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John McAfee: Money For Lies

28/06/2017 04:47 CEST | Actualizado 28/06/2017 04:47 CEST
John McAfee

You are currently developing your new role at MGT Capital Investments and just announced the addition of Ethereum and Ethereum Classic to your mining strategies. Is Ethereum better than Bitcoin? Which are the advantages of using Ethereum?

There is no better or worse in cryptocurrencies. There is only the question of what application the currency is used for. For example: Ethereum is best for the creation of smart contracts. Smart contracts have tremendous application to the world of business. Many companies are using them to solve the supply chain problem. Currently, large companies like Wal-Mart might have to deal with dozens of steps in the manufacture and sale of their products. Let's take a rattan sofa, for example. The raw material for the fiber may be grown in Indonesia. The fiber may be processed and woven in the Philippines. The side, seat and back panels of the sofa may be created in Mexico. The frame in Wisconsin and the final assembly on Los Angeles. In addition, shipping and carrier companies are involved between each step. With current technology, the entire chain can be delayed, derailed or scammed by unscrupulous actors. With smart contracts all participants in the chain have instantaneous access to every party and every step. A shipper, for example might say that they are delayed because the provider is late in delivering their product. If untrue, the provider can jump in instantaneously and say "bullshit". I delivered my parts to them yesterday. Also, if there are legitimate delays or unanticipated problems, everyone further up the chain instantly knows it without requiring central coordination. The opportunity for taking advantage of the chain is removed. This is a powerful advance

Bitcoin, on the other hand, is leaner and meaner. It provides no smart contracts, but as a cryptocurrency, it is unequaled as a pure currency, at least in terms of acceptability as pure payment for goods. Many of the more than 300 cryptocurrencies have their own unique niche.

How do you see the current cybersecurity landscape in the United States? And how about Latin America?

Information security and privacy, for individuals, enterprises a governments are rapidly evaporating not just in North and South America, but in every country in the world. If anyone doubts this, simply observe the news items in any media outlet that refer to hacking, ransomware, digital spying, etc, that are growing so fast that we seldom bother to read them anymore. Just this morning I spotted an item about Honda Motors. Their Japanese manufacturing plant was shut down for more than 24 hours because of a hacking event. It was a small story, hardly noticeable, yet I am confident that such an event had to cost the company millions of dollars. World hackers are closing in on us. The world is heading toward a crisis if we don't soon wake up.

The problem we are facing is created by our current security paradigm, which is outdated and virtually non functional in the new world of hacking techniques. I would know this because I invented the current paradigm. The overwhelming majority of our security products and services are based on the antivirus concept, which relies on the identification of malware to protect us. I invented this technique in 1987. Does it still work? Absolutely not. The overwhelming majority of noteworthy hacks for the past five years were perpetrated against organizations who were using top of the line software from Symantec, McAfee, Kaspersky and other traditional suppliers of cybersecurity protection. In many cases, hacks had been going on for years before they were detected.

I started warning the world about this problem ten years ago. No one listened. Still, no one is listening. What I created had a good run. Nearly 20 years elapsed before the paradigm began to collapse, as all paradigms eventually do. But in the meantime few, if any, in the cybersecurity field concerned themselves with what might replace it. The reason is because this collapse came on rapidly, and in a manner so complex that, for most, the hacking chaos around us could not be linked directly to the collapse of the paradigm. So, it went largely unnoticed as hacks grew exponentially in frequency and damage.

This changed two years ago when two inescapably serious events happened almost simultaneously: The first was the instantaneous collapse and total disappearance of Ashley Madison, a thriving, multibillion dollar company, due to a hack. The second was the hack of the US Office of Personnel management, in which detailed, private and sensitive information was stolen - about every employee of the US Government, including everyone ever granted a high level security clearance in companies that contracted with the Government. That included me by the way. No greater nation state spying coup has ever been achieved.

After these events a few cybersecurity professionals began to question the validity of our cybersecurity methods. But there were no options available to replace them.

Basing a security paradigm on the identification of malware, in today's world, is not only fruitless and absurd, it is enormously costly, not just in terms of the computing resources necessary to process the functions, but in terms of the enormous potential losses due to our false sense of security that hackers count on in order to succeed.

Searching for malware cannot work anymore because malware developers have invented sophisticated techniques, using the complexity of the Internet and the exploding number and type of devices being attached, to "cloak" their software for more and more extended periods of time. It will eventually be discovered, but until it is, there are no antivirus products in the world that can detect it. These security companies need a sample of the malware in order to develop a procedure to detect it. By the time they have, the hackers have developed brand new malware with a new cloaking system. It is an unwinnable war.

