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John McAfee

John McAfee

American computer programmer and businessman
John McAfee
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American computer programmer and businessman
A.K.A. John David McAfee
Is Software engineer Programmer Engineer Businessperson Computer scientist Politician
From United States of America
Type Business Engineering Politics Science Technology
Gender male
Birth 18 September 1945, Scotland, United Kingdom
Age 75 years
Star sign VirgoVirgo
Residence Salem, Virginia, USA
Politics Libertarian Party
Roanoke College Bachelor of Arts 1967
The details


John David McAfee (/ˈmækəf/ MAK-ə-fee; born September 18, 1945) is an English-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 the business now produces a range of enterprise security software. The company was purchased by Intel in 2011 and spun back out in 2017 with TPG Capital owning a majority stake, though the software has always borne the McAfee brand name. McAfee's wealth peaked in 2007 at $100 million, before his investments plummeted in the financial crisis of 2007–2008.

Since leaving McAfee Associates, he has founded the companies Tribal Voice (makers of the PowWow chat program), QuorumEx and Future Tense Central, among others, and has been involved in leadership positions in the companies Everykey, MGT Capital Investments and Luxcore, among others. His personal and business interests include smartphone apps, cryptocurrency, yoga, and all-natural antibiotics. He resided for a number of years in Belize, but returned to the United States in 2013.

McAfee is also a political activist, who sought the 2016 Libertarian Party nomination for President of the United States in the 2016 election, losing to former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson. His second presidential campaign, in 2020, also ended unsuccessfully.

Early life

McAfee was born in Cinderford, in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom on September 18, 1945 on a U.S. Army base to an American father, who was stationed there, and a British mother. He was raised in Salem, Virginia, US. McAfee has said he feels as much British as he is American. When McAfee was 15, his father, an abusive alcoholic, committed suicide by gun shot.

He received a bachelor's degree in mathematics in 1967 from Roanoke College, which subsequently awarded him an honorary Sc.D. degree in 2008.


Before McAfee Associates

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. 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

In 1987 McAfee founded McAfee Associates, a computer anti-virus company. The company was incorporated in Delaware in 1992, and McAfee resigned from the company in 1994. Two years after McAfee Associates went public, McAfee sold his remaining stake in the company.

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, 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 the name change, saying, "I am now everlastingly grateful to Intel for freeing me from this terrible association with the worst software on the planet." The unit was spun out of Intel in April 2017 as McAfee, LLC, as a joint venture between TPG Capital and Intel.

After McAfee Associates

Other business ventures that were founded by McAfee include Tribal Voice, which developed one of the first instant messaging programs, PowWow. In 2000, he 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.

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 financial crisis of 2007–2008 on his investments.

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.

In February 2010, McAfee started the company QuorumEx, headquartered in Belize, which aimed to produce commercial all natural antibiotics based on anti-quorum sensing technology.

In June 2013, McAfee uploaded the parody video How to Uninstall McAfee Antivirus onto his YouTube channel. In the video, McAfee criticized McAfee's antivirus software while snorting white powder and being stroked and undressed by scantily clad women. The video has garnered over 9 million views. McAfee told Reuters that he made the video to ridicule the media's negative coverage of him. A spokesman for McAfee Inc. called the video's statements "ludicrous."

Also in 2013, McAfee started the company Future Tense Central, which aimed to produce a secure computer network device called the D-Central. By 2016 it was also serving as an incubator.

In February 2014, McAfee announced Cognizant, an application for smartphones, which displays information about the permissions of other installed applications. In April 2014, Cognizant was renamed DCentral 1, and an Android version of it was released for free on Google Play.

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.

In January 2016, he became the chief evangelist for security startup Everykey.

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. McAfee later admitted that his claims of how simple cracking the phone were a publicity stunt, though he still claimed he could pull it off.

