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Interview: Ask John McAfee What You Will 194

Posted by samzenpus
from the straight-from-the-source dept.
John McAfee was best known as a software designer and founder of the computer anti-virus company McAfee Associates until his saga in Belize began. McAfee's works on producing natural antibiotics commercially in Belize was quickly overshadowed by police raids, murder allegations, and a month of evading Belizean authorities while maintaining his innocence. He was eventually captured and deported back to the United States in December 2012 without being charged with any crime. "Boston George" Jung (a man who has lived quite an unusual life himself) has been tapped to write McAfee's biography titled, No Domain. Now that things have mostly settled down, John has agreed to answer your questions. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one per post.
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Interview: Ask John McAfee What You Will

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  • why run (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fazey (2806709) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @11:51AM (#43611375)
    Why did you run if you had nothing to hide?
    • Re:why run (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @12:43PM (#43612001) Homepage Journal

      Where is Sam? I understand that she risked a lot, and can be credited largely with saving your life. What happened to her when you surrendered to authorities, and what are the current efforts being made to secure her safety? What are the prospects for allowing her legal immigration status to the United States? When is she in her own reality series on cable?

      • Hi John,

        I understand that you set up a drug lab in your home and spent your time experimenting with the way that Bath Salts increased the enjoyment you got sleeping with young girls.

        What did you learn from your experience?

    • Why did you run if you had nothing to hide?

      Aaww, he must think that governments never go on witch hunts!

      Such naïveté would be funny, if it weren't so dangerous.

    • Why did you run if you had nothing to hide?

      Provocative. Why not ask David Janssen [davidjanssen.net] or Will Smith? [wikipedia.org]

    • Re: why run (Score:4, Interesting)

      by FuzzNugget (2840687) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @04:54PM (#43614961)
      Are you fucking kidding me? Who wouldn't run when faced against the thuggery of modern law enforcement? Running has *nothing* to do with guilt or innocence, and everything to do with an extreme and quite rational aversion to being ensnared and railroaded into a ruinous legal situation.
    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      Everyone has things to hide and you often can't trust the authorities to treat you fairly.

      A more interesting question might be: What is it like to realize that you can't trust the police and the justice system, and take the decision to go on the run?

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOsPam.gmail.com> on Thursday May 02, 2013 @11:52AM (#43611385) Journal
    While you were moving around, Vice.com got to spend time with you [vice.com]. If memory serves me, it was later revealed that the image they uploaded with you had GPS data that you then claimed to be spoofed. Coincidentally the news styled documentary they were going to do with you never seemed to surface ... now that things have died down can you give more context to that whole situation?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Reading about your exploits, it is clear that you have giant, swinging balls.

    How were you able to evade the police while dragging around those giant, bean-bag sized balls?

  • McAfee Antivirus (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AmiMoJo (196126) * <[ten.3dlrow] [ta] [ojom]> on Thursday May 02, 2013 @11:54AM (#43611421) Homepage

    Doesn't it bother you that your name is being used to peddle one of the worst anti-virus products on the market? Often it comes pre-installed on computers as a 30 day trial (crapware), with dire warnings flashed up in the event that the user fails to pay (scareware). The performance hit it brings is huge. Would you advise anyone else to name their product/company after themselves in this way?

    • it may be a resource hog and really slow a machine down, but at least it misses most viruses and malware.

      Was so thrilled when our campus IT folks finally dumped McAfee.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Twinbee (767046)
        Personally, I'd rather have a real virus than install McAfee, but download.com and softpedia.com's users rate their stuff at 3 or 4 out of 5. Beats me, but could be the placebo effect, or maybe it's better than many of us think (not that that's saying much) ?
    • I really don't have anything to add, but I would love to see the answer to this question.
      Although next time don't sugar coat your description of that piece of unmitigated shit.
    • by bfandreas (603438)
      Also the infection vector is just a little bit less bad than common malware. You have to be extra hawkeyed to spot all the checkboxes it might lurk beneath. It ranks just there with browser toolbars and monkey punchers.
    • Came to ask this.

      Also do you (McAfee) and Peter Norton argue about who's name is being dragged through worse piles of shit?

