Evidence

Hacker Finds Tech Millionaire John McAfee in Guatemala by Using Info Embedded in Smartphone Photo


A tech millionaire whose whereabouts haven’t been made public since police in Belize sought to question him about a neighbor’s body found near his waterfront home last month is now back on the grid.

After a journalist participating in a group interview apparently posted a smartphone photo of John McAfee, a hacker known as Simple Nomad determined from embedded information in the image that the 67-year-old developer of computer antivirus software was in Guatemala, the Washington Post reports.

On Tuesday, McAfee confirmed his whereabouts in a blog post and said he intends to talk with a lawyer. He has said he had no role in his neighbor’s death but expressed concern about his potential treatment by police in Belize.

Such accidental release of metadata routinely contained in electronic documents and photos is so common that programs have been developed to scrub them before they are made public, law professor Chris Hoofnagle of the University of California-Berkeley tells the Post. However, the fact that a tech savant such as McAfee was involved in a mistake of this nature shows how easy it is to get tripped up.

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