Ashley Madison Not Hacked, Data Stolen by Its Own Female Employee, Claims John McAfee
The developer of the first commercial anti-virus program and millionaire eccentric John McAfee has turned to launching his own investigation into the recent massive data dumps from Ashley Madison.
McAfee claims, after taking “over a week to finish the analysis,” he has discovered that the extramarital affair hook-up site was not hacked, instead the data was stolen by a female employee of Avid Life Media, parent company of Ashley Madison.
In his IBTimes UK article, McAfee reminds us that he has spent a part of his life analyzing cybersecurity breaches, and that he “can recognise an inside job 100% of the time.”
As for how he could be so sure about the recent Ashley Madison leak to be an inside job, McAfee says that “the data contains actual MySQL database dumps,” and it’s very rare for hackers to have full knowledge of the technology stack of a target. He then goes on to outline further circumstantial evidence as follows:
An office layout for the entire Ashley Madison offices. This would normally exist only in the office of personnel management, the maintenance department, and possibly a few other places. It would certainly not be in the centralised database. Neither would it be of much value to the average hacker.
Up to the minute organisation charts for every Avid Life division. This might be of value to certain hackers, but considering the hacker had already made off with everyone’s credit card info, billions of dollars worth of blackmail information, every private email of the CEO (fascinating, by the way), and everything else of value, it would seem odd to dig up the organisation charts as well.
A stock option agreement list, with signed contracts included. The hacker would have had to gain access to the private files of the CEO or the VP of Finance to obtain this material – a job requiring as much time to implement as a hack of the centralised database. Again, of what value would this be considering the hacker had already made off with potentially billions.
IP addresses and current status of every server owned by Avid Life – of which there were many hundreds scattered around the world. Why any hacker would trouble themselves with such a task, considering what was already taken, is mind boggling.
The raw source code for every program Ashley Madison ever wrote. This acquisition would be a monumental task for any hacker and, unless the hacker planned on competing with Ashley Madison, has no value whatsoever.
Regrading the gender of the perpetrator, McAfee says there were a number of telling signs in the manifestos that show this employee, who acted alone, is female. For example, the perpetrator calls men as “scumbags” and “cheating dirtbags,” and these are the words that only a woman would ever use to describe men.
But, how a developer could tell us the gender of the perpetrator only seeing a few words?
According to McAfee: “I have also practiced social engineering since the word was first invented and I can very quickly identify gender if given enough emotionally charged words from an individual. The perpetrator’s two manifestos provided that.”
If you’re still not convinced “then you need to get out of the house more often,” he quips.
Gohar is the lead editor at TechFrag. He has a wide range of interests when it comes to tech but he's currently spending a big chunk of his time writing about privacy, cyber security, and anything policy related.