Sputnik: Today the US Department of Justice stated it has indicted 36 people accused of trafficking in stolen identities and causing more than $530 million in damages worldwide… How significant is arrest of this size and affect will it have on other similar cybercrime groups?
John McAfee: It's certainly a very large bust. The group advertised its identity as ‘In fraud we trust' — a takeoff on the American dollar which reads ‘In God we trust'. It's significant but it won't make a dent in the cybercrime and cryptocrime business where people every day are losing tens and thousands of dollars.
Sputnik: Last year the world witnessed an increase in both the number but also the severity of large scale cyber-attacks… What is being done by law enforcements to prevent international cybercrime gangs from operating?
John McAfee: Well not enough quite frankly. They spend enormous amounts of money on large busts like this because say if you bust a gang who's stolen half a billion dollars over a period of time you're going to get promoted, your name is going to be in the newspaper and your career will take off. The smaller ones, even the ones involving 1 or 2 million dollars, are largely ignored because there's no payback for the agents involved, and takes just as much work to catch someone who stole 2 million dollars as it does to catch someone who stole 500 million dollars; so they target the larger scams.
Unfortunately, the people who operate at that top level are groups like Korea's Bureau 21, where 3000 hardened hackers being paid by the Korean government, well the FBI will never be able to take these people down as they operate in North Korea and are too clever. It's the large gangs that aren't quite top notch who the FBI target. I think its tragedy but it's been their tactic for the past 6 years and started under the Obama administration.
Sputnik: Are individuals investing heavily enough into cyber security to protect themselves, their identity and assets?
John McAfee: Yes absolutely. If you look at the top 3 antivirus companies, you've Kaspersky, Norton and Mcafee — those companies are making billions of dollars so people are certainly buying what they think is protection. Unfortunately, the antivirus paradigm which all three operate under doesn't work anymore. I know this because I invented this paradigm; I invented the first antivirus product. Since it was my invention, certainly it's not in my interest to say that it now no longer works… yet I'm saying it. It no longer works. It no longer works in any shape or form. You are wasting your money entirely by buying antivirus products.
There are ways that these groups get the information. By visiting a questionable websites — if any of your listeners have ever watched pornography then I promise you, your phone or computer or device that you use to access said pornography is now compromised. It's a fact and everyone knows it yet people still continue to access porn. This isn't a moral judgment whatsoever — if you know my background, I'm the least likely person to judge people. Nevertheless, it is still a security judgement. If you're on these sites whether it is pornography or somewhere on the dark web or anything else that is questionable for example buying illegal drugs or even something as simple as hormones like testosterone from an overseas supplier, you will have been compromised. So stop doing these things.
The views and opinions expressed by John McAfee are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.