Myself and a few others are in the process of constructing the new paradigm. At MGT, the company I head, we are paying no attention to malware. Our intention is focused on the actions of the hackers who create the malware. And neither are we focused, as companies such as Crowdstrike are doing, on attempting to identify or classify hackers. This is as useless as trying to identify malware. Hundreds of new hackers enter the hacking arena every day. These hackers are new and young, and they come with new techniques. Identifying and classifying hackers will keep the Crowdstrike and similar paradigms forever behind the curve.

At MGT, we are focused on the rules that govern the hacking world. We know the rules because every technical employee and consultant at MGT is a world renowned hacker, as I hope I can classify myself as well. We determined, first, what is possible and not possible with each technology, device or system in this changing, expanding universe of digital technology. How we did this, and are doing this is our business. We then structured the "possible" into the "required", the "optional" and the "useless", in terms of all possible hacking techniques, for each device and system. How we achieved this feat is also our business. We then, using the trivial math of point-set topology, overlaid the set of possible benign activities for each entity and factored out any overlap. We are left with a set of AI processes, heuristic rules and flow options that can, absolutely, detect the presence of hacking activity within an enterprise network - no matter what it's source. Our first product, containing our first baby steps is Sentinal. It is being released in one month.

It cannot tell you who the hacker is or what group he or she may belong to. We cannot tell you why you are a targeted. We cannot tell you the hackers end goal or what malware he may choose to use in achieving your goal. Neither can we boot them out. What we can do, within a few seconds of the hacker's first sniff of the network, provide an alert along the lines of the following:

"Hacker probing network. First entry 7 seconds ago. Entrance through port 80"

That's all we're going to do at the first sniff. Keep in mind that weeks or months will transpire between the targeting of an organization and the actual theft or damage of data. At the time of our alert, nothing pressing is happening. You can call the FBI and see if they want try and find the potential perpetrator. You can go to lunch and have a stiff drink while you think about it. You can simply shu5 down port 80 and go on about your business. You have breathing room.

We will not and can not help you with this problem, unlike like the A/V companies do by removing an infection for you. But which would you prefer - having your problem fixed months or years after you have lost your data, or being notified in advance the you have been targeted and then dealing with problem yourself before any damage is done?

Talking about security, you are developing a smartphone with a very high level of security. How much will cost and when will it go on sale?

It will be priced at $1,100. It will be available late Spring or early Summer of 2018.

Johnny Depp to star in movie about you "King of the Jungle". What do you think about it? You agree with the use of your image?

I asked Larry Karazewski, one of the screenwriters, to lobby for Morgan Freeman instead of Johnny Depp. I believe Freeman's character more closely resembles mine. Here is a screenshot of part of my conversation with Larry (He and I both have an odd sense of humor):

John McAfee

This will not be the first time your name is on the big screens. Last year, Nanette Burstein with Showtime Networks, directed the documentary "Gringo: The Dangerous Life of John McAfee". What opinion you deserve with this doc that accuses you of rape and involvement in two murders?

Before I address "Gringo", I need to put into perspective the events in Belize, which I believe, led to the greatest media fabrication yet perpetrated in the 21st Century.

It began with a story written by Jeff Wise and published by Gizmodo on the 12th of November, 2012. The headline read: "John McAfee Wanted for Murder". It was totally false.

However, every media outlet in the World reprinted it and a media feeding frenzy of unprecedented magnitude commenced.

John McAfee

In an odd sequence of events, which still today is mystifying to me, not a single media outlet anywhere in the world bothered to check Jeff's story with the Belizean authorities. Not until after 50 hours had passed. The first to do so were CNN and CNBC, which did not occur until November 14 - two days after Jeff's story was published.

John McAfee

The register in the UK, referencing the CNN report had this to say:

"The story of John McAfee's pursuit in Belize has taken an odd turn: a police spokesperson has told CNN that the anti-virus pioneer is "not a suspect" in the investigation surrounding the murder of his neighbour."

This was true. And is still. I was not and have never been a suspect in the murder of Gregory Faull - except in my portrayal by the world press. Certainly not in the eyes of any Belizean investigative authority.

Why did the world press continue to insist otherwise? Certainly it's obvious: if Jeff Wise's story had been true, then, indeed, here was a story which, as long as I remained on the run, would pull in tens of millions of dollars a day in world viewership revenues. In two days the world had been convinced by Jeff's fabrication. It was salivating for more. After the CNN and CNBC reports came out, not a single media outlet asked the authorities to again verify that I was not a suspect. They cleverly focused on the only other thing the police were saying: "We want to question Mr. McAfee".

