John McAfee’s Location Exposed by Image Metadata

The founder of the antivirus firm clears up rumors about his arrest

By on December 4th, 2012 09:37 GMT

The John McAfee story keeps getting more and more interesting. First of all, he has published a blog post to deny the rumors about his arrest.

“I apologize for the silence, and misdirection,” McAfee explained. “We are not in Belize, but not quite out of the woods yet.”

The founder of the world renowned antivirus company is displeased with the fact that the press has painted him as a “drug crazed madman.” In an attempt to put an end to this, he allowed Vice Magazine to document his life on the run.

However, a picture of McAfee alongside Vice Magazine editor-in-chief Rocco Castoro has been found to contain metadata that places them somewhere it Guatemala. Sophos researchers have even managed to pinpoint the location based on the GPS coordinates.

Interestingly, after the news about the metadata broke out, McAfee published another blog post claiming that he tampered the EXIF data on purpose.

“I openly apologize to Vice Magazine for manipulating their recently published photo. I have been ferocioously put my place by Mr. Rocco for ‘interfering’ with the objectivity of their reporting,” he said.

“I, for my own safety, manipulated the xif data on the image taken from my cellphone, and created a fake emrgency so that the urgency of movement led, as I knew it would, to the hasty posting on their website. I felt that our tenuous situation demanded action, and that was the action that I chose.”

On the other hand, many people argue that the picture was taken in Guatemala at the Nana Juana Hotel Marina and Yacht Club and McAfee published the apology only to throw authorities off track.

Experts have often warned about the privacy implications of metadata contained in photos. A few months ago, metadata allowed 4chan users to locate a Burger King employee that posted a picture of him stomping on lettuce.

This method was also utilized earlier this year by authorities to track down a hacker of the CabinCr3w collective.

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The picture that exposed John McAfee's location
   The picture that exposed John McAfee's location