John McAfee is arguably the most eccentric CEO in the PC industry. In a recent Reddit AMA, the surprisingly subdued McAfee offered some interesting opinions on PC security and the future of computing.
Some of the highlights of the interview included:
John McAfee Doesn’t Use Antivirus
One Redditor asked McAfee which type of antivirus he preferred. Instead of recommending a particular brand, McAfee threw the industry that made him a millionaire under the bus:
“I don’t use AV, I think it’s dead and based on an ancient tech that is no longer relevant. Hacker kits come out 10x faster. AV is a meaningless system. I use phones, flip phones without GPS. I use my samsung phone if I want internet and buy a new one every 2 weeks.”
Android is His Favorite OS
McAfee was asked which OS he prefers – whether iOS, Windows, or Android. Although McAfee eventually sided with Android, he started his answer by explaining that he uses all of them because none of them are safe:
“I use them all, none of them are safe, I use Windows, Android, IOS. The reason I do that is it makes it more difficult for the people trying to tap me, NSA, CIA, FBI. Wherever I go there’s a convoy following me. So if I continuously change, it really pissed them off when they can’t locate me. The old arts of spying has really disappeared, my favorite is Android, for ease-of-use. The first thing I do is root it with towelroot to remove update capabilities, then remove bloatware, then unroot it of course.”
He Explains Why He Left the Company
Redditors also asked McAfee about his corporate past. In his answer, McAfee seems like he would have liked to do things different if he had to do it all over again:
“It grew, it got big, like every company. When I started, there were 4 of us. Generating $10M/yr, we could have lived happily for our lives on that. VCs came and offered to make it bigger, we had to grow, we didn’t have sales, marketing, etc. I gave it away, unless you were a government, corporation, etc.”
I’m not quite sure what exactly McAfee means with that last line about how he gave it away.
McAfee went onto explain that his role changed from that of a problem solver and virus analyst to that of an accountant:
“Once I went public, I had 1000 bosses, investors, FTC, SEC, all my time in meetings and interviews. I hired a programmer/day for over a year! I used to spend time taking apart viruses, now I was an accountant. Once a company gets big, it becomes slow, and cannot survive in its current form.”
Is McAfee Right About Antivirus Being Obsolete?
The “antivirus is dead” crowd is hardly new. Basically, there’s evidence for both sides.
It’s true that old software-based antivirus is obsolete. But cloud-based software capable of downloading the latest security updates (or checking its constantly-updated threat library) instantly is still very useful.
Nevertheless, antivirus makers are in interesting times as the “antivirus is dead” crowd grows louder and louder.
Ultimately, McAfee’s Reddit AMA wasn’t quite as crazy as his other internet appearances, like this profanity-laden video where he looks like Hugh Hefner. Once again, you can read the full AMA here: