Dismissing the existence of "The Impact Team", the name given by the Ashley Madison hackers, McAfee claimed there was only one person involved in the attack.
"I cannot tell you how I know," he wrote, "but the simple published data should help point to this fact." The Impact Team is certainly not a well-known group, nor has it never claimed attribution for any prior attack.
Citing the ease with which he had managed to acquire passwords, McAfee noted that a "team" would not have been necessary to attack the site, and radically suggests that we might be able discern the hacker's motivations from his rambling manifesto.
"The hacker clearly has a personal grudge with Ashley Madison," he writes.
The "Impact Team" statement characterised users of Ashley Madison as "cheating dirtbags" who deserve no privacy, alongside the claim that the hackers are ready to release info on "many rich and powerful people" unless their demands are met.
Speaking of the earlier Adult Friend Finder hack, McAfee told Infosec 2015 that while it is "very easy" to recover from financial loss, "it is very difficult to recover from a loss of this nature".
When we have congressmen and senators, and members of parliaments, that are involved in an adult site, and that information is leaked, then it is very difficult to recover.
If they're married, they're risking their families, they're risking their careers, and they are open to manipulation by foreign governments and other agencies.
Talking to The Register, Will Gragido, head of threat intelligence research at Digital Shadows, reckoned the attack might ultimately move towards ransoming off stolen information. ®