The adventures of former antivirus guru John McAfee continue with an episode in which he recollects how he managed to spy on Belizean authorities after they raided his house and shot his dogs back in April.In a lengthy blog post, entitled “A clear and present danger,” McAfee details how he “went on the offensive” against Belizean authorities.
The story appears to be taken out of a spy movie and it’s difficult to say if it’s true or not considering that not everything McAfee has published is true, but the most interesting part – from a cyber security perspective – is the way he used malware and social engineering to accomplish his goal.
“I purchased 75 cheap laptop computers and, with trusted help, installed invisible keystroke logging software on all of them – the kind that calls home (to me) and disgorges the text files. It also, on command, turns on, and off, the microphone and camera – and sends these files on command,” McAfee wrote.
“I had the computers re-packaged as if new. I began giving these away as presents to select people – government employees, police officers, Cabinet Minister’s assistants, girlfriends of powerful men, boyfriends of powerful women.”
Once the computers were in the possession of the targets, he hired individuals to monitor the information recorded by the spyware, including passwords for email, Facebook and other online accounts.
For the social engineering part, he hired a total of 29 “operatives.” They helped McAfee tap phones and plant bugs.
According to McAfee, his spying activity didn’t just reveal instances of corruption, murder and illicit love affairs, but also the presence of Hezbollah terrorists in Belize.
So, what did he hope to achieve by finding proof of corruption?
In his own words, “The satisfaction of revenge perhaps – to some extent – what little satisfaction there is in revenge. As a way to get my stuff back? Maybe. For the sheer joy of muscle flexing? I can’t answer precisely. Much of my life is a mystery to me. Suffice it to say: I just did it because I could.”