John McAfee. His life, his death, and the storm his death causes.

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Why I write this, and what I intend to have produced in the end.

John McAfee has been controversial throughout his life and continues to be even more so in death. As a follower of his work, and later more and more of John himself, I've kept up with the eventful life he led and the strange relationship he had with the media and the public. His claimed suicide, but even more, the storm that came from, lead me to write down as much as I could remember about him and look into the phenomenon he was, as well as how much and what is true of the things flying around the internet and what is not.

Waaaw, This is going to take a lot of serious work!

Even just writing about the things that are pretty much commonly accepted as fact about the man is turning out to be a massive undertaking and spawning a huge article. But as the man does deserve to have at least some of to put in the work and effort to get it right, I decided not to go the route many have taken by just mentioning the highlights and focussing on the sensational bits that grab the attention (and clicks) of the masses on the internet. I'm trying to give the full picture of John McAfee. And only then will I address the more exciting and mysterious aspects of his life, the stupidity that goes around the net, and if we will have heard the last of John McAfee or not.

I think we owe him at least that much!

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So, what happened then?

John McAfee, the founder of the antivirus and security software company that bears his name, has died on June 23rd in his prison cell in Sant Esteve Sesrrovires, Spain. His lawyer stated he has committed suicide by hanging on the day the Tribunal Suprema, the Spanish Supreme Court, approved his extradition to the United States of America.

The news caused an uproar on and off the internet, with videos of McAfee specifically stating that if he was ever found dead having committed suicide “(...)he didn’t do it.”.

Are you going to need your tinfoil for this one?

On his Instagram account, a post containing a large Q was posted, apparently, after he was already dead, which has fanned the flames of conspiracy theories involving John McAfee into a true inferno. Many theories attempting to link McAfee to Jeffry Epstein who died in a prison cell, with authorities ruling his death to be suicide by hanging as well. The circumstances of Epstein’s death also lead to many theories circulating over the Internet, many of which still have numerous believers.

Ok, I promise there will be conspiracy theories debunked in the end! But first..

How did his life begin?

John McAfee’s life has been, to say the least, remarkable, and has gained him many supporters as well as detractors. Born on a US military base in Cinderford, in the South of England’s county Glauchester. His father was an American stationed there, and his mother was British. He grew up in the US, in the City of Roanoke in the state of Virginia. He also got his bachelor's degree in Mathematics, at Roanoke College, in 1967.

His early professional life would be enough for most to proudly tell their grandchildren about.

From 1968 to 1970 he worked as a programmer for NASA and several other large companies.

Later, in 1981, he founded Interpath Inc, the company that developed the world’s first commercial speech recognition system.

Later in the 1980s, he worked at Lockheed when his computer got infected with the computer virus known as (c)Brain, which lead him to develop anti-virus software to remove the virus and protect computers from being infected by computer viruses. He went on developing more software to combat viruses and was the first to spread his antivirus software through the “Shareware” principle.

What he became most famous for.

In 1987 he left Lockheed and started his own company “McAfee Associates, from his home in Santa Clara California.

The antivirus software company that lead the way for a while.

Soon the company became the market leader in the anti-virus business, and the company name changed to “Network Associates”. This lasted for 7 years after which the name was changed back into “McAfee”.

The company has had an eventful history throughout its existence, taking over companies as well as being taken over its self, most notably by Intel for a while, and is still active today in the development of antivirus software.

McAfee without McAfee

McAfee left the company in 1994 and has since expressed himself critically regarding the company, even urging consumers to uninstall the company’s anti-virus software, which he called bloat-ware.

McAfee the greatest critic of McAfee!

When the company was acquired by Intel in 2010 and renamed “Intel Security”, John McAfee stated

"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."

This was despite the companies products continued to carry his name. Later the company returned to public ownership under its original name.

So McAfee was more than just the anti-virus guy?

After he left McAfee Associates he founded Tribal Voice (who created PowWow, a chat program), QuoremEx, and Future Tense Central (among others) and had leadership positions in many other companies and ventures.

His interest during that time, both personal and business, included Smartphone apps, cryptocurrency, yoga, light aircraft, and recreational drug use. He spent a few years living in Belize but returned to the US in 2013 as the Belize authorities wanted him for questioning in relation to a murder investigation. More on that later, I promise.

Wasn't McAfee ridiculously rich?

John’s financial life has been eventful as much as his professional and personal life has been. In 2007 his wealth was calculated to be over $100 million but during the 2007-2008 financial crisis much of that wealth was lost.

In 2009 the New York times reported not more than $4 million was left of his fortune. McAfee himself explained that his losses were due to his investment in and construction of mansions in the USA that went unsold in the ‘07/’08 financial crisis.

Even then the media took an interest in John McAfee

In the same report, part of the CNBC special “The Bubble Decade” for which McAfee gave an interview in Belize he discussed his quest to produce plants that had medicinal use on his land in Belize.

This quest lead to the founding of the QuoremEx company which aimed to produce herbal antibiotics that could cause “Quorum sensing disruption in bacteria”

Wait, was McAfee a Youtuber? Yes, he certainly was!

