John McAfee

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John McAfee
John McAfee by Gage Skidmore.jpg
McAfee in June 2016.
Born John David McAfee
(1945-09-18) September 18, 1945 (age 71)
United Kingdom
Nationality American and British
Alma mater Roanoke College
Occupation Software developer, founder of McAfee, CEO of MGT Capital Investments Inc.
Known for McAfee, Inc
Political party Libertarian Party
Spouse(s) Janice Dyson (m. 2013)
Website www.whoismcafee.com

John David McAfee (/ˈmækəf/ MAK-ə-fee;[1] born September 18, 1945) is a British-American computer programmer and businessman. He founded the software company McAfee Associates in 1987 and ran it until 1994, when he resigned from the company. McAfee Associates achieved early success as the creators of McAfee, the first commercial antivirus software, and they now produce an entire line of enterprise security software. The company was renamed to Intel Security in 2011 after being purchased by Intel, though the software still retains the McAfee brand name. McAfee's wealth peaked in 2007 at $100 million, before his investments suffered in the global financial crisis that began that year.

He is also a political activist, who sought the Libertarian Party nomination for President of the United States in the 2016 election, losing to former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson. McAfee also has interests in smartphone apps, yoga, and all-natural antibiotics. He resided for a number of years in Belize, but after several disputes with the authorities in Belize and Guatemala, he returned to the United States in 2013.

Early life[edit]

McAfee was born in the United Kingdom on September 18, 1945[2] on a U.S. Army base to American father, who was stationed there and British mother,[3] and raised in Salem, Virginia. He received a bachelor's degree in mathematics in 1967 from Roanoke College, which subsequently awarded him an honorary Sc.D. degree in 2008.[4]

Ventures[edit]

Before McAfee Associates[edit]

McAfee was employed as a programmer by NASA's Institute for Space Studies in New York City from 1968 to 1970. From there he went to Univac as a software designer and later to Xerox as an operating system architect. In 1978 he joined Computer Sciences Corporation as a software consultant. He worked for consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton from 1980-1982.[5] In the 1980s, while employed by Lockheed, McAfee received a copy of the Brain computer virus and began developing software to combat viruses.

McAfee Associates[edit]

In 1987 McAfee founded McAfee Associates, a computer anti-virus company.[4] In 1989, he quit Lockheed and began working full-time at McAfee Associates, which he initially operated from his home in Santa Clara, California.[citation needed] The company was incorporated in Delaware in 1992, and McAfee resigned from the company in 1994.[4] Two years after McAfee Associates went public, McAfee sold his remaining stake in the company.[6]

Network Associates was formed in 1997 as a merger of McAfee Associates and Network General. The Network Associates company name was retained for seven years, when it was renamed McAfee, Inc. In August 2010, Intel bought McAfee,[7][8] maintaining the separate branding, until January 2014, when it announced that McAfee related products will be marketed as Intel Security. McAfee expressed his pleasure at his name no longer being associated with the software.[9]

After McAfee Associates[edit]

Other business ventures that were founded by McAfee include Tribal Voice, which developed one of the first instant messaging programs,[10] PowWow. In 2000, John McAfee invested in and joined the board of directors of Zone Labs, makers of firewall software, prior to its acquisition by Check Point Software in 2003.[11]

In August 2009, The New York Times reported that McAfee's personal fortune had declined to $4 million from a peak of $100 million, the effect of the global financial crisis and recession on his investments.[6]

In 2009, McAfee was interviewed in Belize for the CNBC special "The Bubble Decade", in which it was reported that he had invested in and/or built many mansions in the USA that went unsold when the 2007 global recession hit. The report also discussed his quest to produce plants for possible medicinal uses on his land in Belize.[12]

Beginning in February 2010, McAfee started a new venture in the field of bacterial quorum sensing. His company QuorumEx[13] has its headquarters in Belize and is working towards producing commercial all natural antibiotics based on anti-quorum sensing technology.[14][15]

In 2013 McAfee started a new company, Future Tense Central, to produce a secure computer network device called the D-Central.[16]

