The crazy life story of John McAfee, billionaire and creator of McAfee antivirus

The crazy life story of John McAfee, billionaire and creator of McAfee antivirus

Categories: Celebrities | History

On June 23, 2021, a prisoner named John McAfee hanged himself in his cell in a Spanish prison. The news of his death was published by the most famous newspapers and major news sites. Of course, the deceased was none other than the scandalous billionaire and programmer who once created the popular McAfee antivirus. However, in recent years his name has appeared more often in crime reports than in IT reviews.

The crazy life story of John McAfee, billionaire and creator of McAfee antivirus

John McAfee was born in 1945 in Ciderford, Gloucestershire, UK. His father was a chronic alcoholic and committed suicide when John was 15 years old. Despite the fact that it is difficult to call McAfee’s family prosperous, the boy studied well and dreamed of devoting his life to the exact sciences.

The crazy life story of John McAfee, billionaire and creator of McAfee antivirus

In 1967, young McAfee received a bachelor's degree in mathematics from a local college. After this, John got a job at a programming company. He was fascinated by a new specialty for that time and he actively began to master it.

Having gained some basic knowledge, McAfee moved to another company. There he wrote his first serious programs on an IBM computer. They were related to train schedules. In his new place, John became addicted to psychedelics, which greatly influenced his condition. The man lost interest in work and quit. He constantly insisted that his whole life was a hallucination and looked detached.

Soon McAfee moved to the United States. In a new place, the restless Briton began to change jobs one after another. He did not stay long anywhere, even in such a promising organization as NASA. In the late 60s, John decided to devote himself to science. He got a job teaching at the College of Philadelphia and even began writing a doctorate in mathematics. But the matter was never completed. McAfee began an affair with one of the students, after which he was miserably expelled from the educational institution.

The crazy life story of John McAfee, billionaire and creator of McAfee antivirus

John and his girlfriend moved to Silicon Valley. There the couple tied the knot, and the restless McAfee again began to change one job after another. In a short period of time, he managed to work at Siemens, General Electric, Xerox and Univac. He continued to get involved in drugs, aggravating his condition with heavy doses of alcohol. Moreover, he was not shy about resorting to “doping” even during working hours.

In the early 80s, life had serious challenges in store for John. First his wife left, tired of his inappropriate behavior, and then Omex fired him for drunkenness and use of illegal substances on the job. McAfee realized that he had reached rock bottom and decided to change his life. He signed up for Alcoholics Anonymous, and finally found the strength to overcome his addictions.

When the first Brain virus attacked computers around the world in 1986, John realized that malware would soon become commonplace and a cure would be needed. He joined forces with several developers and created the first antivirus VirusScan + McAfee.

The crazy life story of John McAfee, billionaire and creator of McAfee antivirus

For ordinary users, antivirus programs were free, but corporate customers had to pay. The product turned out to be successful and brought good money to the developers. John McAfee became rich and famous. He began to be invited to lectures and interviews, where the programmer talked about the dangers of computer viruses and ways to protect against them.

Soon the digital world was rocked by the Michelangelo malware. The virus penetrated computer memory, but did not manifest itself in any way. On the birthday of the Renaissance genius, he became active and destroyed all data on hard drives. The fight with Michelangelo brought McAfee millions of dollars. It now owned 67 percent of the global antivirus software market.

The crazy life story of John McAfee, billionaire and creator of McAfee antivirus

In 1994, John sold MacAfee to Intel for $100 million and began searching for himself again. He became interested in yoga, then began developing a messenger, then began collecting cars and airplanes. McAfee bought 9 mansions and filled them to the brim with works of art. All these undertakings greatly undermined the millionaire’s budget, and the 2008 crisis finished him off.

John had to sell real estate and his collections. Having somehow paid off his debts, he moved to Belize. This small country in Central America is famous for its pleasant climate and flexible tax system. There McAfee decided to go into pharmaceuticals and founded the company QuorumEx. The company specialized in the production of antibiotics of plant origin.

The crazy life story of John McAfee, billionaire and creator of McAfee antivirus

In addition, John opened many small businesses selling cigars and coffee, and also founded a water taxi company. McAfee hired several bodyguards and had guard dogs to guard his home. Soon the reason for the millionaire's caution became obvious. Along with medicines, John's company produced narcotic substances.

McAfee made enemies in the local drug dealers. He began to fight them, bribing the local police, who organized raids on competitors. But in 2012, law enforcement officers came to search John himself. He was accused not only of selling unlicensed medicines, but also of illegal weapons trafficking. By paying good lawyers and handing out hefty bribes, McAfee was able to get out.

But this was only a temporary lull. Just six months later, the body of John's neighbor was found, whom he accused of poisoning the dogs. Of course, suspicion fell on McAfee. The businessman hurried to leave Belize and moved to Guatemala. There he hid in abandoned houses, changed phone numbers and even hired a double. Fake John traveled to Mexico with a North Korean passport and was arrested there.

The crazy life story of John McAfee, billionaire and creator of McAfee antivirus

The millionaire himself dyed his hair and beard, but he was still recognized and sent to jail. Deportation to Belize and serious trouble awaited him. But McAfee skillfully feigned a heart attack, which gave his lawyer time to prepare for his defense. As a result, the extravagant millionaire was deported to the USA.

Having avoided prison once again, John settled in Miami and got married. His chosen one was the former black prostitute Janice. McAfee resumed his old ways and again rushed from one extreme to another. He worked on cryptocurrencies, gave lectures, and even tried to run for president.

The crazy life story of John McAfee, billionaire and creator of McAfee antivirus

In October 2020, John was arrested while on vacation in Spain. He was accused of hiding income, yachts, houses and cars, as well as $23 million in bitcoins. McAfee could well have received up to 30 years in prison for financial fraud. They were going to extradite him to the United States, but the man hanged himself in a cell in a Barcelona prison. He was 75 years old.

In 2019, he wrote on social networks that a conspiracy was brewing against him and that the “shadow government of the world” was eager to kill him. He repeatedly repeated that he was not going to take his own life: “If I commit suicide, then I didn’t do it. I was killed".

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