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John McAfee - Biography

Sept. 19, 2017, 11:27 a.m.

John McAfee is an information security pioneer who founded the global computer security software company McAfee. A highly influential figure in the field of computer security, he is a world renowned expert on internet surveillance, global hacking scandals and threats, and personal privacy online. Born to an English woman and an American soldier in the 1940s, McAfee endured a difficult childhood. His father was an abusive alcoholic who committed suicide when John was 15 years old. In spite of his troubled childhood he proved to be a good student. However, he too became addicted to alcohol and drugs, and was prone to wild, eccentric behavior. He was working on his PhD when he got thrown out of the college for having a sexual relationship with a student he mentored. He later found a job as a programmer at NASA's Institute for Space Studies in New York City. A brilliant man, he easily found jobs at reputed organizations despite his bizarre behavior and addictions. After a series of jobs he put his entrepreneurial skills to good use and founded McAfee Associates, a computer anti-virus company which he later sold. His other business ventures include Tribal Voice and QuorumEx. In September 2015, he announced that he will run for the 2016 U.S. presidential election as a member of the newly-formed Cyber Party.

 

Childhood & Early Life

  • John McAfee was born on September 18, 1945, in the United Kingdom, to an English mother and an American father. His father was serving as a soldier in the World War II when he met his mother. Later on his father started working as a road surveyor. His parents moved to Roanoke, Virginia, when he was young.
  • He had a difficult childhood as his father was an abusive alcoholic. Things took a turn for the worse when his father shot himself dead when John was 15. This incident would haunt John forever.
  • Deeply affected by the problems in his family, he started drinking and taking drugs. John was also naturally brilliant so he managed to excel academically inspite of his addictions.
  • He received his bachelor's degree in mathematics from Roanoke College in 1967. He was later on accepted into the Northeast State Louisiana State College for his PhD in mathematics. However, his degree was terminated because of his unacceptable sexual behavior.

 

Career

  • McAfee was a highly intelligent young man with an uncanny knack for programming. Because of his excellent skills and knowledge he was able to get jobs in reputed organizations in spite of his drug addiction and alcoholism.
  • He found work as a programmer at NASA's Institute for Space Studies in New York City in 1968. After working there for a couple of years he moved to Univac to work as a software designer.
  • In the mid-1970s he was employed as an operating system architect at Xerox. He then joined Computer Sciences Corporation as a software consultant in 1978.
  • From 1980 to 1982 he worked for the consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton. Throughout this period he remained addicted to alcohol and drugs and that could be one of the reasons he was unable to find stability in any job.
  • His drug dependency grew by the day and by 1983 the problem had become too severe. He was working for Omex and was often found drinking and taking drugs in his office. His employers were very angry at his irresponsible behavior and they fired him. This was the wakeup call McAfee so desperately needed to sober up. He joined Alcoholics Anonymous and has been clean ever since.
  • He was then employed by the defence contractor Lockheed Martin, where he worked on a classified voice-recognition program. It was here that he learned about a self-replicating code designed to copy itself on to any floppy disk inserted into affected computers. Such a code was called a “Virus”.
  • He started developing software to combat viruses as he intuitively sensed that the menace of viruses would grow manifold in the coming years. He went on to found his own computer anti-virus company McAfee Associates in 1987.
  • By 1989 he had quit his job at Lockheed and devoted himself wholeheartedly to his fast growing business. The threat of viruses increased worldwide and soon McAfee became a multi-million dollar business. During the mid-1990s John McAfee sold off his stake in the business.
  • In the mid-1990s he founded Tribal Voice, a company which developed the instant messaging program, PowWow. His other business ventures include QuorumEx and Future Tense Central.
  • In September 2015, he announced that he would run for the office of U.S. President in the 2016 presidential election as a member of the newly-formed Cyber Party.
     

Major Works

  • Besides the controversies surrounding the life of this self-proclaimed “eccentric millionaire”, John McAfee is best known as the founder of the computer anti-virus company McAfee Associates which became a multi-million dollar business within years of its formation. He later sold the company and invested the proceeds in other ventures.

 

Personal Life & Legacy

  • John McAfee is twice married. His first wife was Judy who left him in the early 1980s unable to cope with his drug addiction and drinking problems. He is currently married to Janice Dyson.
  • He has been involved with several other women as well. His past relationship with former teenage prostitute Amy Emshwiller has received considerable media coverage.

 

 



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