      Followup question: Are you contractually restrained from saying what you think about McAfee antivirus?

      • by BitZtream (692029)

        McAfee antivirus was never particularly impressive from a technical point of view. McAfee's brightest moments in his career were when he basically took something known in other industries and applied to obvious places in computing.

        I don't even think the US patent office would call what he did non-trivial.

        • Hello,

          I think you are being a bit unfair here. While Mr. McAfee's ideas may see commonplace now after twenty-five years of having anti-virus software, at the time he applied them, it was quite novel. Also, the programs that Mr. McAfee was responsible for in the DOS era (SENTRY, VIRUSCAN, CLEAN-UP, VSHIELD, etc.) were pretty much state-of-the-art at that time.

          Regards,

          Aryeh Goretsky


          At Thursday May 02, 2013 @07:16PM, BitZtream (692029) wrote:
          >
          > McAfee antivirus was never particularly impressive from a

    • by Xest (935314)

      30 day trial? You should be so lucky. The last laptop I bought came with something pathetic like a 3, or 5 day trial. As if that's enough time to test it as a virus protection option anyway.

      Yes, it's gotten that bad.

  • by oic0 (1864384) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @11:55AM (#43611427)
    If you had to relive the whole debacle, what would you do differently the second time around.
  • Natural Antibotics (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 02, 2013 @11:56AM (#43611437)

    How far along were the natural antibotics? were they still in animal testing or had they reached human testing?

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOsPam.gmail.com> on Thursday May 02, 2013 @11:57AM (#43611449) Journal
    Almost exactly one year ago your dog was killed (my sympathies), your passport was confiscated and your house searched by a Gang Suppression Unit (GSU) while you lived in Belize [channel5belize.com]. Why not publicly name names and provide as much detailed evidence as possible to reveal this horrible corruption and abuse of something that is supposed to stop crime? Who was it that tried to extort political money from you? Is there anyway to verify?
    • You should never talk to the police or comment on an ongoing case, there is no benefit for doing so. Even when you are completely innocent you can still risk incriminating your self. Here is a link to a 40 minute video on why is it never in you benifit to talk to police.
      Don't Talk to the police [youtube.com].
  • by lazylion (101229) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @11:58AM (#43611473) Homepage

    If I understand correctly, this whole episode began because a local politician visited you in your home and he had the expectation (for whatever reason) that you would pay him USD $30,000 as some kind of protection money for his campaign and your expectation was that politicians are supposed to work for people and not the other way around. Is this a reasonable characterization? If so, how do you think such a large missmatch in expectations came about? Do you think you were overly naive? Or is the political environment in Belize changing? I can easily believe that this might be the normal expected way that people do business down there based on other things I've heard, but I really have no idea. Now that you've had time to reflect, what would you say was responsible for the conflict in the first place?

  • Dear Mr. McAfee,

        How can I avoid getting that annoying McAfee AntiVirus trial in all my Java installs?

        (I kid. I kid.)

    • That's an easy one. Don't install Java.

      • by tepples (727027)
        How should one play Minecraft without Java? Or do you recommend giving up Minecraft as well?
        • If Minecraft is something you refuse to live without, then maybe people like you can lobby the vendor for a version that doesn't use Java. But, take it from a person who has never played Minecraft: you can live without it.

  • You've been quoted [duncantrussell.com] as partial to freebase MDPV:

    I'm a huge fan of MDPV. Not the white hydrochloride - it's inconceivable that anyone on the planet would willingly put that into their bodies -- I'm talking the freebase form. I think many of you that don't bother to freebase it yourself have at least tasted the freebase version when it was widely available as "tan mdpv". I think it's the finest drug evere conceived, not just for the indescribable hypersexuality, but also for the smooth euphoria and mild comedown.

    Do you still stick to this opinion? Are you sure it's the finest drug ever conceived? If you're unwavering in that view, what would you rank as the second or third drugs in the chemical hall of fame?

  • What does it feel like to kill a man?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's a topic Esmeralda Villalobos is very interested in.

  • There are a lot of other ways to protect a system from malware than signature scanning. In fact, I would go as far as to say this technology is outmodded. With the considerable resources available to your company, why aren't you guys developing whitelists to validate executable code on a workstation and building a trusted computing platform so only executable code which has been verified can be executed?