In February 2014, McAfee announced Cognizant, an application for smartphones, which displays information about the permissions of other installed applications.[17] On April 3, 2014, John McAfee rebranded Cognizant as DCentral 1, and released an Android version for free on Google Play.[18][19]

At the DEF CON conference in Las Vegas, Nevada in August 2014, he warned Americans not to use smartphones, suggesting apps are used to spy on clueless consumers who do not read privacy user agreements.[20]

As of January 2016, McAfee is running an incubator called Future Tense Central and he is also the chief evangelist for security startup Everykey.[21]

In February 2016 McAfee received media attention by publicly volunteering to decrypt the iPhone used by the San Bernardino shooters, avoiding the need for Apple to build a backdoor.[22] McAfee later admitted that these claims were a publicity stunt.[23]

In May 2016, McAfee was appointed Chief Executive Chairman and CEO of MGT Capital Investments. The company announced that it will be renamed John McAfee Global Technologies.[24] During this time, McAfee claimed that he and his team had exploited a flaw in the Android operating system that allowed him to read encrypted messages from WhatsApp.[25] Gizmodo investigated these claims and reported that McAfee had sent reporters malware-infected phones to make this hack work. McAfee responded to these accusations, writing, "Of course the phones had malware on them. How that malware got there is the story, which we will release after speaking with Google. It involves a serious flaw in the Android architecture."[26]McAfee's stated goal for MGT is to improve cybersecurity in a post-anti-virus world. [27]

Politics[edit]

2016 presidential campaign[edit]

On September 8, 2015, McAfee announced that he would seek the office of President of the United States in the 2016 presidential election, as the candidate of a newly formed political party called the Cyber Party.[3][28] On December 24, 2015, he re-announced his candidacy bid, saying that he would instead seek the presidential nomination of the Libertarian Party.[21][29] On the campaign trail, McAfee consistently polled among the top three presidential candidates for his party with his rivals Gary Johnson and Austin Petersen.[30] The three candidates appeared in the Libertarian Party's first nationally televised presidential debate on March 29, 2016.[31]

McAfee announced that his vice presidential choice would be the photographer, former commercial real estate broker, and Libertarian activist Judd Weiss.[32]

Endorsements[edit]

Political positions[edit]

McAfee identifies as a libertarian, advocating for the decriminalization of cannabis and an end to the War on Drugs, non-interventionism in foreign policy and a free market economy which does not redistribute wealth and upholds free trade. McAfee supports abolishing the Transportation Security Administration.[37]

McAfee advocates for increased cyber awareness and more action against the threat of cyberwarfare.[38]

McAfee has advocated for religious liberty, saying that business owners should be able to deny service in cases that contradict their religious beliefs, saying that "No one is forcing you to buy anything or to choose one person over another. So why should I be forced to do anything if I am not harming you? It's my choice to sell, your choice to buy."[39]

Personal life[edit]

In a 2012 article in Mensa Bulletin, the magazine of American Mensa, he stated that being the developer of the first commercial anti-virus program has made him "the most popular hacking target", confiding: "Hackers see hacking me as a badge of honor". He added that for his own security he has other people buy his computer equipment for him, uses pseudonyms for setting up computers and logging in, and changes his IP address several times a day.[40]

In 2012, when asked if he personally uses McAfee anti-virus, he replied: "I take it off," and, "It's too annoying."[41]

In early 2013, McAfee was residing in Portland, Oregon,[42] but he has since moved to Lexington, Tennessee, with his wife Janice Dyson.[43]

McAfee claims that former cocaine baron "Boston" George Jung is writing his official biography, No Domain.[44]

McAfee has taught yoga[45] and has written several books about yoga.[46]

Legal issues[edit]

On April 30, 2012, McAfee's property in Orange Walk Town, Belize, was raided by the Gang Suppression Unit of the Belizean Police Department. McAfee was in bed with his girlfriend at that time, who McAfee said was traumatized by the incident. A GSU press release stated that McAfee was arrested for unlicensed drug manufacturing and possession of an unlicensed weapon.[15][47][48][49] He was released without charge.[50] In 2012, Belize police spokesman Raphael Martinez confirmed that McAfee was neither convicted nor charged, only suspected.[51]

