Did John McAfee invent anti-virus software?

JOHN McAfee, the creator of McAfee antivirus software, has been found dead in his jail cell.

The cyber-security pioneer had lived a tumultuous life, before passing away in a Spanish prison.

Did John McAfee invent anti-virus software?

John McAfee, who has died at the age of 75, was the creator of McAfee antivirus software.

British-born McAfee, who was born in Sling, Gloucestershire in England, was one of the engineers of California’s Silicon Valley during the 1980s electronics boom.

In the software industry, McAfee's claim to fame was that he offered the first all-in-one virus scanner, said Vesselin Bontchev, a Bulgarian computer scientist and an early antivirus researcher.

Prior to that, researchers would only scan for one virus at a time.

But there were only about a dozen computer viruses back then, he added.

"Technologically, as a scanner, it wasn't anything outstanding.

"It was just the general idea that was good. Not the implementation," said Bontchev.

An old black and white pic of McAfee shows the then computer analyst holding a stethoscope to an IBM-type computer.

He is sitting on a bed with an ice bag on top of the computer, to illustrate computer viruses which McAfee could eradicate.

When did he set up McAfee?

In 1987, he founded his famous McAfee anti-virus software company.

Thanks to his policy of giving away the product for free and charging for customer support, it became an instant hit.

Who bought McAfee?

California chipmaker Intel bought McAfee’s company in 2011 for $7.68 billion.

For a time it sought to dissociate the brand from its controversial founder by folding it into its larger cybersecurity division.

But the rebranding was short-lived, and Intel in 2016 spun out the cybersecurity unit into a new company called McAfee.

Jaime Le, a McAfee company spokesperson, said in a statement: “Although John McAfee founded the company, he has not been associated with our company in any capacity for over 25 years.

"That said, our thoughts go to his family and those close to him.”

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