John McAfee -- the eccentric tech mogul who founded the software security company that bears his name -- is back in Silicon Valley with plans of starting a new cyber security company that will make the Internet “impossible to hack,” the San Jose Mercury News reports.
"My new technology is going to provide a new type of Internet, a decentralized, floating and moving Internet that is impossible to hack, impossible to penetrate and vastly superior in terms of its facility and neutrality. It solves all of our security concerns," McAfee said.
McAfee wouldn’t go into details about his new venture, but he told the Mercury News there are two movies in the works about his life, as well as a book, a television documentary and a graphic novel series about his life in Belize.
As the Mercury News reports, it’s been a bumpy few years for the 67-year-old software pioneer. In addition to being arrested in Belize for possession of an illegal firearm and suspicion of running a drug manufacturing lab in April 2012, McAfee is still a "person of interest" in the death of Gregory Viant Faull, 52, in Belize. Faull was discovered last November at his home two doors down from McAfee, dead from a single gunshot to the head.
According to CNN, McAfee fled to Guatemala, where he was arrested for illegally entering the country in December. The tech giant then sought asylum, but was denied. While he was being held in a detention center in Guatemala, McAfee reportedly faked two heart attacks so his lawyer could file appeals that would prevent his deportation to Belize. He was eventually deported from Guatemala back to the United States in December 2012.
McAfee’s story generated coverage throughout the world, aided by his online blog posts, something the tech mogul told the Mercury News was completely intentional.
"Of course I arranged all of that," McAfee said. "How are they (Belizean authorities) going to whack me if every newspaper in the world is looking? You have to be willing to sacrifice a bit of your public persona to get the media to feed on you. I'm willing to do that. As long as you're honest to the press, as long as your stories are consistent and you can feel good when you go to bed, it doesn't matter what they say as long as they spell your name right."
Now, McAfee is back in the United States and living in Portland, Ore. “I live and eat well," he said. "I buy cars and boats just like I always did. Maybe I have less than I had 15 years ago. Maybe I have less now than I'll have five years hence. In my position, you never know how much you're worth because it changes constantly. It doesn't interest me."
McAfee’s new cyber security venture might fail to take off due to his eccentric reputation. Then again, his reputation could be the thing that works in his favor.
"Security is a very conservative field, one that you don't talk about what you're doing or your customers," Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group told the Mercury News. "For corporate security, I can't picture a firm doing business with him. And his skill with security is about 25 years out of date. An awful lot has changed since he ran McAfee in the 1990s. But on the consumer level, here his visibility may draw people to the brand and products. He's a rebel. He's fighting against The Man. For the folks that are probably most concerned about the government getting involved with their stuff, he could be their spokesperson. His celebrity could work for him."