Man who created anti-virus giant turns cyber criminal?
In his fight against Belize police, John McAfee now says he has been using counter-espionage and advanced security techniques to go on the offensive against official systems, according to claims on his blog.
McAfee described his attempts to steal information from government sources and phone companies in Belize, in a detailed blog post, delivered during a break in the Midwest of the US. The founder of security firm McAfee is currently embroiled in a bitter war with the Belize authorities, who he accuses of various crimes including sheltering terrorists and killing McAfee’s dog.
McAfee’s bizarre story rolls on
The latest tale of skullduggery marks another bizarre moment in this surreal narrative. McAfee was wanted for questioning on the murder of neighbour, Gregory Faull, but was granted passage into the US last month, after sneaking over the Belize border into Guatemala.
He is now revealing details of a sustained campaign to extract information from the Belize government before he fled the country. In doing so, however, he may also have admitted to a carrying out, somewhat ironically, a cyber crime.
McAfee’s first step was to buy 75 laptops, install keylogging software on them, and then pass them off as presents to officials in Belize.
He later set up a crack team, consisting of 23 women and six men, who were trained up on social engineering techniques, McAfee claimed he was able to get hold of telephone conversations of government officials.
McAfee also sent his minions, armed with voice recorders, to charm and seduce officials, before infecting their machines with malware.
The various pieces of malicious software would capture information from targets’ PCs, sending it directly back to McAfee over his command and control infrastructure.
It appears McAfee went on the offensive after the Belizean prime minister refused to apologise to the anti-virus luminary for a police raid on his home last April, during which one of his dogs was shot.
“Suffice to say: I did it just because I could,” he wrote in his blog post. “A simple apology, in the early stages at least, would have stopped this whole affair. I received none.
“What I was looking for was high level corruption.”
McAfee claimed to have unearthed evidence suggesting the Belizean government was conspiring to send people connected with terrorist organisations, such as Hezbollah, into the US. He claimed such individuals were being given fresh identities before moving over to the US, and Belize was working alongside neighbouring authorities, including those in Nicaragua, to help them do so.
Although the claims are largely left unsubstantiated, McAfee says he is deadly serious about his latest comments, although he admits to having lied to the press before to hide his tracks.
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