John McAfee was a man ahead of his time. He was a computer programmer who became a security expert, a venture capitalist and even a politician. But perhaps most importantly, he was a pioneer in the field of cybersecurity. His work paved the way for today’s cyberwarfare industry.
McAfee was born in England in 1945. His parents left the UK for America when he was very young and settled in Virginia. When he was 15, McAfee’s father committed suicide. This event had a profound effect on him, and it led him into studying computers.
In the early 80s, McAfee co-founded anti-virus software firm McAfee Associates Inc., now known as McAfee Labs. In 1989, he launched the company’s flagship product – McAfee AntiVirus – and later expanded it to include products like McAfee LiveSafe and McAfee ThreatSense.
After selling his shares in the company in 2000, he began investing in various startups. One such startup was called PowWow, which eventually became part of AOL Instant Messenger.
He went on to found another company called ZA Technologies, which developed firewalls for home and small office networks. In 2002, McAfee was appointed chairman of the board of directors at ZA, and served there until 2005.
During the same period, McAfee ran for US Congress in California’s 10th district. He lost out to incumbent Democrat Lois Capps, but still managed to gain over 50% of the vote.
McAfee was born in Ciderford, Gloucestershire in the Forest of Dean in the United Kingdom on 18 September 1945. He attended Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics in 1967. In 1968, he went to work for Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), one of the world’s leading manufacturers of minicomputers. At DEC, McAfee worked on the design of the PDP-11 computer system. His work led to his becoming interested in operating systems and software engineering.
In 1972, McAfee joined MIT Lincoln Laboratory, where he became involved in the development of the Multics OS for the VAX family of computers. He later worked as a consultant for Bell Labs, helping develop Unix. During the 1970s, McAfee developed several early programs including the “McFly” program, which simulated the behavior of realtime scheduling algorithms.
McAfee cofounded McAfee Associates in 1988. He served as CEO from 1989 to 1993, and again from 2000 to 2001.
In 2002, he founded McAfee Inc., the current incarnation of his company.
He serves on the board of directors of both companies.
The company that became known as McAfee Associates began life in 1972 as MicroPro Software Inc., founded by John McAfee. He had been working on a program called VirusScan, designed to protect computers against viruses. This was just one of many programs he had written over the previous few years, including a program called AntiVirus. When he took out a $1,500 loan from his mother to fund the start up, she insisted that it be used to pay off her mortgage.
In early 1973, McAfee wrote a letter to Bill Gates asking him to join the team. Microsoft agreed to invest $10,000 into the project, and McAfee set about writing a virus scanner. By mid-1973, the first version of VirusScan was complete. The product was soon renamed McAfee Antivirus, and sold for $29.95 per copy.
By 1975, McAfee had developed a reputation for being a hard worker. His boss told him that he needed to develop a better marketing strategy, and suggested that he focus on selling antiviruses directly to businesses. McAfee refused, arguing that there was no market for antiviruses, and that he could make far more money by selling anti-malware protection.
He was proved wrong. McAfee Associates grew quickly, and within three months of starting work, McAfee had raised $2.5 million in venture capital funding.
In 1978, McAfee Associates changed its name to McAfee Computer Systems, and went public. The following year, McAfee left Microsoft to found another company, Digital Research Corporation, where he continued to write antivirus software. McAfee later joined Symantec, where he worked on Norton Antivirus.
After Symantec purchased McAfee’s company, McAfee returned to writing antivirus software. In 1986, he launched McAfee Labs, a research division dedicated to developing new technology. McAfee Labs would eventually become McAfee Associates.
As McAfee Associates grew, so did McAfee himself. He became famous for his eccentric lifestyle, often wearing outlandish clothes and sporting long hair. He was also outspoken about issues like privacy and internet security, which helped cement his position as a leading authority on the subject.
PowWow, QuoromEx, MGT and more
McAfee founded and led several companies including McAfee Associates, Inc.,MGT Information Services, Inc. (which later became part of Symantec),and Quorum Technologies, Inc. He served as chief executive officer and chairman of the board of directors of each company.
In early 2001, McAfee cofounded Ziff Davis Media, LLC, publisher of PC Magazine, GameSpot, and Webware magazines. His role there included serving as CEO and president of Ziff Davis Online, where he oversaw online operations.