On November 12, 2012, Belize police started a search for McAfee as a "person of interest" in connection to the murder of American expatriate Gregory Viant Faull. Faull was found dead of a gunshot wound on November 11, 2012, at his home on the island of Ambergris Caye, the largest island in Belize.[52][53] Faull was a neighbor of McAfee.[54] In a November 2012 interview with Wired,[55] McAfee said that he has always been afraid police would kill him and thus refused their routine questions; he has since evaded the Belizean authorities.[54] Belize's prime minister Dean Barrow called McAfee "extremely paranoid, even bonkers".[56] McAfee fled Belize when he was sought for questioning concerning the murder.[57][58][59]

The magazine Vice accidentally gave away McAfee's location at a Guatemalan resort in early December 2012, when a photo taken by one of its journalists accompanying McAfee was posted with the Exif geolocation metadata still attached.[60] While in Guatemala, McAfee asked Chad Essley, an American cartoonist and animator, to set up a blog so that he could write about his experience while on the run.[61] McAfee then appeared publicly in Guatemala City, where he attempted to seek political asylum. On December 5, 2012, McAfee was arrested for illegally entering Guatemala. Shortly after he was placed under arrest, a board to review McAfee's plea for asylum was formed. The committee denied his asylum, so he was taken from his holding facility to a detention center in order to await deportation to Belize.[62]

On December 6, 2012, Reuters and ABC News reported that McAfee had two minor heart attacks in a Guatemalan detention center and was hospitalized.[63][64] McAfee's lawyer stated that his client had not suffered heart attacks, but had instead suffered from high blood pressure and anxiety attacks.[65][66][67] McAfee later stated that he faked the heart attack while being held in Guatemala to buy time for his attorney to file a series of appeals that ultimately prevented his deportation to Belize, hastening the government's decision to send him back to the United States.[68] On December 12, 2012, McAfee was released from detention in Guatemala and deported to the United States.[69]

As of January 2014, Belizean police have presented no new accusations, and they have not persisted in seeking McAfee's imprisonment for any of the crimes they accused him of. However, they have auctioned off McAfee's seized assets, and his home was burned down under suspicious circumstances.[70]

On August 2, 2015, McAfee was arrested in Henderson County, Tennessee, on charges of one count of driving under the influence and one count of possession of a firearm while intoxicated.[71]

In popular culture[edit]

Stephen Rodrick wrote in the October 2015 issue of Men's Journal that McAfee's "stay in Belize is so notorious that there is a libidinous, perhaps insane, gun-wielding character living in Belize in novelist Jonathan Franzen's Purity that bears a resemblance to McAfee."[72]