One of the most well-known “media appearances” was a viral Youtube video he uploaded in 2013 on his own channel called “How to uninstall McAfee Antivirus” in which he criticized the companies anti-virus software, being stripped by women who wore…. Little. He also snorted white powder in the video and later stated that he intended to ridicule the way the media covered him negatively all the time. McAfee Inc’s spokesman was reported to call the video statements “Ludacris”.

He continued to look for business opportunities that also contributed to privacy and security.

The company Future Tense Central which McAfee founded in 2013 aimed to develop a secure computer network device (D-Central) but also functioned as an Incubator for startups, providing startups with everything they needed to successfully get their ventures off and running.

What? Cognizant? Why isn't this a standard feature in Android yet?

In 2014 an app for smartphones that displayed information about the permissions of other apps was announced by McAfee called Cognizant which got released for free on Google Play under the name D-Central 1.

DefCon 22. Yes, John was popular among the hacked scene!

Later that year, at DefCon (hacker conference in Las Vegas, Nevada) John held a keynote speech, as the covert keynote speaker, not revealing his identity until 48 hours before the conference. The heightened security arrangement by that time was needed due to his reputation for being a whistle-blower on the corruption and crimes of Mexican Cartels that involved the government of Belize. He was also very outspoken on issues relating to global privacy. Shortly before the keynote address, McAfee expressed how honored he felt to be asked to keynote DefCon 22:

According to John himself:

“I am sincerely and deeply honored to be asked to keynote Defcon 22 Skytalks”

He went on to state that

“I believe that the world needs the collective talents of these individuals now more than ever. Our fundamental right to privacy is being eroded at an alarming rate by invasive and misappropriated technology, and as privacy is diminished, so are our freedoms. We must take a stand now and join forces, or I fear this erroneous turn will soon become irreversible.”

which many regards as prophetic in hindsight.

DefCon 22 announcement by John

He also announced the launch of a website where everybody and anyone could file complaints about everything and anything. Those filing the complaint would get tips and suggestions for solutions to the problems while the complaints were delivered to the organizations involved or relevant. He voiced the hope that the site would generate rapid responses and motivate a revolution, promising to keep the complaints online forever.


Hold on, back up a bit. What was with all the secrecy and security?

At that time John was living in seclusion under heavy protection after Belize authorities suspected him of the murder of his neighbor Gregory Faull. John believed or claimed to believe that the murder had been a blundered hit attempt on him by assassins. The flight from the authorities lead him to change his appearance and hide in the Belize Jungle with his girlfriend for weeks.

He managed to cross the border into Guatemala only to get arrested by Guatemalan immigration officials for entering the country illegally. Guatemala subsequently deported John, not to Belize but to the USA. John spent a lot of time in court after that but still found time to launch some projects like School of Badass and the site he announced at DefCon “Brownlist”

Are you saying that's all there's to that story in Beliz and Guatemala?

No, but we're not at the part where who said what and what was true or not comes into the story. We're getting there, but John deserves us to do this right. I'm trying to paint the picture of what he was like and what happened with a gradient rising level of wtf. The way I learned about him over the years, bit by bit, asking "really?" more and more. Just indulge me a little bit longer okay?

So I was talking about the site he announced. It was online pretty soon!

The site got filled quickly with anything from girlfriends complaining about their boyfriends to unethical employment practices in Qatar.

But as with much that John did, it somehow drifted out of the public eye.

In 2016 McAfee publicly offered to decrypt the iPhones of two terrorists that killed 14 and injured 22 others in their attack before being shot dead by authorities. He claimed to want to prevent Apple to need to build a backdoor into their software or hardware. Some claim he later admitted his boasting of how easy it would be to decrypt the iPhones for publicity but did have the ability to do it.

And this is where the fun begins!

What? Do I look like Anakin?

No, this is the point that both my eyes, my brain, and my fingers started hurting. I'm going to take a break and then finish the article. Including all the sense, nonsense and the bat shit crazy. Because there are things that need to be checked, things that need to be addressed, and things that cannot be allowed to be covered up. But let me give you a teaser of the bat-shit things:

There was no tweet from John stating that he had a 32GB harddrive stashed away in the collapsed apartment building in Surfside! Just two tweets, one about spaceflight and Bazos and another about not being in the best of moods and the ramblings of an old man. But I am sure most of you heard about and believed in that tweet!!!!

So thanks for reading, give a guy a like if you like, and as always:

Stay safe and stay happy!

To be continued in Part II

@AnonSunamun

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2 years ago

Comments

I think his life, from start to finish sounds like a fiction book I'd like to read.

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2 years ago

His life has been one no fiction writer could have imagined. And the story might not be over yet! Check out part II and you'll get an incling of what i mean.

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2 years ago

According to all I've read and heard about late John McAfee, he was an incredible man who came up with beneficial ideas for the users, he doesn't seem like someone who will take his own life for no cause. I await the concluding part sir.

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2 years ago

Oh, I was hoping you will write everything here

John has an incredible reputation with his ability to Program and come up with softwares that helps end-users

I do not know if the claims about his death are true but owing from the story of his life as you have described, I do not see him as a sadist nor someone who would kill another nor take his own life

I hope to be notified about the completion of this story, I really want to read the full gist

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2 years ago

Well, i can promise you that by tomorrow i'll have pretty much covered in part II!

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2 years ago

I will look forward to it

I have already subscribed to you, so I am pretty sure I won't miss the notification

See you tomorrow, sir

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2 years ago