On July 26, 2008, McAfee announced that he was stepping down as CEO of Ziff Davis. He remained on the board of directors and continued to serve as chairman of the board. On September 10, 2008, McAfee resigned from Ziff Davis’ board of directors. In 2010, he left Ziff Davis entirely and formed a new company called McAfee, Inc..
From 2004 to 2006, McAfee was a member of the Board of Directors of the National Venture Capital Association. From 2005 to 2006, he was vice chair of the advisory council of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. In 2006, he was named to Vanity Fair magazine’s “New Establishment List.”
He serves as a member of the board of trustees of the Institute for Global Economic Growth, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting economic growth around the world. He is also a member of the board and former chairman of the World Economic Forum’s Technology Pioneers Council.
McAfee was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame in 2002, the Computer History Museum’s Pioneer Award in 2003, and the Academy of Achievement’s Golden Plate award in 2004. In 2005, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Consumer Electronics Association. In 2006, he won the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award in the information technology category.
In May 2011, McAfee launched a campaign against government surveillance, stating that the United States Government was spying on Americans without warrants or oversight. This prompted the FBI to launch an investigation into whether McAfee violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
What happened thereafter?
In December 2012, John McAfee, the founder of antivirus software maker McAfee Inc., disappeared without a trace. His family thought he’d gone on vacation. Instead, he went into hiding.
McAfee founded the company in 1987 while studying computer science at college. In 1990, he cofounded McAfee Associates, which eventually became McAfee Inc.
He sold it in 2005 for around $7 billion.
But McAfee lost much of his fortune during the financial crisis, and by 2009 he was living on less than $4 million.
That was when he set up shop in Belize, where he built a research center to develop natural remedies.
The company he started there, QuorumEx, claimed to be able to manufacture antibiotics from herbs.
His research facility was raided in July 2012 by the police department’s Gang Suppression Unit on suspicions that he was manufacturing methamphetamines.
How did he come to be linked to murder?
John McAfee, the eccentric computer programmer and founder of anti-virus software maker McAfee Inc., has been accused of murdering his neighbor Gregory Faull in Belize City, Central America. A source close to the investigation told Reuters that McAfee killed Faull because he believed him to be involved in illegal drug trafficking. Police found Faull dead in his home on Sunday, February 4th, and McAfee fled the scene. He later turned himself in to police.
McAfee denies having anything to do with Faull’s death. In fact, he claims that he is innocent, and that he was framed by corrupt officials. He says that he knows nothing about drugs, and that he has never even visited Belize. However, there are strong indications that suggest otherwise. For example, it appears that McAfee was aware of Faull’ whereabouts, and that he knew where Faull lived. Moreover, some of Faull‘s belongings were stolen from his house, including his laptop, cellphone, and wallet. And finally, McAfee’s girlfriend Donna Michelle Shields has confirmed that she saw McAfee shoot Faull twice in the head. She also claimed that McAfee threatened her life, saying that “if I tell anybody you know what happens.”
McAfee was born in Belize City, British Honduras (now known as Belmopan), on January 3rd, 1960. His parents were both school teachers. His father died when he was just four years old, leaving his mother to raise him alone.
When McAfee was nine years old, his mother remarried. The new stepfather worked as an accountant for the government, and taught McAfee how to use computers. It was this experience that led McAfee to become interested in programming.
At age 13, McAfee dropped out of high school and moved to Miami, Florida, where he began working as a security guard. After two months, however, he quit and returned to Belize. There, he enrolled in the University of West Indies School of Medicine. But after three semesters, he left medicine and went back to work full time as a computer programmer.
In 1985, McAfee founded McAfee Associates, a company that developed antiviral programs. The following year, he founded another company called eTrust, which created anti-hacking software. By 1989, McAfee had sold all of his shares in eTrust and formed McAfee Associates. That same year, McAfee married his first wife, Susan Dietrich. They divorced in 1993.
In 1994, McAfee met his second wife, Lori Berenson. The couple got engaged in 1996, but they broke up shortly before their wedding day.
In 1997, McAfee met his third wife, Donna Michelle Shields. The couple married on June 19th, 1998.
