John McAfee Goes From Defensive To Cyber Offensive

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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Thomas Brewster

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

View Comments

  • McAfee is a criminal, especially now as he is hacking into government computers and spying on people. He's also insane. His claims are ridiculous. He's setting up this smoke screen probably to deflect blame and attention away from the probability that he shot his neighbor. Why would an innocent man run from the law?

  • John McAfee is not crazy ... but he is certainly wily like a fox!

    What is so unbelievable to you about a highly intelligent man using all of his high-tech skills and social engineering expertise to fight back against a corrupt Belizean government that was repeatedly trying to exort larger and larger sums of money from him - like to the tune of $2 million dollars?! Then when he told them to politely F-off they came back after him with a vengeance with the raid on his property, the handcuffing and leaving him to burn in the hot sun for several hours, the killing of his dogs, the unwarranted arrests and interrogations for several days of his employees and on and on.

    Are you kidding me?! I would be pissed off too! Of course he launched into full-scale counter attack using spyware. I love it. I would have done the same thing if I had his skills and ability to rally the troops. I'm thinking that the reason he has gone public with his information and taped conversations with Belizean insiders talking about the widespread corruption throughout the government of Belize is because to NOT do so would be morally wrong when he knows lives are in danger -- both Belize citizens and US citizens.

    Have you been following the news in Belize?! That place is a rathole of corruption and their so-called GSU (Gang Suppression Unit) is a Death Squad.
    Four dead bodies and gallons of blood shown in this video of murders conducted by police in Belize City. The U.S government should get involved to help the people oust the corrupt Prime Minister Barrow and his evil cronies.
    Watch this video: The atrocities continue in Belize. But good to see the people starting to speak out.

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