John David McAfee, a British-American computer programmer, businessman, and two-time presidential candidate, died on June 23, 2021. He ran unsuccessfully for the Libertarian Party’s candidacy for president of the United States in 2016 and 2020. He created the first anti-virus program for sale in 1987 and established McAfee Associates to market it. In 1994, he announced his resignation and sold the last of his firm stock. In later years, McAfee became into the business’s loudest critic, advising customers to uninstall the company’s antivirus software, which he referred to as “bloatware.” He criticized the corporation for continuing to promote itself using his name, despite a brief attempt at a corporate redesign under Intel ownership.
During the 2007–2008 financial crisis, McAfee’s fortunes drastically declined. After leaving McAfee Associates, he launched many businesses, including Future Tense Central, QuorumEx, and Tribal Voice, which developed the PowWow chat application. He also had executive positions at Everykey, MGT Capital Investments, and Luxcore. His interests in both his personal and professional life included light-sport aircraft, yoga, smartphone apps, bitcoin, and recreational drug use. He lived in Belize for a period, but in 2013—although still wanted in Belize for questioning on suspicion of murder—he left for the United States.
McAfee was detained in Spain in October 2020 on suspicion of American tax evasion. U.S. federal prosecutors filed criminal and civil accusations against McAfee on the basis of alleged four-year tax filing omissions. On June 23, 2021, not long after the Spanish National Court approved his extradition to the United States, he was discovered dead in his prison cell outside of Barcelona after what appeared to be a suicide by hanging. His passing sparked rumors and conspiracies about the likelihood that he was murdered. Janice McAfee, McAfee’s wife, stated that she did not think her husband committed suicide.
John McAfee Early life
McAfee was born on a U.S. Army installation (of the 596th Ordnance Ammunition Company) in Cinderford, Gloucestershire, England, on September 18, 1945, to an American father named Don McAfee who was stationed there and a British mother named Joan (Williams). McAfee was mostly brought up in Salem, Virginia, and his father was from Roanoke, Virginia. He claimed to feel equally British and American. When he was 15 years old, his father—whom a BBC columnist said to as “an abusive alcoholic”—shot himself to death. He struggled to understand why this was happening to him and had spent his entire childhood living in constant terror of being thrashed by his father.
McAfee graduated with a mathematics bachelor’s degree from Virginia’s Roanoke College in 1967. In 2008, the college bestowed an honorary Doctor of Science degree upon him. After earning his bachelor’s degree, McAfee enrolled in Northeast Louisiana State College to pursue a PhD in mathematics. However, he was dismissed in about 1968 due to a relationship with an undergraduate woman who would later become his first wife.
John McAfee Ventures
NASA, Univac, Xerox, CSC, Booz Allen and Lockheed
From 1968 to 1970, McAfee worked on the Apollo program as a programmer for NASA’s Institute for Space Studies in New York City. From there, he worked as a software designer for Univac and later as an operating system architect for Xerox. He started working as a software consultant for Computer Sciences Corporation in 1978. From 1980 to 1982, he was employed by the consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton. He learnt about the PC-based Brain computer virus in 1986 while working for Lockheed and was horrified by it.
He set out to develop antivirus software that could automatically identify and eliminate computer viruses after recognizing a potential opportunity. To market this program, which he called Virus Scan, McAfee established McAfee Associates Inc. in 1987. This was one of the first software programs to be distributed online and the first anti-virus program to be released on the market.
McAfee’s first goal was not to build a sizable customer base of paying customers, but rather to increase public awareness of the importance of being protected from computer viruses. However, he succeeded in making people fear such malware, which led to millions of sales; by 1990, he was earning $5,000,000 year. In 1992, the firm underwent its first public offering and was established in Delaware. McAfee left the company as chief executive in August 1993, but he stayed as chief technology officer. Bill Larson succeeded him. He eventually sold his remaining stock in the business in 1994. He was no longer involved in its management.
In August 2010, Intel purchased McAfee following a number of mergers and ownership changes. Intel declared that McAfee-related products would be sold as Intel Security in January 2014. Upon learning of the name change, McAfee voiced his happiness, saying, “I am now everlastingly grateful to Intel for freeing me from this terrible association with the worst software on the planet.” The company soon separated from Intel and resumed operating under the McAfee brand.
PowWow, QuoromEx, MGT and more
Other companies started by McAfee include Tribal Voice, which created PowWow, one of the first instant messaging apps. Prior to Zone Labs’ 2003 acquisition by Check Point Software, he made an investment in the company and joined the board of directors in 2000.
