BLOCKCHAIN Man In Black John McAfee has hit back at people claiming to have ‘hacked’ his new baby cryptocurrency wallet Bitfi.
In a typically bombastic tweet, he retorted to further claims that his product was insecure, saying:
Laughing so hard I can barely catch my breath. "Hackers" play Doom, play videos, root the device, play music on the BitFi wallet. We dont charge extra for those facilities. No-one has taken the coins from our pre-loaded wallet. No one will. Isn't this what matters?
— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) August 14, 2018
The tweet came after security researcher Cybergibbons (aka Andrew Tierney) released a statement challenging McAfee to loosen the rules on the bounty which offers a very specific opportunity to claim large sums of money by hacking the $120 wallet.
In it, he lists examples of alleged threats by Bitfi and its disciples:
Tierney counters the terms of the bounty which is only available if you buy a BifFi with $10 preloaded, and a passphrase preset before dispatch: “The bounty is a strawman, designed to allow Bitfi to claim they haven’t been hacked because the bounty hasn’t been claimed. In reality, the bounty only covers a single attack: sending your wallet (which has a strong seed and phrase) via UPS (taking several days) to an attacker. This doesn’t emulate the real world, not even close.
“‘Unhackable’ means cannot be hacked and will not ever be hacked by any means. This is the only definition we accept.”
Cybergibbons claims that by anyone else’s definition he has hacked the wallet.
Now, let’s be clear about this – we love ourselves a bit of McAfee, he’s one of the great characters (and innovators) of the sector we like to call ‘tech’. But he’s missing an important point for a man whose company is trying to sell a product designed to store consumers money.
Since launch, we’ve seen several successful ‘mods’ (we’ll step back from ‘hacks’ for now) of a device that is perceived as being like Fort f*cking Knox.
McAfee has refused to engage with those who have done so, simply saying that if the money is still there, it’s not a hack.
So, on one hand, we’ve got McAfee saying “trust me” and a group of hackers saying “look – it’s not as secure as you say and here’s the proof”.
Bitfi’s defence is hiding behind a bounty programme that appears to be designed as impossible to meet the criteria for.
The issue has almost stopped being about the security of the wallet itself and more about a simple case of public relations.
Just today, we received some research from OnePulse. It shows that 53 per cent of people didn’t know what Blockchain was. 35 per cent said they wouldn’t trust their money with blockchain, a technology they didn’t even understand.
More worryingly still – only 18 per cent were actually able to explain what it is.
But here’s the kicker. This survey wasn’t done on the high street. It was done at IP Expo Europe – an industry trade show attended by tech types.
How in the heck is the concept ever going to reach mass market if the typical early adopters don’t understand it?
So, Mr McAfee – here’s our point. Perhaps your wallet is ‘unhackable’. But when people don’t understand the technology, any vulnerability – even playing ‘Doom‘ on it, is going to totally screw with the product’s image. Ergo, suggesting to hackers that the definition of ‘hacking’ is wrong is just compounding that.
We know it’s against your nature, and we love you for it. But seriously – get a PR agency in and stop shooting your mouth off. It’s going to kill the product.
Remember – you’ve bet your penis on Bitcoin reaching $1m value by the end of 2020. That means it has to gain $993613.38 in 871 days at the time of writing. That’s an average of £1140.77 every day. The forecasting you’ve used must be pretty assured, and we trust you that there will be a tipping point that will stop you having to remove your… erm… tipping point.
But you have to remember with Bitfi and Bitcoin that these seem like wild claims to 99 per cent of us, and that’s the biggest barrier you face right now.
We’re saying this from a place of love, OK? Please don’t hurt us. And if you are – please stop threatening people who are just trying to help – not everyone is out to get you.