John McAfeeJohn McAfeeJohn McAfee.
John McAfee is running for US president as a member of the Libertarian Party. This is an op-ed he wrote and gave us permission to run.
I cannot accept the possibility that a sitting US president would willingly and knowingly hand our country over to our enemies, lock, stock, and barrel. Perhaps I am more naive than I think, but my mind cannot possibly conceive that.
Yet, President Obama, in his speech at SXSW, is suggesting that we do exactly that by creating backdoors into encryption.
He couched his proposition in terms of privacy versus security, yet that issue pales to utter insignificance compared to the real issue: ease of access to criminal activities by our government versus the total annihilation of America by China, Russia or any other hostile state that will be given access to all of America’s secrets through that same backdoor.
For here is the issue: Any master key or backdoor to software or encryption that is given to the US government will reside in the hands of our enemies within a matter of weeks of its creation. This is an absolute truth no cybersecurity expert can deny. And I cannot accept that our sitting president understands this and is still willing to carry it out. I will not accept it.
The implication, then, is this: Either Obama’s cybersecurity advisers are incompetent beyond all measure or our enemies have succeeded in planting subversive agents at the highest level of our government. To assume the latter requires more courage than I possess, so I must assume, no matter how shocking it sounds, that Obama’s cybersecurity advisers have not kept up with the dynamic and rapidly evolving landscape of the world of cybersecurity. It would partially explain, at least, why the US is hopelessly behind China and Russia in cybersecurity.
How do we, as cybersecurity professionals know that such a backdoor would be in the hands of our enemies, and for that matter in the hands of every black hat hacker in the world, in a matter of days? It is simple: We are talking about software. A secret key, or backdoor, would be detected by the first hacker that got his or her hands on the phone or the piece of encryption software in question. And how?
A hacker, who requests not to have his name revealed, works on his laptop in his office in Taipei July 10, 2013. REUTERS/Pichi Chuang Thomson Reuters
By running a compare program against the previously known version of the software that had been released. This compare program would identify and isolate any changes made to the software. The hacker would then run a disassembly program against the changes made and the disassembler would convert the machine language into readable program instructions that would tell the hacker exactly what the new code does and how. For a talented hacker, this process might take less than an hour, after which the hacker now has the master key and the game is over.
Even Michael Hayden, the ex-director of the NSA, understands this issue. He recently stated: “America is simply more secure with unbreakable end-to-end encryption” — and in a “slam dunk.”
We need to ask, as American citizens, “What in God’s name is going on within our government?” We are on the brink of a cyberwar of unimaginable proportions. I defy you to find a single talented cybersecurity expert who will not confirm this. Why then is our president insisting that we disarm ourselves?
Can it be that the president, or his advisers, failed to consider the fact that every member of congress, every FBI agent, every member of our military, every US covert agent and perhaps the president himself, carries a smart phone or other mobile device nearly everywhere?
Will everyone within the US government, within every state government, carry a unique device that does not use encryption with a backdoor? 
If that is the plan, then how could it be enforced? How can you ban, within the entire government, the ownership of an iPhone or an Android device? And if you cannot ban such, then our government as well as its citizens will be at the mercy of any and every hostile nation and agent in the world. There will be no secrets that will not be instantly known by our enemies.