McAfee invested in and promoted aerotrekking, or ultra-light travel, in the 2000s.
According to a New York Times article from August 2009, McAfee’s personal wealth has fallen to $4 million from a peak of $100 million as a result of the financial crisis of 2007–2008’s effects on his investments.
During an interview with McAfee for the CNBC special The Bubble Decade in 2009 in Belize, it was revealed that he had purchased or invested in numerous houses in the USA that were left unsold when the worldwide recession of 2007 struck. His efforts to grow plants on his Belizean property for potential medical purposes were also covered in the paper.
The goal of McAfee’s Belize-based company QuorumEx, founded in February 2010, was to create herbal antibiotics that interfere with quorum sensing in bacteria.
On his YouTube account in June 2013, McAfee posted a parody video titled How to Uninstall McAfee Antivirus. In it, while sniffing white powder and being stripped by scantily clad ladies, he criticizes the antivirus software. Ten million people watched it. According to him, the purpose of the film was to make fun of the media’s scathing treatment of him. The remarks in the film were dubbed “ludicrous” by a McAfee Inc. spokesman. A secure computer network device named the D-Central was the goal of Future Tense Central, which McAfee founded in 2013. In 2016 it also served as an incubator.
Cognizant, a smartphone app that provides details about the permissions of other loaded applications, was introduced by McAfee in February 2014. It was renamed DCentral 1 in April 2014, and a free Android version was made available on Google Play.
In August 2014, at the DEF CON conference in Las Vegas, McAfee issued a warning against using cellphones, alleging that apps are used to spy on uninformed customers who fail to read privacy user agreements. He was appointed lead evangelist for security company Everykey in January 2016.
Instead of requiring Apple to create a backdoor, McAfee openly offered to decode the iPhone used by Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik in the San Bernardino shooting in February 2016. He eventually acknowledged that his statements about how simple it would be to crack the phone were only a promotional gimmick.
McAfee was named chairman and CEO of the technology holding company MGT Capital Investments in May 2016. It had originally announced that it would rebrand as John McAfee Global Technologies, but this plan was shelved because of a legal disagreement with Intel over ownership of the “McAfee” moniker. He shifted the focus of MGT from social gaming to cybersecurity, claiming that “anti-virus software is dead, it no longer works” and that “the new paradigm has to stop the hacker getting in” before he or she can cause harm.
The Android operating system bug that McAfee and his colleagues claimed to have discovered shortly after joining MGT allowed them to read WhatsApp conversations that were encrypted. Gizmodo looked into his allegation and found that, in order to carry out this hack, he had mailed reporters malware-infected phones. Of course the phones had malware on them, he retorted. We will share the tale after discussing with Google about how the malware got there. It involves a significant Android architecture problem.
McAfee pushed MGT into cryptocurrency mining in order to raise revenue for the business and the company’s proficiency with blockchain technology, which he believed was crucial for cybersecurity.
McAfee left his position as CEO in August 2017 and took on the role of “chief cybersecurity visionary” at MGT. He completely quit the organization in January 2018. Both parties said the breakup was amicable; he claimed he wanted to focus only on cryptocurrencies, while the business claimed it had been under pressure from possible investors to distance itself from him.
On August 13th, 2018, McAfee accepted the CEO post at Luxcore, a cryptocurrency business that specializes in business solutions.
John McAfee Politics
McAfee was a libertarian who supported decriminalizing marijuana, ending the war on drugs, avoiding foreign intervention, promoting free trade, and supporting a free market economy that does not redistribute wealth. He backed the Transportation Security Administration’s dissolution.
Increased cyberawareness and more action against the threat of cyberwarfare were promoted by McAfee. No one is forcing you to buy anything or to select one individual over another, he insisted, adding that business owners should be free to refuse service in situations that go against their religious convictions. Since I am not harming you, why should I be made to do anything? My decision to sell is your decision to purchase.
2016 presidential campaign
On September 8, 2015, McAfee officially declared his intention to run for president of the United States in the 2016 general election as the representative of the Cyber Party, a brand-new political party. He re-announced his campaign on December 24, 2015, claiming he will instead run for the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination. He routinely polled in the top two spots for the party, with Austin Petersen and Gary Johnson, during the election campaign. On March 29, 2016, the three took part in the Libertarian Party’s inaugural presidential debate that was broadcast nationwide. Judd Weiss, a commercial real estate broker, activist, and photographer, served as his running companion.
