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John McAfee, antivirus software pioneer, found dead in Spanish prison

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By Monica Greig & Kartikay Mehrotra

John McAfee, the creator of the eponymous antivirus software, was found dead Wednesday in prison outside Barcelona. He was 75.

In recent years, McAfee became a prominent booster of cryptocurrencies, ran unsuccessfully for U.S. president, had numerous run-ins with the law and traded in extreme conspiracy theories.

McAfee was discovered dead in his prison cell hours after Spain’s National Court approved his extradition to the U.S. over multiple tax fraud charges. Security personnel at the Brians 2 prison in northeast Spain tried but failed to revive him, the Associated Press reported, citing a statement from the region’s government.

McAfee had been in Spanish custody since October on a June 2020 U.S. indictment in which he was charged with failing to file four years of tax returns while concealing assets. Then in March, he was indicted and accused of fraud and money laundering over his use of social media to promote cryptocurrencies, which prosecutors said generated $13 million in illicit gains for McAfee and a co-conspirator.

Nishay Sanan, McAfee’s attorney, said his colleagues in Spain confirmed that McAfee had been found dead in his jail cell. Sanan claimed the U.S. government had identified McAfee as a target and “tried to erase him, but failed.”

“John lived his life the way he saw fit,” Sanan said. “In the end that is all that matters. You don’t have to agree with his way — he did not care.”

The Justice Department declined to comment and a spokeswoman referred questions to Spanish authorities.

Before his legal turmoil, McAfee was a pioneer of the cybersecurity industry. He founded McAfee Corp. in 1987 in Santa Clara, California, and led the company as it dominated the market for antivirus protection of personal computers. Half of all Fortune 100 companies were using his software during that time. McAfee resigned in 1994. Decades later he told the South China Morning Post that running the company no longer was fun as it grew to a huge corporation with thousands of employees.

Intel Corp. bought the company in 2010 and later rebranded all McAfee products as Intel Security. After his name was removed, McAfee told the BBC, “I am now everlastingly grateful to Intel for freeing me from this terrible association with the worst software on the planet.”

McAfee relocated to Belize in 2008 after his $100 million fortune was reduced to $4 million following a series of failed investments in property, real estate and bonds. There he had one of his biggest conflicts with authorities in 2012 after the killing of a neighbor, Gregory Faull, a 52-year-old contractor and Florida native. McAfee’s home on the island of Ambergris Caye was searched after Faull was shot to death and police said they wanted to question him as part of a murder investigation.

He then sought asylum in Guatemala in 2012, claiming he wasn’t on the run from authorities in Belize. He turned to social media and public interviews to salvage his reputation, sending updates to Wired magazine, allowing two reporters from Vice magazine to accompany him and posting missives to his own website. He discussed eluding police by burying himself in sand with a cardboard box and changing his appearance.

McAfee was expelled from Guatemala and arrived in Miami in December 2012. In an interview with Bloomberg News the day of his departure, McAfee, then 67, said he was being forced out of Belize, but was “perfectly happy with the decision.” He apologized to Guatemala’s then-president for putting him in “a slippery position.” He was later ordered by a Florida judge to pay more than $25 million to Faull’s estate.

In 2016, McAfee announced a run as a presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party, campaigning on a privacy-focused platform that included pushing for the government to create a cybersecurity defense strategy. The party’s nomination was won by former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson.

By 2017, McAfee jumped on the Bitcoin bandwagon as chief executive officer of MGT Capital Investments Inc. He’d promised to turn the former video game operation into a profitable cybersecurity firm by ramping up its Bitcoin mining business. He stepped down later that year to become the CEO of a cryptocurrency company, Luxcore.

Part of his cryptocurrency venture included charging more than $105,000 per tweet to promote initial coin offerings. McAfee later told his Twitter followers he’d been forced to “go dark” on social media after receiving unspecified “threats” from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

During the period from 2014 to 2018 McAfee failed to file U.S. tax returns, according to a federal indictment. After eluding law enforcement, he was arrested and detained last October in Spain. From prison, McAfee was able to use Twitter to continue promoting cryptocurrencies, but also to share his experience. In April, he tweeted: “this has been the most trying period in my life.” At that point, he had been in the Catalonian prison for six months.

In November 2019, McAfee took to Twitter to show off his latest tattoo on his right bicep. It read, ‘$WHACKD.’ In a related tweet, he wrote: “Getting subtle messages from U.S. officials saying, in effect: “We’re coming for you McAfee! We’re going to kill yourself”. I got a tattoo today just in case. If I suicide myself, I didn’t. I was whackd. Check my right arm.”

Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia reported that McAfee appeared to have died by suicide, citing a statement from the regional Department of Justice of Catalonia, where he was being held.

“Sometimes genius and madness aren’t far apart and it seems he unfortunately fell prey to his demons,” said Doug Clinton, managing partner at Loup Ventures.

Source: B;ppmberg, (With assistance from Chris Strohm, Olga Kharif and Jamie Tarabay.)

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5g

Ericsson signs $8.3 billion 5G deal with Verizon

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NEW DELHI:Ericsson said that it has signed $8.3 billion agreement with Verizon to provide its industry-leading 5G solutions to accelerate the deployment of Verizon’s world-class next-generation 5G network in the U.S.

Niklas Heuveldop, President and Head of Ericsson North America, says: “This is a significant strategic partnership for both companies and what we’re most excited about is bringing the benefits of 5G to U.S. consumers, enterprises and the public sector. We’re looking forward to working with Verizon to leverage solutions like Cloud RAN and our Street Macro, adding depth and versatility to 5G network rollouts across the U.S.”

