He’s the opposite of the common stereotype of the boring computer nerd. John McAfee, wanted for questioning over a murder and in hiding in Belize, has spent almost two decades living a life of alleged heavy drug abuse, sexual experimentation, deadly extreme sports and media manipulation.
It was as a software designer at the arms giant Lockheed in the 1980s that the 67-year-old, English-born American set out on the path to infamy and fortune.
Computer viruses were beginning to emerge and spread, and his machine contracted an infection dubbed Pakistani Brain, which slowed down floppy drives and made seven precious kilobytes of memory unavailable. McAfee resolved the problem himself, but hit upon the idea of creating software that could detect malicious software and remove it automatically.
“It was an accident, like anything else in life,” he later said of his invention.
(…) Jeff Wise, the journalist he told this story to noted, however, that McAfee “is a notorious trickster, who’s no stranger to sock puppetry”.
McAfee’s bizarre world began to unravel in May, when police raided his home and arrested him on suspicion of manufacturing crystal meth and possession of an unlicensed weapon. McAfee protested his innocence to anyone who would listen.
“It began, innocently enough, with my refusal to donate to the local political boss of the district where I lived in Orange Walk and I have given at least $2million in gifts to the police departments,” he said, casting further doubt on his 2009 claim he had only $4m left, which he later admitted was “not very accurate at all”.
“Basically what I developed is a topical antiseptic. That’s what they claimed was my meth lab,” he told Gizmodo.
This week it was alleged that McAfee has nevertheless been a regular contributor to a drug makers’ forum under the name “stuffmonger”. The poster explained how he had been trying to purify a “super perv powder” called MDPV and had been testing the results on himself.
“I think it’s the finest drug ever conceived, not just for the indescribable hypersexuality, but also for the smooth euphoria and mild comedown,” he said.
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