McAfee finished third at the 2016 Libertarian National Convention and second in the primary elections.
- Adam Kokesh, talk show host and activist
- John Moore, Nevada assemblyman
- L. Neil Smith, science fiction author and activist
2020 presidential campaign
McAfee tweeted on June 3, 2018, contrary to his claim made at the 2016 convention, that he will run for president again in 2020, either with the Libertarian Party or a different party he would establish. In the end, he decided to run as a libertarian. He mainly promoted the use of cryptocurrencies more widely.
On January 22, 2019, McAfee tweeted that he would continue his campaign “in exile,” in response to news that the IRS had indicted him, his wife, and four members of his campaign team for felony tax offenses. He claimed to be in “international waters” and had earlier tweeted that he was traveling to Venezuela. Regarding the supposed indictments, the IRS has made no comments. He disagreed with the chairman of the Libertarian National Committee, Nicholas Sarwark, who wrote, “I hear very little buzz about McAfee this time around… making a defense of Che Guevara from Cuba may ingratiate him with the Cuban government, but it didn’t resonate well with Libertarians.” He defended Communist revolutionary Che Guevara on Twitter.
On March 4, 2020, McAfee launched his bid for the vice presidential nomination of the Libertarian Party, stopped his 2020 presidential campaign, and supported Vermin Supreme. He resumed his presidential campaign the following day after having it suspended because “No one in the Libertarian Party Would consider me For Vice President.” The next month, he supported Adam Kokesh and ran for vice president while still vying for the presidency. He lost once more at the 2020 Libertarian National Convention, this time to Jo Jorgensen and Spike Cohen for the positions of vice president and president.
John McAfee Economic views
In 2019, McAfee asserted that he hadn’t filed a tax return since 2010, arguing that paying taxes was against the law. As “a prime target” of the Internal Revenue Service, he described himself.
McAfee stated on Twitter in July 2017 that the price of a bitcoin would increase to $500,000 in three years, adding, “If not, I will eat my own dick on national television.” He estimated that the cost will reach $1 million by the end of 2020 in July 2019. He claimed that his projections were “a ruse to onboard new users” in January 2020 and that bitcoin has little promise because it is “an ancient technology.”
John McAfee Legal issues
In a 2008 civil court dispute involving his Aerotrekking light-sport aircraft enterprise and the deaths of his nephew Joel Bitow and a passenger, McAfee was named as a defendant.
On April 30, 2012, the Gang Suppression Unit of the Belize Police Department conducted a raid on McAfee’s property in Orange Walk Town, Belize. He was detained for unauthorized drug production and unlicensed firearm possession, according to a GSU press release. He was let go without being charged.
McAfee was simply suspected, according to Raphael Martinez, spokesman for the Belize police department in 2012.
In January 2014, he claimed that his house burned down under mysterious circumstances after the Belizean government invaded his property and stole his valuables.
McAfee was detained on two counts: one for drunk driving and one for having a firearm while intoxicated on August 2, 2015, in Henderson County, Tennessee.
On suspicion of having high-caliber firearms and ammunition, McAfee and members of his entourage were detained in July 2019 while his yacht was berthed in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. After four days of detention, they were let go. According to the Public Ministry, weapons were seized.
On August 11, 2020, McAfee made a bogus claim that he was detained in Norway during the COVID-19 pandemic because he wouldn’t switch out a lace thong for a better face mask. He claimed the eye injury occurred during this arrest when he later shared a photo of himself with one. McAfee’s allegation that he was detained in Norway is refuted by the fact that the officer in the photo of the purported arrest had the term “police” written on his uniform in German. He attempted to enter Germany that day, according to the Augsburg police, but was not detained.
John McAfee Death of Gregory Faull
In connection with the homicide investigation involving American expat Gregory Viant Faull, who was discovered dead from a gunshot wound the previous day at his home on Ambergris Caye, the country’s largest island, Belize police started looking for McAfee on November 12, 2012.Faull was McAfee’s next-door neighbor. McAfee said in a recent interview with Wired that he avoided and refused to answer regular inquiries from police out of fear that they would kill him. He spent several hours with his head covered in a cardboard box while buried in the sand. Dean Barrow, the prime minister of Belize, described him as “extremely paranoid, even bonkers”. He left Belize instead of helping
Vice magazine unintentionally revealed McAfee’s whereabouts at a resort in Guatemala in December 2012 when a photo taken by a reporter who was with him was put online with the EXIF geolocation metadata still attached.