In May 2016, McAfee was appointed chief executive chairman and CEO of MGT Capital Investments, a technology holding company. The company initially stated that it would rename itself John McAfee Global Technologies, although this plan was abandoned due to a dispute with Intel over rights to the "McAfee" name. McAfee changed MGT's focus from social gaming to cybersecurity, stating in an interview that "anti-virus software is dead, it no longer works," and that "the new paradigm has to stop the hacker getting in" before they can do damage.

Soon after joining MGT, 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. 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."

McAfee also moved MGT into mining of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, saying that it was intended both to make money for the company and to increase MGT's expertise in dealing with blockchains, which he thought was important for cybersecurity.

In August 2017, McAfee stepped down as CEO, instead serving as MGT's "chief cybersecurity visionary." In January 2018 he left the company altogether. Both sides stated that the decision was amicable, with McAfee saying that he wanted to spend all of his time on cryptocurrencies, while the company stated that they were getting pressured by potential investors to disassociate themselves from McAfee.

On August 13, 2018, McAfee took a position of CEO with Luxcore, a cryptocurrency company focused on enterprise solutions.


Political positions

McAfee identifies as a libertarian, advocating 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 he upholds free trade. McAfee supports abolishing the Transportation Security Administration.

McAfee advocates increased cyber awareness and more action against the threat of cyberwarfare.

McAfee advocates religious liberty, saying that business owners should be able to deny service in cases that contradict their religious beliefs, and, "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."

2016 presidential campaign

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. On December 24, 2015, he re-announced his candidacy bid, saying that he would instead seek the presidential nomination of the Libertarian Party. On the campaign trail, McAfee consistently polled among the top three presidential candidates for his party with his rivals Gary Johnson and Austin Petersen. The three candidates appeared in the Libertarian Party's first nationally televised presidential debate on March 29, 2016.

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

McAfee was the runner-up in the primaries, but came in third at the 2016 Libertarian National Convention.


  • Adam Kokesh, talk show host and activist
  • John Moore, Nevada assemblyman
  • L. Neil Smith, science fiction author and activist
  • Joy Waymire, Libertarian presidential candidate

2020 presidential campaign

McAfee announced his second bid for president in June 2018, for the 2020 presidential election. His main campaign issue is to promote the use of cryptocurrencies. He stated that he will either again seek the nomination of the Libertarian Party, or form his own party; he ultimately ran as a Libertarian.

In a tweet, on March 4, 2020, McAfee simultaneously suspended his 2020 presidential campaign and announced his campaign for the Libertarian party vice presidential nomination. The next day, he returned to the presidential field, reserving the suspension of his bid, as "No one in the Libertarian Party Would [sic] consider me For Vice President." The next month, he endorsed Adam Kokesh; he simultaneously became Kokesh's vice-presidential candidate.

McAfee was again not nominated, losing to Jo Jorgenson and Spike Cohen for the vice-presidential slot.

Other views

McAfee has contended that taxes are illegal and has claimed in 2019 that he had not filed a tax return since 2010. He refers to himself as being a "prime target" of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

In July 2017, McAfee wrote on Twitter that he predicted that the price of one bitcoin would jump to $500,000 within three years, and "If not, I will eat my own dick on national television." In November 2017, he increased his prediction to $1 million. In January 2020, however, he stated on Twitter that his previous predictions were simply "A ruse to onboard new users", and that bitcoin had limited potential because it was "an ancient technology". Asked which cryptocurrencies he now recommended, he listed Monero and Pirate Chain.

On June 24, 2019, McAfee, who was then living in Cuba, tweeted a defense of Che Guevara, saying that "If You (sic) call Che Guevara a terrorist you show your ignorance and your acceptance of the U.S. government's propaganda and lies."

On August 13, 2020, McAfee tweeted that "Despite my efforts (licking handles of grocery carts, bottom of my shoes, etc.) I'm unable to get Coronavirus to challenge me." The tweet featured photos of test devices alleged showing negative viral test results and of McAfee licking the bottom of an athletic shoe.

