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McAfee LLC
Industry Computer software
Predecessor Intel Security Group (spun off)

1987; 30 years ago (1987)[1] as McAfee Associates, Inc.

2017; 0 years ago (2017) as McAfee LLC
Founder John McAfee
Headquarters 2821 Mission College Blvd.[2] Santa Clara, California
Area served
Key people
Chris Young
Products Security software
Services Computer security
Number of employees
6,768 (as of 2017)
Parent TPG Capital and Thoma Bravo (51%)
Intel (49%)

McAfee, Inc. (/ˈmækəf/;[3] known as Intel Security Group in 2014–2017) is an American global computer security software company headquartered in Santa Clara, California, and the world's largest dedicated security technology company.[4]

The company was a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel from February 2011,[5][6] during which time it was part of the Intel Security division. In April 2017, Intel announced that it had returned McAfee to a standalone company.[7]

On September 7, 2016, Intel announced a strategic deal with TPG Capital to convert Intel Security into a joint venture between Intel and TPG Capital called McAfee.[8] That deal closed on April 3, 2017. Thoma Bravo took a minority stake in the new company, and Intel maintains a 49% stake.[9][10]


Intel still uses the McAfee name and brand for products.

Early years

The company was founded in 1987 as McAfee Associates, named for its founder John McAfee, who resigned from the company in 1994.[11] McAfee was incorporated in the state of Delaware in 1992. Network Associates was formed in 1997 as a merger of McAfee Associates, Network General, PGP Corporation and Helix Software.

The company restructured in 2004, beginning with the sale of its Magic Solutions business to Remedy, a subsidiary of BMC Software early in the year. In mid-2004, the company sold the Sniffer Technologies business to a venture capital backed firm named Network General (the same name as the original owner of Sniffer Technologies), and changed its name back to McAfee to reflect its focus on security-related technologies.

Open source

Among other companies bought and sold by McAfee is Trusted Information Systems, which developed the Firewall Toolkit, the free software foundation for the commercial Gauntlet Firewall, which was later sold to Secure Computing Corporation.

McAfee, as a result of brief ownership of TIS Labs/NAI Labs/Network Associates Laboratories/McAfee Research, was highly influential in the world of Open Source software, as that organization produced portions of the Linux, FreeBSD, and Darwin operating systems, and developed portions of the BIND name server software and SNMP version 3.

Encryption technologies

McAfee had acquired Calgary, Alberta, Canada-based FSA Corporation, which helped the company diversify its security offerings away from just client-based antivirus software by bringing on board its own network and desktop encryption technologies.

The FSA team also oversaw the creation of a number of other technologies that were leading edge at the time, including firewall, file encryption, and public key infrastructure product lines. While those product lines had their own individual successes including PowerBroker (written by Dean Huxley and Dan Freedman and now sold by BeyondTrust), the growth of antivirus ware always outpaced the growth of the other security product lines. It is fair to say that McAfee remains best known for its anti-virus and anti-spam products.

Acquisition by Intel

On August 19, 2010, Intel announced that it would purchase McAfee for $48 a share in a deal valued at $7.68 billion.[12][13]

On January 6, 2014, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich announced during the Consumer Electronics Show the name change from McAfee Security to Intel Security. The company's red shield logo would remain, with the firm continuing to operate as a wholly owned Intel subsidiary.[14] John McAfee, who no longer has any involvement in the company, expressed his pleasure at his name no longer being associated with the software. "I am now everlastingly grateful to Intel for freeing me from this terrible association with the worst software on the planet. These are not my words, but the words of millions of irate users."[15] However, as of 2016 the products still bear the name McAfee.

The company was spun back out of Intel on April 4, 2017.[16]


McAfee products are primarily digital security tools for personal computers and server devices, and more recently, mobile devices.

Consumer products:[17]

  • McAfee LiveSafe (software as a service) – protects PCs and mobile devices from viruses and online threats
  • McAfee All Access – unlimited number of devices
  • McAfee Total Protection – protect PCs from viruses, spam, and phishing
  • McAfee Internet Security (Windows, Mac) – anti-virus protection, wi-fi protection, parental controls
  • McAfee AntiVirus Plus – protects PCs against online threats
  • McAfee Personal Firewall (discontinued) – [18][19]
  • McAfee Family Protection (Windows, Mac) – prevent access to age-inappropriate online content
  • McAfee SiteAdvisor Live – signals when a URL is safe to click
  • McAfee Mobile Security (Android, iOS) – anti-virus protection, protect lost or stolen devices (lock, locate, remote wipe, remote camera trigger), wi-fi security and web protection[20]

