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AP's Ted Bridis replies to McAfee: "I stand by my reporting"

Previous Politech article:

"McAfee replies -- by denying any FBI contacts of any sort"


From: "Ted Bridis" <tbridis@ap.org>
To: "Declan McCullagh" <declan@well.com>, <politech@politechbot.com>
Subject: RE: McAfee replies -- by denying any FBI contacts of any sort
Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2001 17:11:32 -0500

 >>Perhaps Ted can elaborate?<<

I stand by my reporting for the AP. This information came from a senior
company officer. I won't identify this person in this post because I've been
unable to reach this person by phone or e-mail since the flap erupted.

I can't resolve what McAfee told me last week and today's contradictory
statement except to note the critical public response against McAfee that
emerged over the holiday weekend.

I do empathize with the awkward dilemma this puts companies in: Good U.S.
corporate citizens have a responsibility to assist the FBI in criminal and
terrorism investigations. But accommodating the government by intentionally
building a weakness/vulnerability into detection or security software seems
to carry a lot of consequences.

I noticed that McAfee's statement doesn't say they will not build any such
an accommodation into its antivirus or its firewall software if the FBI
asks, just that it hasn't been asked to do it yet and that it complies with
all U.S. laws.

But as McAfee's PR release noted, much of this is speculative since nobody's
sure how Magic Lantern would be installed remotely (as an enticing e-mail
attachment, "fbi-porn.exe"? Or using a buffer overflow? Or using different
vectors depending on the target's o/s and applications?) If it's the latter,
wouldn't the major operating system vendors need to leave unpatched holes
for the FBI to exploit? Where does it end?

Ted Bridis, staff writer
The Associated Press
2021 K St., NW, Suite 600
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 776-9462, voice
(202) 776-9570, fax
(202) 437-4640, cell

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