Gringo: The Dangerous Life of John McAfee is a Showtime Networks documentary about the portion of McAfee's life spent in Belize. It began airing in September, 2016.[73]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "FEC FORM 2" (PDF). Federal Election Commission. Retrieved September 9, 2015. 
  2. ^ "John McAfee". Famous People. 2016. Retrieved April 16, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b Trujillo, Mario (September 8, 2015). "Software pioneer McAfee files paperwork to run for president". The Hill. Retrieved September 9, 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c Woodford, Chris (2007). Inventors and Inventions, Volume 4. Marshall Cavendish. pp. 1030–33. ISBN 0-7614-7767-5. 
  5. ^ Fox Business. "John McAfee: I'm Behind Edward Snowden". Youtube. Youtube. Retrieved 23 August 2015. 
  6. ^ a b Leonhardt, David; Fabrikant, Geraldine (August 21, 2009). "Rise of the Super-Rich Hits a Sobering Wall" (article). The New York Times. Retrieved May 7, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Intel Completes Acquisition of McAfee". McAfee News. February 28, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Intel in $7.68bn McAfee takeover". BBC News. August 19, 2010. 
  9. ^ "CES 2014: Director loses direction as teleprompter fails". BBC News. 
  10. ^ Pontin, Jason (May 1, 2005). "From the Editor". MIT Technology Review. Technologyreview.com. Retrieved November 15, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Zone Labs To Get Funding, New Board Member". October 2, 2000. Retrieved November 17, 2012. 
  12. ^ "The Bubble Decade". Retrieved May 25, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Quorum sensing inhibitor agents from the jungles and savannas of Belize". QuorumEx.com. Retrieved November 15, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Plagued by Lawsuits, McAfee Founder Hunts for Cures in Belize" (article). Fast Company. May 1, 2010. 
  15. ^ a b Wise, Jeff (November 8, 2012). "Secrets, Schemes, and Lots of Guns: Inside John McAfee's Heart of Darkness". Gizmodo. 
  16. ^ James Vincent (October 2, 2013). "John McAfee's $100 'anti-NSA' device: 'this is coming and cannot be". The Independent. 
  17. ^ Casaretto, John (February 11, 2014). "John McAfee has had enough of excessive app permissions – introduces Cognizant". SiliconAngle. Retrieved February 11, 2014. 
  18. ^ McAfee, John (April 3, 2014). "DCentral1 App Now available for download". WhoisMcAfee.Com. Retrieved April 4, 2014. 
  19. ^ "DCentral 1 by John McAfee". Google. April 3, 2014. Retrieved April 4, 2014. 
  20. ^ Danny Yadron, John McAfee at Def Con: Don’t Use Smartphones, The Wall Street Journal, August 08, 2014
  21. ^ a b Hardawar, Devindra (2016-01-16). "John McAfee on his new startup and why he should be president". Engadget. Retrieved 2016-01-11. 
  22. ^ Hathaway, Jay (February 19, 2016). "Antivirus Wild Man John McAfee Offers to Solve FBI's iPhone Problem So Apple Doesn't Have To". Following: How We Live Online. Retrieved February 24, 2016. 
  23. ^ Turton, William (March 7, 2016). "John McAfee lied about San Bernardino shooter's iPhone hack to 'get a s**tload of public attention'". The Daily Dot. Retrieved May 15, 2016. 
  24. ^ Tepper, Fitz. "John McAfee's first move as a new CEO is to rename the company after himself". TechCrunch. Retrieved May 10, 2016. 
  25. ^ Morgan, Steve (May 15, 2016). "WhatsApp Message Hacked By John McAfee And Crew". Cybersecurity Ventures. Retrieved May 16, 2016. 
  26. ^ Turton, William (May 16, 2016). "John McAfee Apparently Tried to Trick Reporters Into Thinking He Hacked WhatsApp". Gizmodo. Gawker Media. Retrieved May 16, 2016. 
  27. ^ Garrity, David (Sep 14, 2016). "David Garrity's Investopedia Conversation with John McAfee". Investopedia. Retrieved Oct 12, 2016. 
  28. ^ Garcia, Ahiza (September 8, 2015). "John McAfee announces he's running for President". CNN. Retrieved September 8, 2015. 
  29. ^ Swartz, Jon. "McAfee will run as Libertarian Party candidate for president". USA Today. Retrieved December 25, 2015. 
  30. ^ Schwartz, Zachary (May 5, 2016). "On The Campaign Trail With John McAfee". The Awl. Retrieved May 7, 2016. 
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  32. ^ Doherty, Brian (May 20, 2016). "John McAfee Will Be the Next President of the United States, Says John McAfee". Reason. 
  33. ^ Lesiak, Krzysztof. "Adam Kokesh endorses John McAfee". Independent Political Report. Retrieved 18 May 2016. 
  34. ^ McAfee, John. "Nevada Assemblyman John Moore, the most prominent...". Facebook. Retrieved 31 May 2016. 
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  68. ^ Zarrella, John. "John McAfee says he faked heart attack to avoid deportation to Belize". CNN. Retrieved December 14, 2012. 
  69. ^ "UPDATE: McAfee Released, Leaving Guatemala For The U.S.". NPR. Retrieved December 12, 2012. 
  70. ^ Jose Pagliery (January 8, 2014). "John McAfee escaped police and lost his fortune. Now he's enjoying art in Canada.". CNNMoney. 
  71. ^ "John McAfee arrested on DUI, gun charges in Henderson County". WBBJ 7 Eye Witness News. Retrieved March 25, 2016. 
  72. ^ Rodrick, Stephen Rodrick (October 2015). "John McAfee: The Prophet of Paranoia". Men's Journal. 
  73. ^ Gringo: The Dangerous Life of John McAfee

External links[edit]