“With this new agreement, we will be able to continue driving innovation and widespread adoption of 5G,” said Kyle Malady, Chief Technology Officer for Verizon. “We are pleased to continue this work through our long-standing relationship with Ericsson.”

Under this $8.3 billion USD agreement, Verizon will deploy Ericsson’s 5G MIMO C-band, low-band and millimeter wave (mmWave) solutions to enhance and expand Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband coverage, network performance and user experience. Ericsson’s technology solutions, including Massive MIMO, Ericsson Spectrum Sharing and Ericsson Cloud RAN, complement the high-performing Ericsson Radio System portfolio to support 5G services. Ericsson’s industry-leading software functionality provides end-users with the speed and performance they expect from 5G networks.

In 2020, Verizon was the first communications service provider to receive a commercial 5G mmWave Street Macro base station from Ericsson’s award-winning new state-of-the-art U.S. smart factory in Lewisville, Texas. Ericsson is committed to building and accelerating the nationwide build-out of 5G across the country.

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Comviva launches next gen digital wallet and payment platform-mobiquity Pay X

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NEW DELHI: Comviva, the global leader in mobility solutions, today announced the launch of mobiquity Pay X, its next generation digital wallet and payment platform.

Mobiquity Pay is amongst the world’s largest digital financial services platforms, powering over 70 digital wallets and payment services for 130+ million consumers and processing over 7 billion transactions exceeding USD 130 billion annually in more than 50 countries.

With its new next generation mobiquity Pay X platform, Comviva has enhanced all aspects of digital financial solution, including scalability, faster deployment and time to market, simpler user lifecycle management & experience and enhanced security.

This new platform is completely built on microservices based architecture with fully independent and reusable components. The enhanced modularity facilitates faster time to market and greater scalability.

Mobiquity Pay X has enabled Open APIs to easily integrate with third party systems and extended financial ecosystem. To enhance user experience, the platform now offers a revamped slicker mobile app for consumers, agents, merchants and other business users and provides an advanced User Management System (UMS) that allows back-office users to easily manage the complete lifecycle of consumers, agents, merchants, and other business users seamlessly. Its intuitive user-interface, predefined templates and real-time feedback help quickly perform operations.

The new platform significantly strengthens security with robust authentication and authorization modules. It provides complete flexibility to easily configure various PIN, password and access rules as per the requirements. Its advanced session management capabilities help identify all active sessions and logins from a user through multiple devices and takes corrective action to prevent frauds.

Speaking on the launch, Srinivas Nidugondi, EVP and Chief Growth and Transformation Officer at Comviva, said, “COVID has significantly accelerated the growth of digital financial services and the entire financial ecosystem is growing at its fastest pace ever. Customer demand and public health priorities are pushing contactless payment adoption and our next generation mobiquity Pay X platform shall help financial service providers scale their digital wallet and payment services faster and seamlessly. With this new platform, Comviva has completely automated the software delivery process. The time to market has improved significantly with continuous product development, integration, testing, release and deployment.”

Mobiquity Pay X offers Order and Payment System that provides consumers a unified view of transactions performed by various payment instruments. It provides end-to-end tracking of entire payment transaction across all stages. It also enables back-office users to view status of payment transactions and identify failed and ambiguous transactions to take corrective actions like refund to complete the order-payment cycle.

The new mobile app is built using best-in-class design practices and has rich features including self-registration, biometric login, profile personalization, payment through multiple instruments (prepaid wallet, card, bank account), favourite transactions, multi-currency support, currency conversion, real time transaction tracking, referral bonus, merchant/agent locator, dynamic QR Code and many more.

With an enhanced monitoring and alerting system, mobiquity Pay X quickly aggregates system logs and key performance indicator data and provides a real-time bird’s eye view of critical operational parameters through visual dashboards. mobiquity Pay X has capability of proactive disaster management by identifying threshold breaches for critical application and system parameters in advance and providing real-time notifications for corrective actions.

Comviva has pre-integrated best-in-class technology in the areas of digital KYC and Personal Financial Management (PFM) to offer unparalleled value to consumers. These pre-integrated solutions in addition to offering enhanced experience to consumers, also significantly cut down cost and time to market while launching a digital wallet service. The platform also offers a document management system that provides flexibility to back-office users to quickly retrieve KYC documents a centralized repository for regulatory and business purpose.

 

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IT rules 2021 empowering, protecting users, asserts Ashwini Vaishnaw

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NEW DELHI: IT and communications minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Sunday said the new information technology rules are empowering and protecting users.

He added that the new IT rules will ensure a safer and more responsible social media ecosystem in India.

“Reviewed the implementation and compliance of Information Technology Rules, 2021 along with my colleague Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar ji. These guidelines are empowering and protecting users and will ensure a safer and responsible social media ecosystem in India,” Vaishnaw said on a social media account.

The new rules which came into effect from May 25 mandate social media companies to establish a grievance redressal mechanism for resolving complaints from the users or victims.

All significant social media companies, with over 5 million user base shall appoint a grievance officer to deal with such complaints and share the name and contact details of such officers.

The big social media companies are mandated to appoint a chief compliance officer, a Nodal Contact Person and a resident grievance officer. All of them should be a resident in India.

Twitter, which had been in the eye of the storm over its alleged failure to comply with the new IT rules in India, has named Vinay Prakash as its Resident Grievance Officer for India, according to the company’s website.

However, Facebook-owned Whatsapp has challenged the new IT rules for social media intermediaries requiring the messaging app to trace chats and make provisions to identify the first originator of information, saying they violate the right to privacy and are unconstitutional.

Whatsapp further alleged the requirement of intermediaries enabling the identification of the first originator of information in India upon government or court order puts end-to-end encryption and its benefits at risk.

Some of the media houses have also challenged the new IT rules and the matter is sub-judice.

Source: Press Trust of India

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