Fugitive Software Tycoon McAfee Fires Back in Blog
The profile picture from John McAfee's Facebook page.
Apparently not pleased to have his life chronicled by near-strangers, fugitive former software tycoon John McAfee has started his own blog.
"With lots of time on my hands and very little to do with it, I've been reflecting on the recent detour my life has taken," McAfee wrote on Saturday (Nov. 17) to inaugurate his blog. "How did I end up as a murder suspect on the lam?"
However, McAfee, 67, doesn't really answer that question on his blog, which is entitled "The Hinterland," can be found at http://www.whoismcafee.com and, McAfee says, will continue even if he is captured.
Instead, McAfee rails against the police and prime minister of his adopted homeland of Belize, dishes dirt about the freelance reporters who've been following his saga, and rhapsodizes about the loyalty of his 20-year-old girlfriend.
McAfee, an American born in Britain who founded the anti-virus company that bears his name, is wanted for questioning in the killing of fellow American expatriate Gregory Faull on the night of Nov. 10.
Faull, who lived next door to McAfee on the island of Ambegris Caye off the Belizean mainland, had quarreled with McAfee about the latter's armed security details and attack dogs. Faull died from a gunshot wound to the back of the head.
McAfee says he didn't do it, and insists that the Belizean police will kill him if they catch him. He has been on the run ever since, but, according to his blog, he's sticking around home — incognito.
Man of many faces
For a couple of days, McAfee says, he pretended to be a Guatemalan man peddling trinkets to tourists.
"I colored my full beard and my hair light grey — almost white. I darkened the skin of my face, neck and hands carefully with shoe polish," McAfee wrote. "I donned an old Guatemalan-style sarape and toted a bag containing a variety of Guatemalan woven goods."
On another day, McAfee says, he sold burritos and tamales while keeping an eye on the police going in and out of his house.
Perhaps the best disguise was when he pretended to be "a drunk German tourist with a partially bandaged face and wearing Speedo swimming trunks and a distasteful, oversized Hawaiian shirt," yelling obscenities.
"It was quite a spectacle," McAfee wrote.
Help from an old frenemy
Over the weekend, McAfee got some advice from an unlikely source.
Kevin Mitnick, once the world's most-wanted hacker, used his Twitter feed to dole out what he called "my top five tips for McAfee on the run."
At the same time that McAfee was building up his computer-security company, Mitnick was a prisoner, a parolee and a fugitive, spending two and a half years on the lam before being caught by the FBI in 1995.
"1. Drop the 17-year-old girlfriend running partner," said Mitnick, apparently confusing the age of McAfee's current girlfriend with that of her predecessor. "She’ll be the first to snitch on you when she is caught."
"2. Stay off Internet forums unless LulzSec sets up a 'secure' VPN for you," Mitnick said, referring to an apparent forum posting Wednesday in which McAfee asked how long it would take police to triangulate a cellphone signal.
"3. Prepaid cell phones can be tracked too," Mitnick said. "Always keep mobile and never call anyone that you know. Just use it to order pizza and beer."
"4. Change your appearance. Change your gait. Lose the tan. Change your hair color. And do NOT wear this: http://tinyurl.com/b6ooxgs … EVER," Mitnick said, linking to a catalogue page selling a "bandit head scarf."
"5. Don't hack Shimomura. He may need another book deal," joked Mitnick, giving a backhanded slap to Tsutomo Shimomura, a computer-security expert who helped track down Mitnick and later co-wrote a bestseller about it.