    Vendors such as Microsoft, Adobe, etc., do release many versions of their software, but these versions ca

    • by tepples (727027)

      why aren't you guys developing whitelists to validate executable code on a workstation

      Because it wouldn't scale. How much should it cost for a hobbyist developer of applications that are useful and harmless to gain access to such a workstation?

      • by ron_ivi (607351)

        whitelists

        Because it wouldn't scale.

        Isn't that basically what the signed apt-get repositories are?

        By accepting a signing key, you're signing up for their whitelist.

        • By accepting a signing key, you're signing up for their whitelist.

          Which brings back the dancing bunnies problem [codinghorror.com]. The user sees "Add our PPA to see dancing bunnies", the user gets the home PC's administrator to do so, and the system is compromised. Or the user is a software developer, but he's tired of having to retype his code signing key's passphrase every single time he rebuilds his project, so he takes the passphrase off the key. Now any malware can sign itself as the user.

  • by fredrated (639554) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @12:02PM (#43611517) Journal

    Did you?

  • Bath Salts (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Thursday May 02, 2013 @12:03PM (#43611531) Journal
    Do you still believe in the wonders of the drugs known as "bath salts" which you wrote so many glowing reviews about?
  • Um, no (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EmagGeek (574360) <gterich@@@aol...com> on Thursday May 02, 2013 @12:03PM (#43611541) Journal

    I am not interested the least in what John McAfee has to say about anything, nor reading what will ultimately be spun into a John McAfee publicity puff piece by the Dice Masters.

  • Why George Jung? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOsPam.gmail.com> on Thursday May 02, 2013 @12:05PM (#43611565) Journal

    "Boston George" Jung (a man who has lived quite an unusual life himself) has been tapped to write McAfee's biography titled, No Domain.

    I don't get it. Jung is a convicted drug smuggler. You have had no such charges ever filed against you (to my knowledge) by the United States so, if nothing more than a publicity stunt, why did you pick him to write your biography? If you feel you are wrongly accused, I can understand why you would pick someone wrongly accused to write your biography -- they can relate. But George Jung was certainly a key part of Pablo Escobar's deadly and pervasive criminal organization. You are (again, to my knowledge) far from that so why bait the readers with that author as a link? I have had very little associations with you and illegal drug activity but now I think you view yourself as a modern George Jung, am I wrong in making this assumption?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Did you learn your lesson, that playing Breaking Bad's "Heisenberg" in real life doesn't work out so well?

    Or, are you going to continue making drugs and playing with drug lords?

  • by coldsalmon (946941) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @12:06PM (#43611581)

    Did you really evade the police by dressing up in a speedo and screaming at people in German, as you describe here: http://www.whoismcafee.com/watchfulness/ [whoismcafee.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Asking him the latest slashtod poll, "How often do friends/family call you for tech support?"

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 02, 2013 @12:10PM (#43611643)

    What are your thoughts on using a HOSTS file to help minimize your exposure to computer malware and protect your system? This seems to be a topic of HUGE debate here at SlashDot. Here's hoping an expert can chime in for once!

    Thanks, and, Bob Bless

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Will you shut up please before that annoying bastard shows up again?

    • by tepples (727027)
      Before this becomes a big APK bitchfest, I'm trying to summarize arguments for and against hostname-based DNS filtering scoped to a single machine on this page [pineight.com].
  • What exactly were you smoking?

  • Have you ever told us the definition of insanity?

  • or one 36 years old? Any other combinations you would recommend? Screw software, tell us some fun stories.. :)
  • My and every Slashdot reader's first question is: fuck you.
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOsPam.gmail.com> on Thursday May 02, 2013 @12:17PM (#43611709) Journal
    Ars Technica ran an inditing article [arstechnica.com] on your sanity in which you made statements on the virtues of MDPV (bath salts), having three informants in the Zeta Cartel and also informants in Nicaragua that had made contact with Hezbollah's camp. To put my question succinctly: what the hell, man? Where have your James "Psychonaut" Bond travels taken you to recently?
  • by acidfast7 (551610) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @12:17PM (#43611711)
    I'm very interested in hearing about the natural antibiotics. Can you please describe some general background about how you became interested in the project and what happened to the project?
  • "Time is a number
    gone to HELL,
    and all of nature
    its flesh in ruins."

