back to article John McAfee: Ashley Madison hack may ‘destabilise society’

Wildcard former securityware kingpin John McAfee reckons the Ashley Madison adultery-site hack threatens to "literally destabilise society", and was definitely the work of an individual acting alone. For reasons that no doubt seem good to him, he said he has also breached the site again himself. The one-time Guatemalan …

  1. Khaptain Silver badge

    The magic roundabout

    "If they're married, they're risking their families, they're risking their careers, and they are open to manipulation by foreign governments and other agencies."

    Does that mean that we might then get lucky enough to replace them with some honest people. No, probably not, because there is a huge queue of other greedy, dishonest politicians/business men/mafia/people just waiting to take their places....

    It's pub time already and where's those bloody Google self drive cars, so that I can have my cold beer in the back of the car, with one of John's friends, whilst driving home.

    1. Blank Reg

      Re: The magic roundabout

      That's the age old problem of politics, most of those that want to be politicians shouldn't, and those that should be politicians don't want to.

  2. Cardinal

    "the IT department head and those of the head's INFERIORS, "

    Wow! - Is this now Management new-speak for 'subordinates'?

    Well, it's been coming inexorably for years I suppose.

    "Get back to work you dogs!"

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Why on earth is he so concerned about AFF and Ashley Madison?

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: Seriously

      It's probably where he got his hookers from.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Seriously

        Nah, I have the impression that John gets his hookers from either: A) Super high end brothels that require a million dollar deposit to open your account or B) Crack whores from behind a burning dumpster next to a tire shop.

        1. sisk

          Re: Seriously

          It could come out that he's their most active client by far and there would be nothing more than shrugged shoulders. Even if he's one of the "cheating scumbags" on the list people wouldn't even be surprised, let alone outraged. He's already got a rep as a womanizer to put James Bond to shame. It would change nothing for him personally. So I can only assume that his concern about the far-reaching effects of this hack is genuine. Not necessarily accurate mind you, but genuine.

          At any rate I suspect we're about to see an uptick in the businesses of divorce lawyers and marriage counselors. Hopefully not in that order.

          1. LaeMing

            Re: Seriously

            My money is on a group of divorce lawyers doing the hack.

  4. danR2

    Was it really a 'hack' though, John?

    The company is asserting it was an inside job by some sort of contract worker, however. If it involved privileges and passwords conferred, it wasn't a hack, but more of espionage. Depending on Canadian law, there may be no basis for prosecution. If AM/ALM didn't sew up the contract's non-disclosure wording tightly, there may even be no civil basis against the whistleblower/leaker.

    And if AM can argue that 'delete' neither meant nor implied a 7-pass overwrite destruction, but simply the same thing as where you trash a file and empty the can (recoverable), a suit could likewise fail.

    1. PleebSmash

      Re: Was it really a 'hack' though, John?

      *downloading 400 GB intensifies*

      1. danR2

        Re: Was it really a 'hack' though, John?

        I guess that answers the "Hacking Team" item, but...

    2. GX5000

      Re: Was it really a 'hack' though, John?

      Thank-You !

      No hack, crack or jack...

      Don't you just love the way the Public botches tech terms ?

      This is pure Con job, espionage is a nice touch.

      John gained someone's confidence by expertly lying and getting private information freely so one

      might conclude that security is so lax that the "insider" did the same, or maybe used a keylogger etc...


  5. Simon Harris

    Article illustration...

    A somewhat optimistic view of the kind of shenanigans to expect after signing up to Ashley Madison?

  6. Yugguy


    So, is it "hi per bo lee" or "hi per bowl" ?

    1. VeganVegan

      it's 'Hip Urp Olé'

      Effervescent beer hour in Espana.

    2. Hollerith 1

      Re: Hyperbole

      hi-per-bo-le, as it is Greek. If pronounced the greek way, no syllable is inflected, but we English-speakers normally say hi-PER-bo-lee.

      1. x 7

        Re: Hyperbole

        you're wrong there.

        Most English english-speakers would pronounce "hyperbole" as "bollocks" or "bullshit"

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hyperbole

        "hi-per-bo-le, as it is Greek. If pronounced the greek way, no syllable is inflected, but we English-speakers normally say hi-PER-bo-lee."

