Almost a myth has developed around the person John McAfee. But how did the IT giant actually become a conspiracy theorist and criminal?

    Drugs, guns, prostitutes, fraud, tax evasion and suspected murder. That doesn’t sound like the story of a man who once developed the first commercially successful anti-virus program. In fact, that’s how it is, because it’s the story of John McAfee.

    John McAfee’s life got off to a turbulent start. He was born a few months after the end of World War II in September 1945 at a US military base in Scotland. A short time later, his family begins a new life in the USA. John McAfee grew up as an only child. His alcoholic father makes life hell for little John. Intoxicated by alcohol, his father tends to violent excesses and beats his wife and child. When John McAfee was 15, his father took his own life. A shock and at the same time an end to fear and violence.

    The youth blossoms. After school, John McAfee begins studying mathematics and computer science. His IT passion finally seems to put the young man on the right path. Like many young people, John McAfee is drawn to the promised land, Silicon Valley. And his career is picking up speed. His employers include General Electric, Lockheed, Xerox, Siemens, IBM and NASA. He worked as a programmer for the US space agency in the late 1960s. John McAfee witnesses the race to the moon and is part of the Apollo project team.

    A virus and its consequences

    After various positions as a software expert in various companies, in 1986 he was annoyed by Brain, a virus that caused quite a stir on MS-DOS computers, including John McAfee’s computer. The IT genius feels challenged and starts programming. A year later he presented the first commercially usable antivirus protection program. At the same time, the software expert founded the company McAfee.

    The company founder sells the program of the same name as a shareware model; users can initially use it free of charge. After the trial period, a fee is then due to use the program permanently. John McAfee also benefits from the mass spread of computers, the beginning of the Internet age and people’s carelessness in dealing with the new medium.

    At the beginning of the 1990s the Software McAfee for antivirus protection. John McAfee, developer and company founder, rises to become a multi-millionaire. If the story ended here, it would make enough material for a Hollywood blockbuster with a predictable storyline: the story of a man who built a software empire.

    However, John McAfee decides against a life that resembles a cheesy climber story. It remains unclear to this day whether it was a conscious decision or whether the terrible images from his childhood never let go of him. In any case, something must have happened sometime in the 1990s that led to a dramatic change in his lifestyle.

    John McAfee says goodbye to the software scene

    In 1994, John McAfee retired from his company. Three years later, the company founder sells all shares. His net worth is estimated at over $100 million. In the episode, John McAfee devotes himself to things that he enjoys. He works as a yoga teacher and writes several books about it. He also loves aerotrekking, flying at low altitudes in an ultralight aircraft. He also invests a large part of his wealth in real estate.

    From 2007 onwards, this leads to an enormous loss of capital. John McAfee loses almost his entire fortune as a result of the global financial crisis. Suddenly, rumors about drugs and underage prostitutes surface. But John McAfee still seems to have his life under control.

    The former IT genius buys a house in Belize, a state on the east coast of Central America. Belize is a popular destination for Americans who want to make themselves invisible.

    But the exact opposite happens. John McAfee attracts attention – and more and more often unpleasantly. Allegedly, he pays bribes to the local police. His property is guarded by men whom he is said to have described as “killers”. Drug rumors about him are also piling up.

    Murder suspicion and subsequent escape

    In public, John McAfee is increasingly portraying an extremely disturbed man who appears to be suffering from paranoid delusions. The situation escalated in April 2012. A special unit of the Belizean police stormed John McAfee’s property. The suspicion: The former programmer has now switched to the drug dealer scene. Except for a few illegal weapons, the police found no evidence. John McAfee then changes his residence and moves to the small town of San Pedro, Belize. There he made himself unpopular with his immediate neighbors through his eccentric demeanor.

    Momentous events unfold when someone poisons John McAfee’s attack dogs. A short time later, the police find John McAfee’s neighbor with a bullet in the head. The authorities quickly suspect the former IT genius of having murdered his neighbor with a targeted headshot due to various disputes between the two.

    From then on, John McAfee is on the run for quite a while. An odyssey through several states in Central America begins. However, McAfee does not just disappear, but stages his escape and reports about it on his blog and on social media.

    The wild journey ends in Guatemala in 2015, where Interpol arrests him. The suspicion of murder is dropped due to a lack of evidence. The authorities extradited him to the United States. Nobody here seems to care about his criminal past. He even claims to want to run in the 2016 presidential election as a candidate for the Libertarian Party. However, the announcement remains.

    John McAfee’s dramatic ending

    Suddenly the software world remembered the former developer of the first commercially successful antivirus protection program. John McAfee returns as a guest speaker at a number of key industry shows and events. However, McAfee soon becomes entangled in criminal activities again. In October 2020, the Spanish police arrested him with the active support of the US authorities. This time, the former software developer is suspected of tax evasion and unfair advertising for cryptocurrencies.

    John McAfee then ends up in a prison near Barcelona. Due to the new allegations, the US authorities are suddenly interested in his previous criminal past. If extradited to the United States, John McAfee could face up to 30 years in prison.

    With the prospect of spending the rest of his life behind bars, 75-year-old John McAfee apparently decides to commit suicide. On June 23, 2021, officers discovered the body in his cell. His death makes waves. In addition, conspiracy theories soon circulate online that the IT genius is not dead. This is, of course, gross nonsense.

    Documentaries about John McAfee

    Even Netflix is ​​interested in the scandalous life of John McAfee. The Film “Come Hell: The Wild World of John McAfee’ will premiere in 2022. A few years earlier, US filmmaker Nanette Burstein had made the documentary ‘Gringo: The Dangerous Life of John McAfee’. The The film is available online in the ZDF media library.