John McAfee, the antivirus software pioneer and onetime international fugitive who is running for US president, said he was shifting his campaign to the Libertarian Party. McAfee made the announcement as he unveiled a cybersecurity platform and told reporters he was running for president to highlight the need for better cyber protections.
"We need a dedicated force of hackers focused on national security," McAfee said on the floor of the Consumer Electronics Show, where he was promoting a new mobile security product on which he is collaborating.
He said the United States is in danger "because we are decades behind the Russians and Chinese in weaponised software," while also highlighting the need to improve cyber weapons to counter threats from those countries. "You can't just have defensive weapons in this world. You have to say, 'You push a button, we'll push a button.'"
The creator of the McAfee antivirus software in September announced his presidential run as part of his own "Cyber Party." He said yesterday that shifting to the Libertarian Party would make it easier to be on the ballot in all 50 states and he believes he is philosophically aligned with the party. "I was a Libertarian before the word was coined," he said.
"I think the government is too large. I think people should be free to live their own lifestyles without interference from government." McAfee, who on his own Twitter page refers to himself as an "eccentric millionaire," amassed an estimated $100 million fortune during the early days of the Internet in the 1990s, designing the pioneering anti-virus software that bears his name and which is now owned by Intel.
After cashing out, he became an intrepid adventure-seeker, arriving in Belize in 2009 after losing most of his fortune to bad investments and the financial crisis. McAfee was briefly incarcerated in that country after police found him living with a 17-year-old girl and discovered an arsenal of seven pump-action shotguns, one single-action shotgun, and two 9-millimetre pistols. He was living in Belize when police came looking for him to discuss the murder of his neighbour -- a crime for which he maintains his innocence.