McAfee-CNBC screen shot

John McAfee, McAfee Founder, discusses his offer to unlock the iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters, privacy concerns, and a potential global cyber war. Image source.

by Brian Shilhavy
Editor, Health Impact News

Is the FBI’s recent demand that Apple Computer help them to unlock an iPhone used in an alleged terrorist attack a concern over national security, or a way to force Apple to create a “backdoor” key to unlock anyone’s iPhone?

John McAfee, the founder of McAfee security software, recently weighed in on this issue during an interview with CNBC. McAfee offered to unlock the iPhone for the FBI for free, eliminating the need for the FBI to force Apple Computers to give them access to their software to unlock the phone.

If the FBI succeeds in getting a back-door encryption key, according to McAfee:

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.

This is a black day and the beginning of the end of the US as a world power.

When asked during the CNBC interview if he was exaggerating when he said this, McAfee explained:

A backdoor to encryption is like a “master key,” only it is in software. You can make a million copies of if for free. There has never been a back door that has not been hacked into by bad hackers or foreign nations. So really what the government is asking Apple to do, is to make every individual who uses an iPhone susceptible to hacking by bad people, foreign governments, or anyone who wants (to hack them).

Explaining how the FBI has already proven they cannot keep data secure from hackers, McAfee continues:

Now just imagine, if hackers had access to every encrypted communication on the iPhone, we would be losing our money, we would be losing our Social Security information – everything about us would be known by the wrong people.

Think about this for a minute. Think about the implications of every man, woman and child, everything about your life being open to the bad people in the world.

I don’t want the FBI in my life. I think that privacy is an innate right, and not just that, society cannot exist without it. You don’t realize that you access privacy, 100 times a day. Privacy is necessary for the glue that keeps us together.

On the Verge of a Cyber War

McAfee was then asked if the security issues over terrorist information on the iPhone would override the privacy concerns. McAfee answered emphatically with “No,” and explained:

We’re on the verge of a cyber war with China. China has already taken 21 million records from the Office of Personnel Management last year of every employee who has ever worked for the U.S. Government. No greater coup of espionage has ever happened in the history of the world.

Keep in mind, a cyber war is going to be many times more devastating than any nuclear war you can imagine. Our entire infrastructure will be shut down.

U.S. Technological Capabilities are “20 Years Behind”

When asked why the U.S. government themselves could not hack into the iPhone in question, and had to ask Apple Computers to help them, McAfee replied:

We are 20 years behind the rest of the world. And here is why.

All of the great hackers, are not the type of people who want to wear suits, shine their shoes, and show up to work at 8:00 a.m. every day. Many of them are very a-social. They have their own style. They want to smoke weed while they work, or whatever (it is they want to do). This is not conducive to being hired by the FBI. Our entire government has become a bureaucracy: sick, tired, and old as far as technology is concerned.

Do you think the Chinese think twice about hiring a hacker with a mohawk, or a tattooed face?

There are mathematicians who are born with a capacity to multiply 2000 digit numbers in their head instantly – it is a unique talent. There are hackers that have this down. They can look at a piece of code and disassemble it in their minds. These are the type of people I work with. I promise you, none of them are working for the U.S. government.

The Cyber War Threat is Very Real and Imminent – Push of a Button Will Bring Down Power Grid

When asked about the current cyber war threat, McAfee explained:

I think the Chinese and the Russians are playing with us, getting information. I guarantee you they have a button they can push, anytime they wish, which will shut down our power grid, which in turn will shut down our food production, our communications, our emergency services.

There were studies done and presented to Congress last year that said 90% of Americans will perish in an all out cyber war with Russia or China. We are looking at something massively serious here.

Watch the full interview from CNBC:

Are Americans Technologically Illiterate?

One of the claims John McAfee frequently makes is that Americans are largely technology illiterate, including politicians and the U.S. government. How many people reading this article, for example, understand the issues McAfee addresses, and have a plan in place to survive for an extended period of time with no power?

How many people truly understand the privacy issues of allowing the FBI to have a back-door key to cell phones? Apparently, not many, as a recent national poll found that a majority of Americans supported the FBI over Apple Computers on this issue.

Wake up America! The government is increasingly limiting our choices for the medical care we choose to receive or not receive, for the food we choose to eat and not to eat, how to raise our children, and for many other things in life we want to have the freedom to choose and to live in privacy with our choices.

McAfee is correct when he states:

“I think that privacy is an innate right, and not just that, society cannot exist without it.”