The Twitter account of the popular security expert John McAfee was hacked

Pierluigi Paganini December 28, 2017

The official Twitter account of popular cyber security expert John McAfee was hacked today, hackers used it to promote alternative cryptocurrencies.

The official Twitter account of legendary security expert John McAfee was hacked today, attackers used it to send several tweets promoting alternative cryptocurrencies like Siacoin, NXT, XRP, PTOY, and BAT.

At the time of writing, there aren’t further info related to the attack, John McAfee explained that its account was protected with a two-factor authentication process.

This suggests that the attackers have found a way to obtain the authentication code sent by Twitter, this is possible by compromising the mobile device or via an SS7 attack.

In this latter scenario, hackers can exploit a flaw in the SS7 protocol to steal the victim’s identity on the messaging services with just basic skills.

The principal instant messaging services, including WhatsApp and Telegram, rely on the SMS authentication as the primary security verification mechanism, which is routed through SS7 signalling. This means that hackers exploit the SS7 to compromise the verification mechanism and take over the victim’s account and impersonate him.

According to McAfee, someone has compromised his smartphone.



“The first indication that I had been hacked was turning on my cell phone and seeing the attached image,” he told BBC.

McAfee added that he was on a boat when his account was hacked and for this reason, he was not able to contact the AT&T.

“I knew at that point that my phone had been compromised.” he added

“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.”

John knows very well that he is a privileged target of several types of attackers, including haters.

McAfee’s account was fully restored, Twitter hasn’t commented the incident.

The reality is that is not complex for a persistent attacker to compromise your social media account.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – John McAfee, hacking)

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