December 15, 2004

'ChineseSpyBoy' claims to have cracked McAfee sites

Author: Joe Barr

Did he or didn't he? A cracker identifying himself as "ChineseSpyBoy" has been contacting news organizations -- including NewsForge -- the past day or so claiming to have broken into McAfee Inc. corporate servers and providing screen shots as evidence. McAfee says he did not break into its boxes but that he did compromise a partner's machine. UPDATED

After receiving news of the alleged break-ins by email, NewsForge invited "ChineseSpyBoy" into an IRC channel to chat about his exploits earlier today. The invitation was readily accepted. In that brief chat, "SpyBoy" told us that his motivation was, first of all, to find a challenge, and secondarily because of his unhappiness with McAfee's customer service.

He said that McAfee's customer service was "always speaking online chats, never getting no direct answers." But the primary purpose seems to have been to make a bigger name for himself.

When asked if breaking into McAfee's servers was difficult, "SpyBoy" told us: "well took alot of command tribulation, a little bit of deviation and patience ... I was snooping, getting as much info on their servers as possible for weeks."

He also told us in the IRC chat that "the point was to get in, play a little get out and then publish it, I am not as destructive as I use to be."

As evidence, SpyBoy provided us with links to images on another site which purport to show screen shots captured on McAfee machines. What each screenshot shows, however, is a screen taken on McAfee partner Sento.com's site, which matches up with what McAfee had to say.

Click to enlarge

NewsForge spoke to McAfee corporate PR representative Dana Lengkeek about the alleged compromise. She insisted that no McAfee machines were broken into and noted that they were first contacted about the alleged break-ins yesterday.

No Sento representatives were available to speak with NewsForge prior to publication.

Update 12/20/27: A Sento representative notified NewsForge today that "Since this story was originally filed, Sento has confirmed that the company has checked into this situation closely and has confirmed that neither Sento's nor McAfee's servers were compromised."

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