Business products:[21]

  • McAfee Active Response – Endpoint detection and response tool [22]
  • McAfee Small Business Security – stops viruses, malware and hackers
  • McAfee Endpoint Protection (Windows, Mac) – anti-malware, anti-spyware and anti-spam
  • McAfee Complete Endpoint Protection Suites - antivirus, antispam, encryption, firewall, and web security [23]
  • McAfee Stinger – on-demand virus scanner, for use by administrators and users[24]

Security as a service products for businesses:[25]

  • McAfee Security for Business – computer, server and email protection and web security
  • McAfee SaaS Endpoint Protection – anti-malware, anti-spam and anti-spyware
  • McAfee SaaS Web Protection – cloud-based web security for a safe secure network
  • McAfee SaaS Email Protection & Continuity – blocks spam, phishing scams, and inappropriate email content (service discontinued January 11, 2017) [26]
  • McAfee SaaS Email Inbound Filtering – blocks 99% of spam, viruses, worms, fraudulent messages (service discontinued January 11, 2017) [26]
  • McAfee SaaS Email Archiving – message archiving service with up to 10 years of data retention, reducing email storage management (service discontinued January 11, 2017; last date to extract emails July 11, 2017).[26]
  • McAfee SaaS Email Encryption – robust email encryption technology (service discontinued January 11, 2017) [26]

Data center products:

  • McAfee VirusScan Enterprise – anti-virus, anti-spyware, firewall, and intrusion prevention technologies with centralized management[27]
  • McAfee Server Security Suite – server security protection and management for physical, virtual, and cloud deployments for data centers[28]
  • McAfee Public Cloud Server Security – comprehensive cloud security to manage security policies for public cloud servers, with blacklisting and whitelisting technologies[28]
  • McAfee Security Suite for VDI – scalable security solution specifically designed for virtual desktop infrastructure installations[28]
  • McAfee Security Suite for Databases – real-time protection for relational databases, with no architecture changes[28]

Data security products:

  • McAfee Total Protection for Data Loss Prevention (DLP) – protects data on endpoints and in the cloud and helps manage DLP policies [29]
  • McAfee Complete Data Protection Suites – Drive encryption, native encryption management, and data loss prevention [30]

Network security hardware appliances:[31]

  • McAfee Next Generation Firewall (appliance) - divested to Raytheon|Websense, now ForcePoint in January 2016 [32]
  • McAfee Network Security Platform (appliance) - intrusion prevention system (IPS) [33]
  • McAfee Advanced Threat Defense (appliance) – Sandbox technology that helps detect and analyze targeted attacks [34]
  • McAfee Network Threat Behavior Analysis (appliance)
  • McAfee Network Threat Response (software)

SIEM appliances:

  • McAfee Enterprise Security Manager – situational awareness and threat intelligence that helps identify and prioritize security threats [35]
  • McAfee Advanced Correlation Engine – identify and score security events [36]
  • McAfee Application Data Monitor – application-layer monitoring to fully inspect network activity [37]


