Self-styled controversial security maven John McAfee has taken a break from his US presidential bid to hawk a crowd-funded gadget which he claims will be the end of passwords and physical keys: the Everykey.
Not known for keeping a low profile following his flight from Belize under suspicion of murder and unlicensed drug manufacturing, McAfee has been spending his time since selling his eponymous company to Intel
looking for the next big thing to put his name behind. In 2013, that was a privacy-boosting gadget dubbed D-Central
, a product which was downgraded prior to launch from an NSA-beating physical router to a tool for auditing app permissions on Android
. Now, it's a proximity-sensitive Bluetooth dongle which aims to kill the traditional password.
The first thing to note about Everykey is that it's not a McAfee invention: while the videos accompanying the crowd-funding campaign feature McAfee and his all-too-recognisable trademark style, he joined the company back in November - long after the product had been designed - to act as its evangelist. Despite this, he's willing to describe it as 'his product
' with plenty of promises as to how it will revolutionise the world - much like the D-Central, which failed to launch.
At its heart, the Everykey is a combination of two existing products: a cloud-based password management service and a two-factor authentication (2FA) dongle. Its creators - and McAfee - visualise a change in usage patterns, however: rather than using the dongle as a second factor for authentication, it becomes the only factor unlocking the cloud-based password management service. Bringing it into proximity with your devices will unlock them and provide access to the keychain, stored remotely; moving away will lock the devices again.
McAfee makes much of how the Everykey can be used to replace everything from passwords for websites to physical keys for cars and doors, while glossing over the need to upgrade said cars and doors to support Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy (BLE) connectivity, and how its security is assured by the ability to 'freeze' an Everykey remotely in the event of theft or loss. Where the, admittedly typically amusing, videos fall short is in how the device differs from using a true 2FA token such as the NFC-equipped Yubikey Neo, available right now for less than half the price of the 'early bird' Everykey.
Despite this, response to the campaign has been strong: at the time of writing, the Everykey team had raised $57,221 on a $20,000 goal with 14 days remaining. More information on the Everykey is available on the Indiegogo page
, while McAfee's promotional video is reproduced below for your amusement.