In order to write about his experience while on the run, McAfee requested American comic and animator Chad Essley to set up a blog while he was in Guatemala. He then made a public appearance in Guatemala City and unsuccessfully applied for political asylum.
He was detained on December 5, 2012, for entering Guatemala against the law. Soon later, the panel considering his request for asylum rejected it, and he was sent to a detention facility to await his deportation to Belize.
According to Reuters and ABC News, McAfee was hospitalized on December 6 after suffering two small heart attacks while being held in custody. His attorney claimed that he had high blood pressure and anxiety episodes rather than heart attacks. Later, McAfee said he made up the heart attacks to buy time for his lawyer to submit a number of appeals, finally stopping his deportation to Belize and speeding up that country’s decision to bring him back to the United States.
McAfee was released and sent back to the United States on December 12, 2012.
On November 14, 2018, the Circuit Court in Orlando, Florida, declined to throw out a wrongful death case against him related to the passing of Faull.
U.S. tax evasion charges and planned extradition
After a grand jury was convened to prosecute him, his wife, and four of his staff members for the 2020 Libertarian Party presidential primary on charges of tax evasion, McAfee made the announcement that he was on the run from American authorities and residing abroad on a yacht in January 2019. The existence of any such indictment had not been independently verified by the Internal Revenue Service at the time.
On October 5, 2020, McAfee was detained in Spain for tax evasion at the request of the US Department of Justice. He was charged in a June indictment, which was made public after his detention, with failing to file income tax returns while allegedly earning millions of dollars between 2014 and 2018.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a complaint on October 6 alleging further that McAfee and his bodyguard had promoted certain initial coin offerings (ICOs) in a dishonest pump and dump scam using cryptocurrencies. While promoting the ICOs, it is alleged that he represented himself as an unbiased investor despite allegedly receiving $23 million in digital assets in exchange.
The Southern District of New York U.S. Attorney’s Office publicly indicted him and an executive adviser on these allegations on March 5, 2021.
While awaiting extradition to the United States, McAfee was imprisoned in Spain.
The Spanish National Court granted McAfee’s extradition to Tennessee on June 23, 2021, but he is believed to have killed himself a few hours later. A lower Spanish court was still hearing the New York extradition case.
John McAfee Personal life
McAfee had three marriages. He initially met Fran when she was an undergraduate student at Northeast Louisiana State College, age 18, and he was pursuing a doctorate. This was around 1968. He was expelled from the college as a result of their romance. Around 1987, he wed Judy, an ex-flight attendant for American Airlines; they split up in 2002. McAfee slept with Janice Dyson, a prostitute at the time who was 30 years younger than him, the night after he landed in the country after being deported from Guatemala in December 2012. They started dating and were married in 2013. She says he shielded her from traffickers.
In 2013, the pair relocated to Portland, Oregon.
The first commercial antivirus program’s creator, McAfee, claimed in a 2012 article in Mensa Bulletin, the American Mensa’s journal, that his creation had made him “the most popular hacking target” and that “[h]ackers see hacking me as a badge of honor.” He said that for his personal cybersecurity, he had others purchase his computer equipment, set up computers and logins using pseudonyms, and frequently changed his IP address. On another occasion, when questioned about using McAfee’s antivirus program, he responded, “I take it off it’s too annoying.”
He lived in Lexington, Tennessee, in 2015. He tweeted that he had “47 genetic children” in December 2018. In a Father’s Day tribute, his third wife referred to him as “father of many, loved by few.”
John McAfee Death
Hours after the Spanish National Court ordered his extradition to the United States in response to criminal accusations brought in Tennessee by the United States Department of Justice Tax Division, McAfee was discovered dead in his cell on June 23, 2021. According to the Catalan Justice Ministry, “everything indicates” that he committed himself by hanging. His suicide was confirmed by an official autopsy.
The notion that McAfee was murdered sparked rumors and conspiracies after his passing. Specifically, John McAfee’s tweet from 2019 that read, “If I committed suicide, I didn’t. I got whacked. fostered rumors that McAfee’s demise might not have been a suicide. The circumstances of McAfee’s death have been compared to those of American businessman Jeffrey Epstein, who was discovered dead in August 2019 while awaiting prosecution on sex trafficking allegations.
Similar to McAfee, Epstein’s official cause of death was determined to be suicide, although many believe that he was actually murdered. McAfee repeatedly asserted that if he were ever discovered hanging, it would prove that he had been murdered. His attorney informed reporters the day after his passing that although he frequently spoke with McAfee while he was incarcerated, there were no indications of suicide intent. In her first public remarks following her husband’s passing, McAfee’s widow repeated this viewpoint and urged for a “thorough” probe.
