Who was John McAfee, the creator of the Antivirus

John McAfee passed away today at the age of seventy-five. The founder of the first commercial antivirus ended his life in the prison of Sant Esteve Sesrovies, Spain, where he had been conducted for several months now on charges of tax evasion launched by the United States. And while the Barcelona Court authorized his extradition to American territory, the businessman who was born in Cinderford, a charming town in England, was placing the last extreme gesture of his life. Made of successes and achievements, but also of scandals and indelible stains. In the last few hours, the news: McAfee committed suicide in his own cell.

The unregulated experience of the millionaire entrepreneur has its origins in family problems. The father , alcoholic and violent, took his own life when John McAfee was fifteen years old. But that hasn't stopped the programmer – who was born in England, but who has spent most of his life in the United States – from building a bright future. He enrolled at the university after completing the school period and in 1969 he obtained a degree in mathematics .

McAfee takes his first steps at university, obtaining the chair at Northeast Louisiana State College. But his career as a professor is interrupted by the first scandal: a sexual relationship with a student of his, who later became the first of the three wives (the last is Janise Dyson, known in 2012 and younger than thirty-seven years). However, this was not the only blemish on his CV: he was arrested for marijuana and repeatedly accused of abusing drugs and alcohol . The turning point came in the 1980s. After hanging out at Univac as a software designer and at Xeros – where he was in charge of system architectures – he was taken to work for Lockheed, an aerospace company in California. And here he comes into contact for the first time with “ Brain ”, a computer virus that made its way through the legendary floppy-disks and attacked IBM computers, infecting them. John McAfee revealed that he was delighted by the potential of the software: as he later recounted, the virulence with which the program attacked PCs reminded the entrepreneur of the abuses perpetrated by his father towards him and his mother.

John McAfee and the antivirus intuition

Hence the spark: first he devises a antivirus to defeat Brain, and then – in 1987 – he founded a company (the McAfee Associates ) that bears his name . And the success was resounding: in retrospect, a piece of the Internet is contained in the name of McAfee, the first antivirus to make its way onto the market with an incredible number of users. More than the installation numbers, the value of the shares of the company, multiplied in a short time until reaching – in just a handful of years – the considerable share of 80 million dollars.

John McAfee's hectic life, however, left no room for normality. With an unexpected move, the entrepreneur decided to take leave of his own creature (later absorbed by Intel in 2010), launching himself into other experiences: an instant messaging system, up to the point of founding a company having the purpose of producing antibiotics based on herbs. The business was moved in parallel to Belize, in Central America, where the entrepreneur moved in 2008.

Over the years, McAfee's career suffered a disastrous collapse, trapped by scandals that were ringing at the right pace: he was arrested for alleged illegal activities behind the antibiotic-producing company – the suspicion, in practice, is that instead of producing antibiotics, McAfee instead wanted attempting to conquer the methamphetamine market – and jailed for abusing a sixteen year old. Cleared for lack of evidence, he ends up at the center of an investigation for alleged murder of neighbor Gregory Faull. Hence the great flight to Guatemala and the arrest. But Belize did not get extradition, allowing the businessman to return on the loose. It was not long before another city change arrived: Portland in 2013 and Lexinton, Tennessee, the following year.

John McAfee has nominated twice as President of the United States of America , thus shifting his interest towards politics. And the program could not do anything but transversally touch information technology and in particular the need to protect the privacy of users, exposed to the elements of the web. At first he founded his party with the eloquent name of “Cyber”, and then moved on to the Liberal Party, where, however, he obtained only 8% of the votes in 2015. In 2017 the first documentary dedicated to the life of John McAfee debuted on Netflix, and last year the rumor had also spread of the landing (in fact denied by the factual reality) of the first smartphone created by the wealthy entrepreneur.

John McAfee's tax problems

The ambitions of becoming number one in the White House will, however, clash with the other scandals, which McAfee has unearthed as a result of a conspiracy and a plot for his candidacy. Between 2014 and 2018 the first troubles with the American tax authorities came, which accused the entrepreneur of a maxi-evasion worth millions of dollars.

The suspicions will be substantiated above all by the failure to submit the tax return in the four years contested. A consequence, according to the American authorities, of McAfee's fraudulent work, which allegedly ignored his earnings from investments in cryptocurrencies , but also of the possession of high value assets. And finally the further allegations of money laundering.

Grappling with justice, John McAfee tried to distance himself from local authorities by moving from one territory to another. However, he was “pinched” at Barcelona airport in last October and taken to prison in Spain. The United States asks for extradition and on June 23 the authorization granted by a court in Madrid also arrives. The suspicion is that McAfee's extreme decision is a natural consequence of the ruling issued yesterday. The last act to break free from the United States forever. However, one thing is certain: between genius and profound excessiveness, the name of John McAfee will remain engraved in the firmament of the web.