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"Mr McAfee came to prominence in the 1980s when he founded a company that released the first commercial anti-virus software - McAfee VirusScan - and helped spark a multi-billion dollar industry."


"While McAfee earned fame for his role in McAfee’s successful antivirus and computer security company, he is also notoriously flaky and is known to have been involved in more than one confrontation with law enforcement. So it’s not as if he’s an unlikely target for hackers."


"Currently, he’s involved with a bitcoin mining company, and was tweeting “Coin of the Day” tips to his followers on a regular basis. This was also the focus of the alleged hack on his account."


"[Twitter] offers two-factor authentication - in which a person must enter a code sent to a mobile phone in addition to a password to access an account - to avoid such incidents.'


"John McAfee, the maverick founder of McAfee Associates, has claimed his Twitter account was hacked, despite him using two-factor authentication to protect his account."


"McAfee said attackers shared cryptocurrency suggestions and made them look his own tips, which he regularly tweeted to his followers. When replies on Twitter prompted him to turn on the service’s native two-factor authentication, he showed evidence of his phone being allegedly hacked, and the 2FA code intercepted by the hackers."


As for the alleged 2FA breach, McAfee tweeted, “The first indication that I had been hacked was turning on my cell phone. There was an error message, and I knew at that point that my phone had been compromised. All that the hacker did was compromise my Twitter account. It could have been worse.”


"The hacked tweets started sharing cryptocurrency suggestions and then McAfee had to announce that he wouldn’t be doing these posts any longer."


"Urgent: My account was hacked. Twitter has been notified. The coin of the day tweet was not me. As you all know... I am not doing a coin of the day anymore!!!!"


"As of now, no group or individual has taken responsibility for the hack. One speculation is it is the work of bots looking to drive specific cryptocurrency values up or down." "Several of his 530,000 followers have speculated that the person responsible might have been able to profit by encouraging others to push the mentioned crypto-currencies higher."


"McAfee believes the hacker intercepted the code for his login, which would be surprising and a bigger breach of security than a Twitter account being hacked. He also added that he had since then removed two-factor authentication from all of his accounts as a precaution."


"I was on a boat at the time and could not go to my carrier (AT&T) to have the issue corrected. "All that the hacker did was compromise my Twitter account. It could have been worse."


The cyber-security pioneer has rebuffed suggestions that the alleged incident undermined his own credentials saying: "I have no control over Twitter's security". "Though I am a security expert, I have no control over Twitter's security. I have haters. I am a target. People make fake accounts, fake screenshots, fake claims. I am a target for hackers who lost money and blame me. Please take responsibility for yourselves. Adults only please."

It appears that John McAfee became victim of a SMS-swapping attack, where his cell phone carrier was tricked into transferring his number to a different cell phone. Following this, the cell phone number could be used to receive the two-factor authentication code which can be used to recover a lost Twitter account. His Twitter followers were greeted with "coin of the day" tweets which he didn't send, and some users may have been influenced to buy certain coins which would drive up the price. There are no specific reports of users losing money.

Sources And Further Reading

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