McAfee claims Ashley Madison breach 'was an inside job'

On Monday, John McAfee published a long statement claiming he knows who is behind the Ashley Madison hack, and that it wasn't some faceless collective of hackers. Rather, he says a "lone female operative" who worked for the site's parent company Avid Life Media is to blame, and that he is "confident" in saying so. McAfee is, of course, the founder of the anti-virus software by the same name, and in the recent past was living life briefly as a fugitive amidst murder claims and more.

McAfee made his claims in a long post published on International Business Times, where he says that Ashley Madison's "data was stolen by a woman operating on her own who worked for Avid Life Media." He says it has taken him this long to make the claim because it has taken more than a week to wrap up an analysis of the leaked data.

Previously McAfee stated that the hack wasn't pulled off by the group of hackers who claim to be responsible because, according to McAfee, they "simply do not exist." He goes on to state that he "gleaned this information from reliable sources within the Dark Web — which have yet to fail me." Any pretenses of modesty he might have were put aside, and he continued:

Any adept social engineer would have easily seen this from the wording in the first manifesto published by the alleged hacking group. I was one of the first practitioners of social engineering as a hacking technique and today it is my only tool of use, aside from a smartphone – in a purely white hat sort of way. But if you don't trust me, then ask any reasonably competent social engineer.

He bases his conclusions on many things: he says that words used in the manifesto show the perpetrator was a woman, that the data shows the hackers had to have had "intimate knowledge" about Ashley Madison's "technology stack", some of the data that was included among the hack which would, he says, only be available to certain workers/systems, and more.

McAfee also states that he gave International Business Times UK some "background information and pertinent elements" from the stolen data that, among other things, "confirm elements of my research." He only did so under the condition that the data then be destroyed; he also states he had "the decoded password hash tables of every" Avid Life worker, which he says he has also destroyed.

There are some other things, some of which he teases but doesn't state, but it all comes down to one big thing, says McAfee:

In the first manifesto two names of male members were released. In describing one of them the perpetrator states the he "spitefully" joined Ashley Madison the day after Valentine's Day. Anyone who ever had a significant other knows that women rate Valentine's Day higher than Christmas, and men think so little of it that they have to remind each other the day is nearing. To call an act the day after Valentines Day "spiteful", is a thought that would enter few men's minds. If this does not convince you then you need to get out of the house more often.

SOURCE: International Business Times