Your only interaction with the name McAfee might be the occasional, annoying pop-up message letting you know your free antivirus software has expired, but the story of the man who founded that company goes way beyond cybersecurity. 

John McAfee is a legend, not just in the tech industry, but for living an eccentric life that holds stories of drugs, vast fortunes made and lost, aspirations for creating new medicines and a brief stint as an international fugitive on the run in Central America. 

Business Insider combed through stories written about McAfee over the years and put together a sort of primer on the man. Here are some key passages to give you a taste: 

In the '60s, while working on punch card systems to digitize railroad schedules: 

While at Missouri Pacific Railroad he began to dabble with harder drugs. He would go to work many days while tripping on LSD, according to Wired. One day he was sold a bag of a psychedelic known as DMT. As Wired reported, McAfee snorted a line of the drug, felt nothing, and then decided to do the whole bag. Then all hell broke loose. He freaked out, ran outside, and hid behind a trashcan.

In the '80s, after working for NASA and several Silicon Valley tech companies:

McAfee moved to Silicon Valley in the 1970s. He held numerous jobs at various tech companies (including a stint at NASA’s Institute for Space Studies), all the while abusing drugs and alcohol. It wasn’t until 1983 that he got sober. He was working at the company Omex, and found his daily routine to be snorting coke at his desk and drinking a bottle of scotch, according to Wired.

In the '90s, after turning McAfee Antivirus into a huge company and going public through consumers' fear of the Michelangelo computer virus. 

In 1994, McAfee set his sights for greener pastures and resigned from McAfee. Two years later he sold his shares, which gave him about $100 million.


In the 2000s, after moving to Belize to reportedly go into the biomedical field, and shortly before he fled after his neighbor was shot to death.

In Belize he frequented a saloon known as Lover’s Bar. He would reportedly go there everyday and watch the people go in and out. He slowly withdrew from everything else. He became obsessed watching the people in this poor part of town. After six months he wrote that he no longer had any connection to society.


There's a lot more to the story, and the whole thing is worth a look over at Business Insider

Of course, you could always get the (bizarre/maybe parody) version of the Belize story from the real John McAfee himself in this YouTube video he posted a couple years ago.