Personal life

The night after McAfee arrived in the United States after being deported from Guatemala in December 2012, he was solicited by Dyson, then a prostitute at South Beach, Florida, and the two spent the night together. McAfee and Dyson, more than 30 years McAfee's junior, subsequently began a relationship, and married in 2013.

McAfee originally took up residence in Portland, Oregon in 2013.

In a 2012 article in Mensa Bulletin, the magazine of American Mensa, McAfee 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. When asked on another occasion if he personally uses McAfee's antivirus software, McAfee replied: "I take it off," and, "It's too annoying."

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

Since December 2018, McAfee has stated several times on Twitter that he has 47 biological children.

On February 8, 2020, McAfee claimed to reside in Lexington, Tennessee.

Legal issues

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

In January 2014, McAfee claimed that when the Belizean government raided his property it seized his assets, and that his house later burned down under suspicious circumstances.

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. Faull was a neighbor of McAfee's. In a November 2012 interview with Wired, 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. Belize's prime minister Dean Barrow called McAfee "extremely paranoid, even bonkers." McAfee fled Belize when he was sought for questioning concerning the murder.

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. While in Guatemala, McAfee asked Chad Essley, an American cartoonist and animator, to set up a blog so that McAfee could write about his experience while on the run. 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 afterward, he was placed under arrest and 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.

On December 6, 2012, Reuters and ABC News reported that McAfee had two minor heart attacks in a Guatemalan detention center and was hospitalized. McAfee's lawyer stated that his client had not suffered heart attacks, but had instead suffered from high blood pressure and anxiety attacks.

McAfee later said he had faked the heart attacks while being held in Guatemala, to buy time for his attorney to file a series of appeals that ultimately prevented his deportation to Belize, thus hastening the government's decision to send him back to the United States. On December 12, 2012, McAfee was released from detention in Guatemala and deported to the United States.

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.

On November 14, 2018, the Circuit Court in Orlando, Florida refused to dismiss a wrongful death lawsuit against McAfee for Faull's death.

In January 2019, McAfee announced that he was on the run from U.S. authorities and living internationally on a boat following the convening of a Grand Jury to indict him, his wife, and four of his 2020 Presidential campaign workers on tax-related charges. The IRS has not independently confirmed the existence of these charges.

In July 2019, McAfee and members of his entourage were arrested while his yacht was docked at Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, on suspicion of carrying high-caliber weapons and ammunition. They were held for four days before being released.

On August 11, 2020, McAfee fabricated a hoax that he was arrested in Norway during the COVID-19 pandemic after refusing to replace a lace thong with a more effective face mask. McAfee would later post a picture of himself to Twitter with a black eye, claiming that it occurred during this arrest. However, the photo of the alleged arrest shows an officer with the German word for "police" on their uniform, so it could not have been an arrest in Norway. The Augsburg Police later confirmed McAfee unsuccessfully attempted to enter Germany on that day, but wasn't arrested.

In the media

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. The documentary covers allegations of both the rape of McAfee's former business partner, Allison Adonizio, and the murders of Belizean David Middleton and American expat Gregory Faull. In an interview with Bloomberg's Pimm Fox and Kathleen Hayes on September 8, 2016, McAfee claimed that these incidents were fabricated, saying that "Belize is a third-world banana republic and you can go down there and make any story you want if you pay your interviewees, which Showtime did."

In March 2017, it was reported that Glenn Ficarra and John Requa would direct a film about McAfee titled King of the Jungle, with a script by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski. At various points, Johnny Depp, Michael Keaton, and Seth Rogen were reported to have been signed to roles in the film and later to have left the project. In November 2019, Zac Efron was reported to be starring in the film.

On May 12, 2017, McAfee was interviewed on ABC's 20/20 regarding the alleged murder of his neighbor, Greg Faull. McAfee's wife, Janice, was interviewed in the segment as well.

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 15 Aug 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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