Indeed, they wanted to question every one of Mr. Faull's neighbors, and did so. I was one of his neighbors as well -- only I chose not to be questioned. My choice had nothing to do with Gregory Faull and everything to do with an ongoing war between myself and the Belizean Government which began in May of that same year and had been escalating with each passing week. It is a long story. It started when I demanded a public apology from the Prime Minister of Belize in May.

John McAfee

It shows my naivete. Most intelligent people don't "demand" anything from leaders of corrupt, violent, Banana Republic regimes. I'm a slow learner. If anyone is interested, I wrote the whole thing down for Business Insider a couple of years ago. You can read it here

Back to the press for a moment:

Even when I had been safely returned to America, Jeff Wise continued his creativity in attempting to keep the Cash Cow (myself) front and center. He wrote in a blog post (and removed it a few days after its creation) that I was immediately facing extradition proceedings. This was less than a month after I had returned to the U.S. Again, the world press was all over it.

John McAfee

Wisely, this time, no one in the press wanted to talk to Belizean authorities for fear they would dampen Jeff's imaginary story. No major news outlet did. Finally, the San Pedro Sun, a Belizean newspaper, did ask the authorities to verify Jeff's claim. Raphael Martinez, the official spokesman for the police and the Ministry of National Security, said, in no uncertain terms:

"He is only wanted for questioning. He is not a criminal. Extradition is absolutely out of the question".

But no one outside of Belize reads Belizean newspapers. The extradition story had good run and after an acceptable period of time, during which reality provided no support for the story, it simply died a natural death.

Now we can talk about "Gringo and Showtime.

This one individual - Jeff Wise - has written nearly twenty articles and blog posts demonizing me since 2011. He once even posed as a mental health professional and wrote an article for Psychology Today in which he suggested I had psychopathic personality. He has absolutely no training in Psychology by the way. He has dogged me from every quarter. He is also the Producer of Showtime's documentary about me -- and the lover of Alison Adonizio, who claimed that I "probably" raped her.

Now... Jeff could never have pulled off "Gringo" without the collaboration of a director equally as talented as himself at weaving fantasies that could survive the onslaught of reality for long periods of time. Fate smiled on Jeff and led him Nannette Burstein, the chosen director for this documentary.

Let me digress from the thread for a moment before I continue. It will give us a break from the tedium of the Jeff discussion.

I am in no way displeased with this movie. There is an incomprehensible law governing the human species, first discovered by P.T. Barnum, that can be loosely described as: There is no such thing as bad publicity. I, as much as anyone, am well well qualified to attest to its validity. One month after the Showtime release, my speaking agent was able to raise my speaking fee from $25,000 per keynote to $35,000 per keynote. My fame as a cybersecurity specialist blossomed to the point that I had to turn down four out of five requests to appear on national and international television to talk about cybersecurity. The number of requests mushroomed out of control. Larry King had me on his show three times after the Showtime airing to talk about politics, social issues and technology. The weirdest though, is that when I'm out and about I am frequently approached by strangers who all say a variant of: "You're John McAfee. I loved your Showtime piece". Seriously. I couldn't make this up. I can't explain it. It just is. This only works, I suspect, if the publicity is a fantasy. If all of Jeff's hard work had been accompanied by police banging on my door or any other corresponding link to reality, I think my experiences would be different.

Back to Jeff.

Jeff found Nanette to direct his creation. Nanette can be best summed up by a scathing comment in A.V. Club about her false documentary, "American Teen":

John McAfee

Nanette has a history of making false documentaries. You can count on her for them. She really shines in "Gringo".

A few weeks after "Gringo" aired, the largest newspaper in Belize had a front page story about Nanette and Jeff. The huge headline screamed out "MONEY FOR LIES".

John McAfee

It seems that Nanette had scripted my story, like she scripted "American Teen". Everyone she interviewed in Belize was told that this was a fictional move and that they were actors, in this case acting out being interviewed. Showtime even aired one of these individuals starting their interview saying something like: You're the boss, what do you want me to say? They were all paid handsomely. The Belizeans are a simple people. Folks like Jeff and Nanette simply don't exist there. The locals were this easy to manipulate.

Every one of the people Nanette interviewed on camera recanted their stories, also in front of a camera. These recantations can be seen on my YouTube channel. Even without the recantations, the stories are hilarious. I ask you, for example: what idiot would write a personal check to pay a hit man for a murder? More absurd: What hit man would accept a personal check for such a job? Please... think about it for a moment. A better director would have caught this obvious absurdity.

In any case what more can I say?

You might wonder what egregious offense would cause Jeff to dedicate his life to destroying me? To be honest with you... I can no longer remember.

Exclusive interview with Fernando Bruccoleri.