  • by 0xdeadbeef (28836) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @12:25PM (#43611793) Homepage Journal

    Is it pronounced MAC-a-fee or Muh-CAF-ee?

  • I hate to be this direct to someone who was kind enough to answer the Slashdot questions, but this question is surely what everyone is thinking:

    What are the chances the drugs and mushrooms have messed up your mind so much that now you can't distinguish reality from fantasy?
  • McAfeeFS (Score:5, Funny)

    by WaffleMonster (969671) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @12:31PM (#43611861)

    Have you ever considered writing your own filesystem? If so what features would it have?

  • Macafee is such a powerful brand. Just marketing alone should worth millions if not billion. Do you visit the valley? Ray Liu King Star
  • After shooting a neighbor with whom you had repeated documented disagreements, don't you think you should stand trial and be judged?
  • Are you still ingesting massive amounts of mind altering substances?

  • Why did you decide to camp out in Portland, Oregon for 18 months [pandodaily.com]? What was it about Portland that brought you there?
  • by sosume (680416) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @01:06PM (#43612195) Journal

    Do you still write code, perhaps for fun?

  • Back in The Day the name McAfee was significant and even important: the first (maybe, haven't looked it up) and certainly the most effective anti-virus product (and free!) when those sorts of problems first began.

    Since then, he's just another rich guy who now has managed to get into serious trouble. Not interested, got problems of my own. Which don't involve being suspected of shooting my neighbor or evading local police, thanka verra much.

  • Do you think people really buy your bullshit?
  • by JustNiz (692889) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @01:31PM (#43612437)

    How widespread is it for companies to actually be the creators of the virusses just to create fear/demand for their antivirus products? ( By creating a virus, I mean everything from naming of non-existent virusses right through to actually developing real virusses).

  • Slashdot interviewing MacAfee? Somebody call the U.S. Strategic Paranoia Reserve, we're going to have to tap into it.

  • Do you know of any place I can have asylum in portland for 2-3 weeks? i have some money to pay, but the vacancies around here are low.

  • I've been by your vacation home in Belize. It's still for sale, do the proceeds go to you if/when it sells, or does the gov't get it?

    If the gov't gets it, can you lower the pricetag so I can afford it please?

  • What is your current location (at least 5 decimal precision)? Thanks!

  • by Ukab the Great (87152) on Thursday May 02, 2013 @03:40PM (#43614101)

    Is having two simultaneous girlfriends as awesome as it sounds?

  • You claimed in a roundabout fashion that the Mexican Drug Cartels are assisting Hezbollah terrorists to make their way into the USA with a bunch of deadly poison, possibly tons of ricin. If this is true and not another distraction technique, then what are they planning to do with all that nasty shit? Are they planning bio-attacks on US citizens? If they are planning attacks with ricin in the USA, why do you not tell more people and get the word out to save lives?

    If anyone out there reading this is in p

  • That's some mighty fine stuff, whatever it is
  • Hans Reiser's relationship tips!
  • It's going to be hilarious to see which "highly moderated" questions the editors pick. I read maybe two or three that wouldn't send McAfee (further) off the deep end.

  • Hello Mr. McAfee,

    Before you were forced to leave Belize, you were in the process of researching topical antibiotic creams. How far along was that research? Had you found any promising compounds, ready to go to trials, etc., or was still more towards the basic research end of things?

    As a follow-up question, if you are able to return to Belize, will you continue this avenue of research?

    I know this is kind of a two-part question, but I am hoping you'll still be able to answer.

    Regards,

    Aryeh Goretsky

    P.S. I do

  • by speedplane (552872) on Friday May 03, 2013 @02:49AM (#43618007) Homepage
    What do we have to do to stop listening to stories about you? If we paid you a million would you leave the public alone? A billion? Please!
  • I'm sure you were fine when this started, but all this action sounds expensive. Can we expect you to be monetizing this great story, or can you afford to be picky about how it is treated?

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