        I think you mean stressed, not inflected. AFAIK classical Greek relies on length not stress, hence the little rhyme we all learnt at school that begins

        "Trochee trips from long to short..."

        Inflection is like amo, amas, amat where the endings tell you about the function of the word in the sentence.

        Also, while I'm on a pedant rant, the "y" in hyper in Greek is not pronounced like a long English dipthong. It's more like the French u.

        1. Yugguy

          Re: Hyperbole


        2. Martin Maloney

          Re: Hyperbole

          "Also, while I'm on a pedant rant, the "y" in hyper in Greek is not pronounced like a long English dipthong. It's more like the French u."

          I thought that it might be silent -- like the "p" in swimming.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hyperbole

          Thank goodness someone pointed out the pronunciation of the upsilon...

        4. Glenturret Single Malt

          Re: Hyperbole

          I don't think the final syllable is pronounced -lee. It is more like -ley or -lay.

          The last bit is like the Spanish word ole!

  7. danR2

    Cool Story, John

    Now, turn it into news and give the first two characters of the password, and see what AM has to say. They can always change it. Suppose they have cast-iron protocols for just such emergency requests. But suppose they gave you a fake password and waited for your logon attempt. Or suppose they gave you a real password to a bait-data server.

    Or suppose you just made the whole thing up?

  8. Erik4872

    "Wildcard" indeed

    McAfee and RMS are constantly trading places at #1 and #2 in the list of strange public figures in the tech industry.

    In McAfee's case, I guess it's partially due to the fact that he probably has more money than he could ever use in a lifetime. It's really strange how never having to worry about money changes the calculus on people's actions. That said, you see lottery winners who manage to blow through $150 million and celebrities/athletes who end up broke a few years after their prime. I've always wondered where all the money goes, especially in the extreme cases. There are only so many luxury goods, houses and cars one can buy.

    That said, anyone at AM who can be social-engineered after all this mess is a complete idiot. Who gives their password to anyone??

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: "Wildcard" indeed

      And they are never seen in the same room together !

    2. Mage Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: "Wildcard" indeed

      It's been documented that free chocolate is enough.

      1. LaeMing

        Re: "Wildcard" indeed

        It's also why the "no one can hack my brain" excuse mentioned in that Google study is rather naïve. Social engineering like this is exactly hacking the user's brain.

        Pic related:

  9. ZootCadillac

    Ah yes, the old 'social engineering hack' except it's not really a hack is it? more of a communications fraud.

    I worry ( minutely) about McAfee's mental health these days. Something is eating at his brain, one could reasonably suspect given his behaviour.

    As for Erik and 'where does all the money go?'

    My only advice for the day you receive your lottery winnings is don't consider motor racing. Quickest way to have a million dollars. Start with ten million and go racing.

    1. Hollerith 1

      I love how easy it is

      "Hi, I am Brian Honestcop from the NSA, and I am contacting you about a security breach that has just come to my attention. I will need all your usernames, passwords, mobile numbers and home addresses in order to counter-check against the information that has come through to me.

      "While I have you on the phone, my mother, a Nigerian princess, recently died. I would not only welcome your prayers, but also your assistance to transfer my inheritance..."

    2. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

      That's a hack too

      Yes, that social engineering is still a hack. There should not be any kind of password sharing - EVER. Secure systems exclusively use personal authentication and privileges. That makes "never give your password to anyone" rules easy to follow. It funnels the creation of new authentication and privileges through people or teams that know how to go about it securely.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: That's a hack too

        That's why our policy is that passwords must contain a perverted sexual act (in uppercase) - it really cuts down on people revealing their passwords

      2. GX5000

        Re: That's a hack too

        Have to disagree, that's espionage at its base, a hack requires some software or hardware work, it's like the difference between "Breaking and Entering". The Breaking is the hack, the entering was because the window was already opened. If we let people redefine our terms we're in for more nonsense and confusion, which is why people still think some guy at a terminal with a coffee and cigarette spent hours at a keyboard instead of someone on the phone or with a USB key shuffling around.

  10. Howard Hanek

    Define 'Stability'

    I think he's trying to equate the consequences of denying people's lusts with trying to control some animal during mating season......oh wait.....! I see it now.....Lust crazed individuals running amuck and that sort of thing. Someone should examine McAfee's 'stability' or something.

