Noted crazyman John McAfee launches 'secure messaging app' for folks who trust John Mcafee



I wonder how Alice feels about Bob’s dallying with Sally…

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This is great! Everything about it from the embarassingly dumbed down video to the tone-deaf celebrity endorsement reads like a parody. But so does McAfee’s life recently, so it’s fitting.

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“I’m sure it’s about as secure as a Central American bunker filled with guns, cocaine, and hot underage broads.”

So what you’re saying, more secure than a typical Secret Service office? :smile:


I trust McAfee more than I trust my government.

But I guess that’s not saying much.


A bunker filled with guns in the jungle is about the level of paranoia that might be appropriate right now. Sadly, said bunker might not be conducive to creating good security code.

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Any way I can visit said bunker for a short while? /Ahem/

Nothing establishes indie cred better than a dry erase board animation!

Too bad the product is bullshit, putting your messages on a server you don’t control is the problem we’ve been worried about ever since Snowden. And the recipient doesn’t even need to unlock the message read it, it’s just magically legible? How the fuck does that work?

If this was actually “revolutionary” it would be a end user to end user communication, at worst only using a third party for finding the destination device. There’s still risks with this process but at least your data isn’t rotting on someone’s server just waiting for the NSA to swing by and scoop it up.


Chadder? Like in hanging chadder?

I thought is was as in cheddar in Massachusetts.

I don’t know, he doesn’t seem to have the ‘fun’ type of jungle bunker… more of a Col Kurtz vibe going on there.

Unless you’re referring to the Secret Service party bunkers… now that I hear is a hoot if you’re part of the Praetorian caste.

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Yeah… that’s great, John. (backs away slowly.)


On the one hand, the animation did give an important distinction, that Bob’s message was encrypted before it got sent to servers. But even if they do everything “right”, in that users’ private keys are kept private and never leave the device, it’s closed source they control. We can’t verify that’s what they’re doing. Even if we could verify that’s what they’re doing now, and they’re 100% committed to user privacy now, there could be a future where company direction changes, and they can roll out an “update” that is able to read users’ private keys and send them to the company.

The whiteboard animation actually makes sense, just people can skip the “send to Chadder” step. PGP has existed for a couple decades now.



I really do not understand the vitriol and snide remarks targeted at Mr. McAfee.

First off, he does have some experience in this area. In 1994, he founded Tribal Voice, which made one of the first—if not the first—instant messaging programs, PowWow. The first version of it ran under Windows 3.1. Many of the features that modern IM programs use were created at Tribal Voice, such as mapping an email address to an IM address, using DNS-style lookups to map IM address to IP address, P2P communications, shared-URL web browsing, etc.

While Tribal Voice was never the financial success that McAfee Associates was, it did make a product that was used by millions of people, and Mr. McAfee certainly learned from the experience.

I downloaded the Chadder app and played around with it on my smartphone and tablet. Sure, it’s a little rough, but about what I’d expect from the gen one release of any new product, and I’m sure it will get better over time. Likewise, it probably is going to contain some security issues, simply because it is an immature product, and it will be important to watch and see how quickly and thoroughly the dev team responds to any issues which arise, just like with any other piece of code.

People who are celebrities—whether they sought it or not—often get made fun of in the mass media, but beginning a headline with “Noted crazyman John McAfee” seems downright mean-spirited to me.

Disclaimer: I do know at least 1 person involved in the development of Chadder.
I’m an admitted noob when it comes to a lot of security things like encryption, but I’m learning a lot through sources BoingBoing has led me to. I realize that this isn’t the site for indepth investigative writing but I’m a bit disappointed in how you presented Chadder. This product is primarily the product of etransfr, a company founded by a freshman at RIT. The product was developed by RIT students and presented at a recent event to foster innovation. I’ll admit, there’s a lot more I’d like to know about the product and how it works, but I think the fact that teens and 20somethings are developing an app that provides easy to use encrypted chat should be applauded.I confess I don’t know how much role, if any, John McAfee had in development, but I do think the team of college students involved deserve props. Have questions about the product’s security and how it works? Ask the chadder team. They’re very responsive and do have some great ideas for how to apply this app down the road.
Thanks, BoingBoing for bringing Chadder to more people’s attention and thanks for reminding me not to take your word as gospel. I still love you though.

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I dunno if I’d class him as mean-spirited per se. Crazy, yes.

Fair enough what you say, but have you seen the videos he’s posted to the net as of late?

He’s playing up the crazy-man meme. My guess is that he’d be perfectly happy with the post title.

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Sorry, just ran out of crazy.


I think you hit on a key word in your reply: playing

All sorts of journalists (whom you’d think would have some sense of propriety) engaged in some kind of, well, I don’t know that to call it, paparazzi feeding frenzy (?), trying to write the most outlandish things about Mr. McAfee that they could. He responded… by making fun of them.

Back in the late '80’s through mid '90’s I worked for Mr. McAfee, and here’s what it was like:

  1. Come to the office early in the morning. He’s already there, answering email, speaking to whomever he needs to on the phone, and he forgot to turn the coffee pot off so it’s all nasty.

  2. Go to lunch. Bring him back something, since he can’t get away (too busy working).

  3. Close for the day. He’s still there furiously two-finger typing on a keyboard. At least the calls have died off, since it’s evening on the west coast now.

  4. A couple of times a month, go off and do something like a group movie (was really cool when the Towne Theater had anime or SF films) with engineering, or over to his place for dinner. Which usually involved cooking around working.

  5. Maybe go out once a month to a bookstore, too (this was pre-Amazon).

And that was pretty much the life. No hordes of girls or bath salts, just work, with the occasional break. He wasn’t even into video games.

It’s very easy to pick on someone from afar (“Oh, he’s rich so he must be eccentric!”) and I’d like to think that any savvy Boing Boing reader would be familiar with how the media operates to trivalize the important and magnify the unimportant.

The truth of the matter is that Mr. McAfee has lead a largely boring life, the kind which doesn’t sell newspapers or page views on web sites. But I suppose journalists have to eat, too.

I think that there’s some things that have been going on with McAfee in the last twenty years that you may want to do some catching up on.