McAfee Claims Knowledge of Situation
John McAfee, cybersecurity guru and Libertarian presidential candidate, said that the FBI knew all along they could unlock the iPhone of San Bernardino terrorist Syed Farook. According to an interview with Forbes, McAfee claims that the FBI signed a contract with the Israeli company Cellebrite in 2013 to provide a device called UFED Touch.
McAfee said the reason why the FBI wanted Apple to unlock the iPhone for them was to establish a precedent. If it won against Apple, it could have gotten Google to give them a backdoor for the Android, as well. It would also be much easier and cheaper, as the UFED Touch costs thousands of dollars, much more than the DOJ can afford.
McAfee told several news outlets, including The Libertarian Republic, that he knew who was helping. He wouldn’t name the company, though he did tell TLR in an exclusive interview that it was a company in Israel which turned out to be Cellebrite.
He declined to name his sources.
Cellebrite is a mobile forensics company founded in 1999 before being acquired by Sun Corporation, based in Japan. Cellebrite has two Global Co-CEO’s Yossil Carmil and Ron Serber. The company claims that they are the “prime choice of forensic specialists in law enforcement, military, intelligence, corporate security and eDiscovery agencies, with more than 30,000 UFED units deployed in more than 100 countries.”
McAfee has aggressively defended Apple in editorials and interviews. He debated with former FBI agent Steve Rogers on Apple’s court battle with the FBI last month on CNN. McAfee has also drawn criticisms over his responses, such as the tech website Ars Technica, which said he would have to eat his shoe because they didn’t believe he could hack into an iPhone. However, he challenged his detractors in an Inverse article.
Cybersecurity is a central tenet of McAfee’s platform and the reason why he first ran as a Cyber Party candidate before switching to the Libertarian Party.
McAfee recently appeared in the Libertarian Presidential Forum where he claimed that we are already at war with China and that the United States is twenty years behind China and Russia in regards to cybersecurity.