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John McAfee Created His Own Botnet to Spy on Belizean Officials

John McAfee, founder of the anti-virus and security company that carries his name, said that he built his own custom made botnet designed to monitor Belizean government employees, police officers, Cabinet Minister’s assistants, girlfriends of powerful men, and boyfriends of powerful women.

After buying 75 laptop computers, McAfee, with some trusted assistance from others, installed spyware on the systems, repackaged them as new, and gave them away as gifts to his targets.

John McAfee

Complete with a command and control server that collected the data from the distributed systems, McAfee was on a quest to monitor and expose the corruption and inner workings of the Belizean government. The software installed on the systems included invisible keystroke logging software that calls home to McAfee and disgorges the text files.

The software also allowed for microphones and cameras to be turned on or off on command and sends these files back to McAfee’s monitoring setup on command.

“I hired four trusted people full time to monitor the text files and provide myself with the subsequent passwords for everyone’s email, Facebook, private message boards and other [password protected] accounts,” McAfee wrote in a blog post.

“The keystroke monitoring continued after password collection, in order to document text input that would later be deleted. So nothing was missed.”

In addition to distributing the malware-infected systems as gifts, McAfee also assembled a small army of operatives who were tasked with getting close, some intimately, to Belizean officials in order to install the spyware.

“These men and women were given simple training on how to access and load software on someone’s computer while they slept, or ate or made long phone calls etc,” McAfee noted.

“They were also shown dirt simple phone tricks, like borrowing a person’s phone to make a call and then resetting auto-delete of sent texts. No-one ever checks these things after setup, so all the sent texts are now available to the person borrowing your phone to call their boyfriend to make up a story so they can sleep over with you. Due to the nature of the call, the operative clearly needed privacy during the call – hence ease of access to changing your settings and reading your sent texts.”

Once his teams were assembled and trained, McAfee says he then targeted two National phone companies, as it was imperative he said, for him to listen to people’s phone conversations. According to his account, this part of the social engineer exercise was the easiest. He started by making offers to buy information and access, which he said was a ruse in order to make people think he was looking to purchase information, not siphon it out from under his targets digitally.

“What I was looking for was hard proof of corruption at a high level. I’m not sure what I expected to gain," McAfee said. "The satisfaction of revenge perhaps - to some extent - what little satisfaction there is in revenge. As a way to get my stuff back? Maybe. For the sheer joy of muscle flexing? I can’t answer precisely. Much of my life is a mystery to me. Suffice it to say: I just did it because I could."

What did he discover with all of this effort? According to his detailed post, McAfee discovered sexual affairs, various intimate chats, the sexual orientation of the UDP Party Chairman, documentation of human trafficking, and he alleges that he discovered that the Prime Minister had “personally ordered the murder of Author Yong.”

McAfee’s post goes on to insinuate that the Belizean government, at the direction of John Saldivar, the Minister of National Security and Immigration, was funneling Lebanese males in to the U.S., arguing that there is a threat to national security.

“Belize is clearly the central player in a larger network whose goal is to infiltrate the U.S. with individuals having links to terrorist organizations. What is different today from the wholesale Belizean passport selling of ten years ago, is that the false citizenships that are created for these men are coupled with a network of handlers designed to move the individuals, and their cargo, into the U.S,” McAfee wrote.

His paranoid post goes on to point out the connection between the trafficking network and known cartel family Los Zetas, including their ties to Hezbollah. He ends by mentioning that he will provide more detailed analysis of his intelligence gathering when it becomes safe, but for now he will take a “well-earned vacation into the heartland of the Midwest.”

We’ll keep following McAfee’s tales, if for nothing more than their entertainment value.

In the meantime, the U.S. State Department is well aware of the fact that Hezbollah is in Mexico, and has known this for some time. The Government of Belize has been listed as a possible enabler in that situation.

Related: John McAfee: The Government Wants to Kill Me

Related: McAfee Seeks Political Asylum in Guatemala

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Steve Ragan is a security reporter and contributor for SecurityWeek. Prior to joining the journalism world in 2005, he spent 15 years as a freelance IT contractor focused on endpoint security and security training.