described his method, which involves “decapping” the phone’s processor and acquiring the device’s unique identifier (UID), that may allow someone to brute force the phone’s password—guess the password by flooding it with options—at a faster rate. Despite his insistence that the Daily Dot not publish this technique, McAfee has explained the method in previous media interviews.”

But, as Ars Technica explained, that method doesn’t make sense to some experts.

McAfee later hung up on Daily Dot because he thought everything was off the record. He later texted them.

“The lie was an exaggeration of simplicity. As the Inverse article explained, it would have been impossible in the time allowed to explain the fullness of the truth. If you fault me for that, then you, and possibly your readers, will have been the only one on the planet to have done so.”

He added that it “seemed absurd to me to focus on a simplification of a technique, given the stakes at risk—a potentially Orwellian state initiated by the populace ignoring the truth of what the FBI is trying to do to us.”

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