On Dec 1, 2014 Intel Security announced the acquisition of PasswordBox, a Montreal-based provider of digital identity management solutions. Financial terms were not disclosed.[38]
On July 8, 2013 McAfee completed the tender offer for Finnish network firewall design company Stonesoft Oyj worth $389 million in cash, or about $6.09 a share.[39] The Next Generation Firewall business acquired from Stonesoft was divested to Forcepoint in January 2016.
On February 26, 2013 McAfee announced it had acquired the ValidEdge sandboxing technology.[40]
On October 4, 2011, McAfee announced its intention to acquire privately owned NitroSecurity,[41] a developer of high-performance security information and event management (SIEM) solutions that protect critical information and infrastructure. NitroSecurity solutions reduce risk exposure and increase network and information availability by removing the scalability and performance limitations of security information management. The acquisition closed on November 30, 2011.
On March 23, 2011, McAfee announced its intention to acquire privately owned Sentrigo,[42] a leading provider of database security, including vulnerability management, database activity monitoring, database audit, and virtual patching—which ensure databases are protected without impacting performance or availability. The acquisition enabled McAfee to extend its database security portfolio. The acquisition closed on April 6, 2011.[43]
On July 29, 2010, McAfee announced a definitive agreement to acquire tenCube, a privately held online security company that specialized in anti-theft and data security for mobile devices.[44] The acquisition allowed McAfee to complete its diversification into the mobile security space, and announce its plans to build the next generation mobile platform. The acquisition closed on August 25, 2010.
Trust Digital
On May 25, 2010, McAfee announced a definitive agreement to acquire Trust Digital, a privately held online security company that specialized in security for mobile devices. The acquisition allowed McAfee to extend its services beyond traditional endpoint security and move into the mobile security market.[45] The acquisition closed on June 3, 2010.[46] The price for Trust Digital was not disclosed[47]
MX Logic
On July 30, 2009, McAfee announced plans to acquire managed email and web security vendor MX Logic. The acquisition provided an enhanced range of SaaS-based security services such as cloud-based intelligence, web security, email security, endpoint security and vulnerability assessment.[48] The deal closed on September 1, 2009 at a price of $140 million.[49] MX Logic staff has been integrated into McAfee's SaaS business unit.
Solidcore Systems
On May 15, 2009, McAfee announced its intention acquire Solidcore Systems, a privately held security company, for $33 million.[50] Solidcore was a maker of software that helped companies protect ATMs and other specialized computers. The acquisition integrated Solidcore's whitelisting and compliance enforcement mechanisms into the McAfee product line.[51] The deal closed on June 1, 2009.
In January 2009, McAfee announced plans to acquire Endeavor Security, a privately held maker of IPS/IDS technology.[52] The deal closed in February 2009 for a total purchase price of $3.2 million.
Secure Computing
On September 22, 2008, McAfee announced an agreement to acquire Secure Computing, a company specializing in network security hardware, services, and software products. The acquisition expanded McAfee's business in securing networks and cloud computing services to offer a more comprehensive brand of products. The deal closed on November 19, 2008 at a price of $497 million.[53]
On July 31, 2008, McAfee announced it would acquire Reconnex, a maker of data protection appliances and software. Reconnex sold data loss prevention software, designed to prevent sensitive documents and data from leaving corporate networks.[54] The acquisition added content awareness to McAfee's data security portfolio.[55] The $46 million deal closed on August 12, 2008.
On October 30, 2007, McAfee announced plans to acquire ScanAlert for $51 million. The acquisition integrated ScanAlert's Hacker Safe service and McAfee's SiteAdvisor rating system to attack website security from both sides.[56] It was the industry's first service to help consumers stay safe as they searched, surfed and shopped. The deal closed on February 7, 2008.[57]
SafeBoot Holding B.V.
On October 8, 2007, McAfee announced it would acquire SafeBoot Holding B.V. for $350 million.[58] SafeBoot provided mobile data security solutions that protected data, devices, and networks against the risk associated with loss, theft, and unauthorized access. Through the acquisition, McAfee became the only vendor to deliver endpoint, network, web, email and data security, as well as risk and compliance solutions. Gerhard Watzinger, CEO of SafeBoot, joined McAfee to lead the Data Protection product business unit.[59] The deal closed on November 19, 2007.
Onigma Ltd
On October 16, 2006, McAfee announced it would acquire Israel based Onigma Ltd for $20 million.[60] Onigma provides host-based data leakage protection software that prevents intentional and unintentional leakage of sensitive data by internal users.
On April 5, 2006, McAfee bought out SiteAdvisor for a reputed $70 million[61] in competition with Symantec, a service that warns users if downloading software or filling out forms on a site may obtain malware or spam.
IntruVert Networks
On April 2, 2003, McAfee acquired IntruVert Networks for $100 million. According to Network World, "IntruVert's technology focus is on intrusion-prevention, which entails not just detecting attacks, but blocking them. The IntruVert product line can be used as a passive intrusion-detection system, just watching and reporting, or it can be used in the intrusion-prevention mode of blocking a perceived attack."[62]
Dr Solomon's Group plc
On June 9, 1998, Network Associates agreed to acquire Dr Solomon's Group plc, the leading European manufacturer of antivirus software, for $642 million in stock.
In August 2004, McAfee agreed to acquire Foundstone, a vendor of security consulting, training, and vulnerability management software, for $86 million.[63]

