John McAfee Biography

(Computer Programmer and Businessman Who Wrote the First Commercial Anti-Virus Software)

Birthday: September 18, 1945 (Virgo)

Born In: Cinderford, Gloucestershire, England

John McAfee was a British-American information security pioneer who founded the global computer security software company McAfee. A highly influential figure in the field of computer security, he was a world renowned expert on internet surveillance, global hacking scandals and threats, and personal privacy. 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. He unsuccessfully sought the Libertarian Party nomination in the 2016 and 2020 US Presidential elections..

Quick Facts

Also Known As: John David McAfee

Died At Age: 75


Spouse/Ex-: Janice Dyson, Judy McAfee

Born Country: England

Quotes By John McAfee CEOs

Height: 6'0" (183 cm), 6'0" Males

Died on: June 23, 2021

place of death: Pau, France

Notable Alumni: Roanoke College

Cause of Death: Suicide By Hanging

Grouping of People: Philologist

Ancestry: British American

Founder/Co-Founder: McAfee

More Facts

education: Roanoke College

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, his father worked 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.

John McAfee received his bachelor's degree in mathematics from Roanoke College in 1967. He was later accepted into the Northeast State Louisiana State College for his PhD in mathematics. However, his degree was terminated because of his unacceptable sexual behavior.

Continue Reading Below

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 despite 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 got employment 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 became sober thereafter.

He was then employed by the famous 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, John McAfee founded Tribal Voice, a company which developed the instant messaging program, PowWow. His other business ventures include QuorumEx and Future Tense Central.

Continue Reading Below

According to a report published in August 2009 in The New York Times, McAfee's personal fortune had declined to $4 million from $100 million due to the financial crisis of 2007–2008.

After various ownership changes, McAfee was acquired by Intel in August 2010, and Intel announced in January 2014 that they would they would market McAfee-related products as Intel Security.

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.

In February 2014, John McAfee announced a smartphone app, Cognizant. The name of the app was, however, later changed to DCentral 1 and it was released for free on Google Play.

Major Works

Besides the controversies surrounding the life of this self-proclaimed “eccentric millionaire”, John McAfee was 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 & Death

John McAfee was 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 later married Janice Dyson.

He was involved with several other women as well. His past relationship with former teenage prostitute Amy Emshwiller received considerable media coverage.

On June 23, 2021, John McAfee was found dead in his Barcelona prison cell, a few hours after the Spanish National Court ordered his extradition to the United States on criminal charges filed by the US Justice Department’s tax division.

Recommended Lists:

See the events in life of John McAfee in Chronological Order

How To Cite

Article Title
- John McAfee Biography
- Editors,

People Also Viewed

Elon Musk Biography
Elon Musk
Mark Zuckerberg Biography
Mark Zuckerberg
Bill Gates Biography
Bill Gates
Jeff Bezos Biography
Jeff Bezos
Sundar Pichai Biography
Sundar Pichai
Larry Page Biography
Larry Page
Steve Ballmer Biography
Steve Ballmer
Jamie Dimon Biography
Jamie Dimon