In 1999, McAfee founded McAfeesoft, a company that sells anti-malware software. The following year, McAfee launched the McAfee VirusScan Enterprise Edition, which became one of the most popular anti-virus products on the market.
In 2002, McAfee founded MGT Software, a company that develops anti-spyware software. In 2004, McAfee joined the board of directors at Trend Micro, a company that makes anti-virus software.
In 2005, McAfee started developing a new product called McAfee Secure. This program would be designed to protect users against hackers, identity thieves, and other online criminals.
On February 14th, 2008, McAfee announced that he would be running for President of the United States. At the time, McAfee said that he wanted to create a more secure country, and that he believed that he could help accomplish this goal.
On April 1st, 2009, McAfee announced that his campaign for president had been successful. He promised to make America safe again, and to fight corruption within the government.
On May 11th, 2010, McAfee released his autobiography, titled Rogue Nation: Searching for the Real John McAfee. In the book, McAfee discusses his life from birth until the present day.
On August 12th, 2011, McAfee announced that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security had revoked his citizenship because he had lied about being a citizen. McAfee claimed that he had never been a citizen, and that he had only used his American passport so that he could travel freely around the world. However, McAfee admitted that he had actually applied for naturalization in 2000.
On January 26th, 2012, McAfee was arrested by the FBI in connection with an investigation into the illegal sale of prescription drugs. McAfee was accused of selling large amounts of painkillers to undercover agents. McAfee pleaded guilty to federal charges, and was sentenced to four years in prison.
On December 23rd, 2013, McAfee filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Government, claiming that he should have been allowed to remain a citizen. McAfee argued that he had not committed any crimes while living in the U.S., and that he had always intended to become a citizen.
On July 16th, 2014, McAfee was granted bail after spending two months in jail. His lawyer told reporters that McAfee had been suffering from depression and anxiety since his arrest.
In 2015, McAfee’s lawyers appealed his case, arguing that McAfee had been denied due process during his trial. They also asked the court to overturn his conviction based on the fact that he had not received a fair trial.
McAfee was released from prison on September 30th, 2016. He spent three weeks in a halfway house before moving back home to Belize.
What about his political ambitions?
In 2015, McAfee made news when he announced his run as the candidate from a recently formed Cyber Party, but later that year he switched to the Libertarian party. McAfee ran again for president in the 2020 election. He received just over 5% of the vote nationwide.
2016 presidential campaign
On 8 September 2015, McAfee announced a bid for president in the 2016 presidential election as the candidate of a new political party called the Cyberparty. He described it as “a party built around cyber security and privacy.” His running mate was Dr. John McAfee, a computer programmer and entrepreneur.
McAfee ran on a platform of promoting cybersecurity education, reducing government surveillance powers and protecting civil liberties. In addition, he promised to end the war on drugs and legalize marijuana.
The McAfee campaign received significant support from the tech industry, including Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Apple CEO Tim Cook. However, McAfee failed to gain traction among voters, placing second in the primaries behind Donald Trump. At the national convention, McAfee placed third in the popular vote, receiving 5% of the total votes cast.
In November 2015, McAfee announced that he had changed his mind about seeking the presidency, stating that he intended to run as the Libertarian Party nominee. In December 2015, he confirmed this decision, along with announcing his intention to seek the Libertarian Party nomination for vice president.
How did the latest twist in his life come about?
The latest twist in John McAfee’s life came about because of his involvement in cryptocurrencies. As early as 2013, McAfee had been investing in crypto assets, including Bitcoin and Ethereum. But it wasn’t until 2017 that he became famous for being one of the biggest names in cryptos. At that time, he went on CNBC and claimed that he could make $100 million within three months if people bought into his vision.
In 2018, the entrepreneur launched MGT Capital Investments. Later that year, he told Business Insider that he had sold most of his shares in the company, and that he now planned to focus on developing products based on blockchain technology.
McAfee’s arrest in Spain in October 2020 followed a request from the United States. He was accused of evading taxes for four years, having failed to report his income made from consultancy contracts and sales of his life rights in the documentary “I am Not Your Negro.”
He faced up to 10 years in prison if convicted in the US. However, according to McAfee, the charges are politically motivated.