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Author Topic: Girls, drugs and cyber security: the strange life of John McAfee  (Read 3374 times)

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Girls, drugs and cyber security: the strange life of John McAfee

When times got tough, John McAfee put on his running shoes.

He's been called everything from "charismatic" to "the paranoid wild man" of the computer security industry to downright "bonkers".
There was that time he illegally fled Belize authorities to Guatemala after his neighbour was shot dead, believing the assassin may have been after him instead.

Then there was that YouTube video where he instructed viewers how to uninstall McAfee Antivirus (now called Intel Security) – the world-first software he created but is now no longer associated with – and pretended to snort cocaine out of a novelty straw while hookers undressed him.

John McAfee is coming to Australia in September.

Sixty-nine-year-old IT security pioneer John McAfee claims he doesn't court attention, it "just seems to follow" him. But he does not shy away from controversy, and is a firm believer in the phrase "there's no such thing as bad publicity".

"If you're caught eating small children and you handle it properly, a year from now people will forget the fact that you're eating small children but they'll remember your name," McAfee told Fairfax Media ahead of a trip to Australia in September as the international keynote speaker for the Lawtech Summit & Awards on the Gold Coast.

"There's something insane about the social aspect of humankind so I don't concern myself with the negativity or positivity of my publicity; I just concern myself with 'did they spell my name right?' and 'are the facts correct?'."

But it's hard to tell what's fact and what's fiction when it comes to the life story of one of the more mysterious millionaires out there.
Born in Scotland (his surname is pronounced with an emphasis on the "Mac") and raised in the United States, McAfee got a science degree before taking a string of computer programming jobs at places such as NASA, Xerox and Lockheed.

McAfee is candid about having been a serious narcotics abuser in his younger days, describing himself as "the worst drug abuser on the planet" who "took drugs constantly, 24 hours of the day" for "years and years". He claims he went to Alcoholics Anonymous in 1983 and "that was the end of it".
In the late 1980s, while at Lockheed, McAfee got his hands on what is believed to have been the first computer virus in the world, and promptly set about creating the first commercial anti-virus software company, McAfee Associates.

The millions started flowing in, but he lost much of his fortune during the global financial crisis.

McAfee sold his stake in the cyber security empire he founded, and embarked on a sea change to a tropical island in Belize.
Then things got weird.

McAfee stood out among the locals. He had tatts, several pet dogs and would casually go into town flanked by armed bodyguards. There were stories of endless strings of young women arriving by boat for weekends of debauchery. By now the flamboyant character was also harbouring an unbridled passion for yoga.

At one point, police raided McAfee's property on the suspicion he was running a meth lab. They charged him with illegal gun possession, but not with cooking illegal drugs.

Then McAfee's dogs were mysteriously poisoned. The next day his neighbour was found shot dead.
Police came to question McAfee, so he reportedly did what any sensible person would do in the same situation: buried himself in the sand with a cardboard box over his head so he could breathe. At this time, despite claiming not to be an attention-seeker, McAfee was actively reaching out to a reporter at Wired magazine.

Though he was apparently never a suspect in his neighbour's death — authorities merely wanted to chat to him about the case — McAfee fled to Guatemala, prompting the bemused Belize Prime Minister to label him "paranoid and bonkers".
While detained in Guatemala, McAfee claims he faked two heart attacks to buy time so his lawyer could get him extradited back to the US, rather than to Belize, where he feared authorities would kill him.

Now living in Lexington, Tennessee, McAfee is married with an expanding entourage of dogs: two pit bulls, a Komondor and a "very strange dog" that's part German shepherd, part cocker spaniel and part "god knows what". He's about to get a fifth.
Things appear quieter for him these days … but not too quiet.

Just weeks ago, McAfee was arrested while driving under the influence of anti-anxiety medication Xanax. He claimed it was a new prescription and that he didn't know it wouldn't mix well with being behind the wheel.

He's now three weeks into filming a documentary series about himself with Billy Corben, who directed the 2006 film Cocaine Cowboys.
But if you're hoping to see McAfee's past indiscretions on the small screen, you may be disappointed.

"Number one, it is the real life of John McAfee," he said, but added that Corben was "a very forward thinking director".
"It's more about what I'm doing with my life right now than what happened in the past," he said.

So no drug dens, strippers and running from the law?
"I hope not, but I can't rule it out," he said.

"He's [Corben] the director, after all."
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I do not condone or support any illegal activities. All information is for theoretical discussion and wonder.
All activities discussed are considered fictional and hypothetical. Information of all discussion has been derived from online research and in the spirit of personal Freedom.


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