A Spanish court determined on February 13, 2022, that McAfee committed suicide.
John McAfee In the media
A Showtime Networks documentary titled Gringo: The Dangerous Life of John McAfee explores the time McAfee spent living in Belize. In September 2016, it premiered. It includes accusations that he murdered Gregory Faull and David Middleton, two Americans living abroad, and raped Allison Adonizio, his former business partner. He said that these instances weren’t true and 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 an interview with Bloomberg’s Pimm Fox and Kathleen Hayes on September 8, 2016.
According to reports from March 2017, Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski would pen the screenplay for the McAfee biopic King of the Jungle, which would be directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa. Seth Rogen, Michael Keaton, and Johnny Depp were all said to have joined the project at various points and then left. According to reports, Zac Efron will play journalist Ari Furman starting in November 2019.
In relation to the alleged murder of Faull, McAfee and his wife were interviewed on ABC News’ 20/20 on May 12, 2017.
The aforementioned film Running With the Devil: The Wild World of John McAfee included interviews with Rocco Castoro, Alex Cody Foster, and Robert King as well as clips from an unreleased Vice documentary.
John McAfee Trivia
born in Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, on a facility for the American military. Englishwoman Joan Ellen (Williams) was his mother. Don Harold McAfee, his father, was American. John spent much of his childhood in Salem, Virginia. When McAfee was 15 years old, his father killed himself with a self-inflicted gunshot.
“McAfee Anti-Virus” founder.
Author Philip K. Dick is a favorite.
He graduated with a mathematics bachelor’s degree from Roanoke College in 1967, and in 2008 the college bestowed upon him an honorary Sc.D.
unsuccessfully ran for president of the United States in 2016 and 2020 under the Libertarian Party.
After leaving McAfee Associates, he launched many businesses, including Future Tense Central, QuorumEx, and Tribal Voice, which developed the PowWow chat application. He also had executive positions at Everykey, MGT Capital Investments, and Luxcore.
What is the story behind John McAfee?
In his adult life, McAfee began working as a programmer for NASA. He then founded his own business, which Intel acquired for a cool $7 billion. Although he remained sober during that period of his life, Running with the Devil starts when he eventually succumbed to drugs, drink, and a life of hedonism.
Was John McAfee a billionaire?
American technology entrepreneur John McAfee had a $4 million fortune at the time of his passing. As the creator and CEO of the antivirus software company McAfee, he initially rose to fame and fortune. John McAfee was valued over $100 million at the height of his software business.
What did the owner of McAfee do?
McAfee spent several years in Belize after leaving McAfee Associates, but in 2013 he came back to the United States. McAfee was detained in Spain in October 2020 on suspicion of American tax evasion. On June 23, 2021, he was discovered dead in his jail cell in Barcelona after what appeared to be a suicide.
Who is the owner of McAfee?
USA, San Jose, California, 1987 as McAfee Associates, Inc. In February 2011, Intel acquired the business, and it was added to the Intel Security group. In 2017, Intel and TPG Capital entered into a strategic partnership that transformed Intel Security into McAfee, a joint venture between the two businesses.
Why did John McAfee run away?
After his neighbor Gregory Faull was discovered dead from a gunshot wound on November 11, 2012, John McAfee first fled the country. McAfee, a person of interest in the investigation, was sought after by the police.
Is Running with the Devil Based on a true story?
‘Running with the Devil’ on Netflix is based on the true story of a programmer who became a fugitive. Running with the Devil: The Wild World of John McAfee, a new Netflix documentary, must be seen to be believed. And you might not believe it even after you see it.
When was John McAfee hiding?
McAfee’s neighbor in Belize, with whom he had a history of disagreements, was shot and died in 2012. After leaving the nation right away, McAfee was found hiding in Guatemala after a Vice piece about him failed to delete the location information from a published picture of him.
How much did John McAfee owe?
According to Spanish court records that were made public last week, he owes the US government more than $4.2 million in taxes. Separately, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged McAfee with promoting investments in initial coin offerings while failing to disclose that he was compensated more than $23 million to do so.
Is McAfee owned by Microsoft?
After being acquired by Intel in 2011, McAfee is now a part of the Intel Security division. Windows Defender, formerly known as Microsoft Security Essentials, is a completely integrated component of the Windows 8/8.1/10 operating system and is a proprietary antivirus and malware protection program from Microsoft.