Product reviews

  • AV-Test gave McAfee Endpoint Security the Best Usability Award in 2015, citing the product’s user-friendly interface and low rate of false positives in detecting malware.[64]
  • AV-Test reviewed the performance, protection, and usability of McAfee Endpoint Security in June 2016, and gave the product high scores for zero-day malware detection. The evaluation also highlighted the product’s low rate of false positives.[65]
  • AV-Test reviewed McAfee Internet Security in June 2016. In the tests, the product scored a 5 out of 6 for protection and 6 out of 6 for usability.[66]
  • SC Magazine gave McAfee Enterprise Security Manager 5 stars out of 5, and concluded the product is “ the most comprehensive and powerful SIEM we’ve seen.” The review cites the SIEM appliance’s “immense functionality” and notes that it “provides scalability and the performance needed for collecting and correlating massive volumes of log, flow and contextual data, including third-party threat feeds, application sessions and database activity.” [67]
  • Computer Shopper magazine gave McAfee Total Protection a score of 2.5 of 5 stars. They concluded "McAfee Total Protection 2012 has plenty of security tools and protects against malware well enough, but once an infection takes place, it’s not good at removing it. Add in a not-so-intuitive interface, and you have a security suite that best suits security mavens, not casual users."[68]
  • CNET gave McAfee Total Protection 2012 a rating of 3.5 of 5 stars. They concluded "McAfee has made good products in the past, and it may well do so again. However, the combined performance marks are a horror show, and there are too many inconsistencies throughout the rest of the suite to overlook benchmarks in favor of reputation."[69]
  • Expert Reviews evaluated McAfee Security as a Service and concluded "an easy to use web interface fails to make up for shockingly poor defense against malware."[70]
  • PC World gave McAfee Internet Protection 2012 a rating of 3.5 of 5 stars. It finished 14 th in their 2012 "Roundup of Internet Security Suites". They concluded "we find it difficult to give this package a recommendation considering its low ranking."[71]
  • gave McAfee Internet Security 2013 4 of 5 stars. However, it concluded "with the same old interface and the same old features as last year, McAfee isn't doing much to compete with the other top security software suites, which makes the 2013 version a bit of a disappointment for us."[72]
  • Neil Reubenking of PC Magazine gave McAfee Total Protection 2012 a favorable review overall, because the suite "offers a huge array of security-relevant features, among them file encryption, shredding, intruder detection, and more. Its spam filter is accurate and parental control is much improved." However, he added that "its essential antivirus protection doesn't measure up to the very best."[73]
  • Laptop Magazine gave McAfee Total Security 2012 3 of 5 stars. It concluded "McAfee's new security suite introduces several new features, but its performance impact during full scans gives us pause."[74]


  • On January 4, 2006, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed suit against McAfee for overstating its 1998–2000 net revenue by US$622,000,000.[75] Without admitting any wrongdoing, McAfee simultaneously settled the complaint, and agreed to pay a $50 million penalty and rework its accounting practices.[76] The fine was for accounting fraud; known as channel stuffing that served to inflate their revenue to their investors.[76]
  • In October 2006, McAfee fired its president Kevin Weiss,[77] and its CEO George Samaneuk resigned under the cloud of a recent SEC investigation which also caused the departure of Kent Roberts, the General Counsel, earlier in the year. In late December 2006 both Weiss and Samaneuk had share option grant prices revised upwards by McAfee's board. Weiss and Roberts were both exonerated of all wrongdoing from the claims of McAfee in 2009.[citation needed]
  • In January 2007, under pressure from ex-employees worldwide, several of which backed a class action in the United States, McAfee agreed to honor share options granted, but which are unable to be exercised due to the self-imposed blackout on employee options dealing.
  • On April 21, 2010, beginning at approximately 14:00 UTC, millions of computers worldwide running Windows XP Service Pack 3 were affected by an erroneous virus definition file update by McAfee, resulting in the removal of a Windows system file (svchost.exe) on those machines, causing machines to lose network access and, in some cases, enter a reboot loop. McAfee rectified this by removing and replacing the faulty DAT file, version 5958, with an emergency DAT file, version 5959 and has posted a fix for the affected machines in their consumer knowledge base.[78][79] The University of Michigan's medical school reported that 8,000 of its 25,000 computers crashed. Police in Lexington, Ky., resorted to hand-writing reports and turned off their patrol car terminals as a precaution. Some jails canceled visitation, and Rhode Island hospitals turned away non-trauma patients at emergency rooms and postponed some elective surgeries.[80] Australian supermarket Coles reported that 10% (1,100) of its point-of-sales terminals were affected and was forced to shut down stores in both western and southern parts of the country.[81] As a result of the outage, McAfee implemented additional QA protocols for any releases that directly impacted critical system files. The company also rolled out additional capabilities in Artemis that provide another level of protection against false positives by leveraging a whitelist of hands-off system files.[82]
  • In March 2011, a group of "white hat" hackers released a report that they had identified serious vulnerabilities to security at, pointing out flaws that could lead to information disclosure and other issues.[83]
  • In August 2012, an issue with an update to McAfee antivirus for home and enterprise computers turned off the antivirus protection and, in many cases, prevented connection to the Internet. McAfee was criticized for being slow to address the problem, forcing network operations to spend time diagnosing the issue.[84]

See also


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External links