Is John McAfee making a comeback in the security industry?
If there is a guy that Public Relations firms would both love and hate at the same time, it would have to be software pioneer John McAfee.
McAfee founded the anti-virus company of the same name in 1987 which was later sold in 2010 to Intel for several billion dollars.
John McAfee has had a tumultuous life and his ‘exile’ to South America to manufacture antibiotics had many people speculate about all sorts of crazy things he may have been doing.
In November 2012, McAfee made world news when he was a person of interest in the murder of one of his neighbors in Belize.
The ensuing weeks saw McAfee play fugitive in a captivating escape thoroughly documented in real time with videos and blog posts on his personal site.
Since then, McAfee has made it back to the US in one piece and has started some new projects: an autobiography and even a new security company called Future Tense.
McAfee’s views on traditional antivirus software are pretty clear. He posted to YouTube a NSFW video titled How To Uninstall McAfee Antivirus (Warning! foul language) that makes fun of his former company’s software.
On Saturday, McAfee was in San Jose, California for a technology conference, telling a crowd about his recent exploits and ideas about technology.
He also pitched his new company, which he claims is perfect to thwart the NSA’s spying activities. The device he intends to market called D-CENTRAL would communicate through decentralized and moving local networks that are highly secure.
This sounds very much like mesh networking, where each device is a node in a decentralized ad hoc network. The system is reliable as even if a node goes down, there will be another one you can connect to.
Communications in such an infrastructure can be secured such that telcos and governments cannot tap into them. This is a hot topic at the moment, so the timing could not be any better.
However, there are still a lot of details up in the air which have left some wondering if this is all hype or actually for real.
One thing is certain though: the 68-year-old John McAfee captivated the audience like he usually does and kept it on wanting more.
Jerome Segura (@jeromesegura) is Senior Security Researcher at Malwarebytes.