    1. Turtle

      @Howard Hanek Re: Define 'Stability'

      John McAfee thinks that the Ashley Madison hack might "destabilize society" but will it become as unstable as... John McAfee?

      Is that even possible?

  11. Amorous Cowherder

    STFU John, you're already a laughing stock!

    Nutjob, who's already proved he's very paranoid and slightly "off kilter" decides he needs to get his snout in the already stuffed to heaving, publicity trough!

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: STFU John, you're already a laughing stock!

      He should run for president !

  12. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    Is what he did

    any different from

    "Hi, I'm John from HSBC, we've detected what appears to be fraud on your HSBC credit card, now we need to double check the details against the data we have so if you can give me the card number and your pin number , we can then verify if its been used for fraud"

    whether an account/password has been obtained by levering open a SSH login to accept dodgy data or a fake call to obtain said data.. its still a hack.

    And the company is still liable in both cases.

    But then part of me wants top politicians/MPs outed from this for lulz factor.... hence the icon

  13. CrosscutSaw

    Captain Insane-O

    Wow JohnMac is off his rocker!

    I definitely think he made this up.

    He just happened to throw away the password? Right.

  14. akeane
    Thumb Up

    "From the comfort of his own bed"...

    ... says it all really.

    I really am quite fond of Mr McAfee.

    May his crazy antics and adventures continue, it's almost better than reading Digitiser in the morning, until the teletext bastards took it from us...

    Godspeed John, may you continue to light up an otherwise borin' internet with your fine capers :-)

  15. Any mouse Cow turd

    dodgy politicians

    If the data does contain details of shenanigans by politicians then it's more likely the info will be used to turn them into puppets rather than oust them. What's the pint in having all that diet on someone and not using it to your advantage.

  16. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Justicesays

      Re: So he accessed a computer system without authorization?


      Someone gave him their password (possibly) when he asked.

      That's it, no computer system access involved.

      Might as well arrest those people handing out chocolate bars for passwords...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So he accessed a computer system without authorization?

        Oh no! my password is a chocolate bar.

        It was marathon but I had to change it to snickers...

      2. Mark 85

        Re: So he accessed a computer system without authorization?

        Misread it, withdrew my post. I was under the impression he did use the ill-gotten passwords.

  17. iLuddite


    I think the more interesting element is the possibility of the exposure of 'high' officials who have played the "if you have nothing to hide..." card while supporting more pervasive snooping laws.

  18. Six_Degrees

    McAfee makes Donald Trump look nearly sane and reasonable.

  19. Trollslayer

    It may STABILISE society

    But nothing can stabilise him.

  20. Brandon 2

    Does anyone believe this?

    Surely this is satire... "Hi, this is the FBI. You have a virus. Just hand over the password and we'll gladly take care of it for you." RRRIIIIIGGGHTTT... who falls for that? My grandmother doesn't even click on those emails... (anymore)

    1. GX5000

      Re: Does anyone believe this?

      Actually it happens all the time.

      How do you think all these scammers make their money anyways and are still around ?

      If you need anything to compare to, look at all the twits that send money to TV and online churches for get the idea....

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I think that, from what I have heard, the hacker is an individual with a real personal grudge against AM; I would suggest they look for a computer expert whose spouse had a affair they helped arrange.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Grudge

      "I would suggest they look for a computer expert whose spouse had a affair they helped arrange."

      Sadly, on John's evidence, you can scrub the "computer expert" from that profile and if AM's pre-hack publicity (about how great they are) is to be believed then that means a shortlist of a few tens of millions. The investigation could take a while.

  22. Mpeler

    Big Mac Attack

    Looks like they've been, erm, bitten by a Big Mac Attack now. Maybe he was looking to remove his, erm, particulars.

    If this were on "Wheel of Fortune" the puzzle would be Ashley Madison Avenue. All your details advertised, up in lights.

    Famliy Law "ambulance chasers" must be circling like sharks now. Having said that, the only real losers in this will be the jilted spouses and their families.

  23. Darth.0


    I assume this hacker or these hackers are hacking and possibly blackmailing these "cheating scumbags" from a higher moral ground?

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