McAfee History

The company was founded in 1989 as McAfee Associates, named for its founder John McAfee. McAfee was incorporated in the state of Delaware in 1992. Network Associates was formed in 1997 as a merger of McAfee Associates and Network General. In 2004, a major restructuring occurred. In the spring, the company sold its Magic Solutions business to Remedy, a subsidiary of BMC Software. In the summer of 2004, the company sold the Sniffer Technologies business to a venture capital backed firm named 'Network General' - the same name as the original owner of Sniffer Technologies. Also, the company changed its name back to McAfee to reflect its focus on security-related technologies.

Among other companies bought and sold by McAfee (formerly known as Network Associates) is Trusted Information Systems, which developed the Firewall Toolkit, which was the free software foundation for the commercial Gauntlet Firewall, which was later sold by McAfee to Secure Computing Corporation. Network Associates, as a result of brief ownership of TIS Labs/NAI Labs/Network Associates Laboratories/McAfee Research, was highly influential in the world of Open Source software, as that organization produced portions of the Linux, FreeBSD, and Darwin operating systems, and developed portions of the BIND name server software and SNMP version 3.

Leading up to the TIS Labs acquisition, McAfee had acquired Calgary, Alberta, Canada-based FSA Corporation, which helped the company diversify its security offerings away from just client-based antivirus software by bringing on board its own network and desktop encryption technologies. The FSA team also oversaw the creation of a number of other technologies that were leading edge at the time, including firewall, file encryption, and public key infrastructure product lines. While those product lines had their own individual successes including PowerBroker (written by Dean Huxley and Dan Freedman and now sold by BeyondTrust), the growth of antivirus ware always outpaced the growth of the other security product lines. It is fair to say that the company remains best known for its antivirus and antispam product lines.

On June 9, 1998 Network Associates agreed to acquire Dr Solomon's Group PLC, the leading European manufacturer of antivirus software, for $642 million in stock.

On April 2, 2003, McAfee acquired IntruVert Networks for $100 million. According to Network World, "IntruVert's technology focus is on intrusion-prevention, which entails not just detecting attacks, but blocking them. The IntruVert product line can be used as a passive intrusion-detection system, just watching and reporting, or it can be used in the intrusion-prevention mode of blocking a perceived attack."

On January 4, 2006, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed suit against McAfee for overstating its 1998–2000 net revenue by $622 million. Without admitting any wrongdoing, McAfee simultaneously settled the complaint, and agreed to pay a $50 million penalty and rework its accounting practices.

On April 5, 2006, McAfee bought out SiteAdvisor for a reputed $70 million in competition with Symantec, a service that warns users if downloading software or filling out forms on a site may obtain malware or spam. In January 2006, McAfee agreed to pay a fine of US$50 million to the SEC for accounting fraud known as channel stuffing that served to inflate their revenue to their investors.

In October 2006 McAfee fired their president Kevin Weiss, and their CEO George Samaneuk resigned under the cloud of a recent SEC investigation which also caused the departure of Kent Roberts, the General Counsel, earlier in the year. In late December 2006 both Weiss and Samaneuk had share option grant prices revised upwards by McAfee's board. Weiss and Roberts were both exonerated of all wrongdoing from the claims of McAfee in 2009.

In January 2007 under pressure from ex-employees world wide, several of which backed a class action in the United States, McAfee agreed to honor share options granted, but which are unable to be exercised due to the self-imposed blackout on employee options dealing.

On November 19, 2007, McAfee agreed to purchase SafeBoot for $350 million. SafeBoot was at the time one of the leading providers of encryption software to protect information stored on laptops, PDA's, etc. from exposure if the device was lost.

On September 22, 2008, McAfee announced its intention to acquire Secure Computing. The combined company will form the world's largest dedicated security company.

On March 17, 2010, McAfee launched Cloud Secure program, a new service for Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) providers to add additional security to their cloud deployments.The new program includes cloud security certification services that are provided on an annual basis and will include existing security controls, processes and certifications, as well as future cloud security standards; and automatic and daily security audits, remediation of vulnerabilities and reporting of the security status of their service and network using the McAfee Cloud Secure service.

On April 21, 2010, beginning at approximately 14:00 UTC, millions of computers worldwide running Windows XP Service Pack 3 were affected by an erroneous virus definition file update by McAfee, resulting in the removal of a Windows system file (svchost.exe) on those machines, causing machines to lose network access and, in some cases, enter a reboot loop. Mcafee rectified this by removing and replacing the faulty DAT file, version 5958, with an emergency DAT file, version 5959 and has posted a fix for the affected machines in their consumer knowledge base. The University of Michigan's medical school reported that 8,000 of its 25,000 computers crashed. Police in Lexington, Ky., resorted to hand-writing reports and turned off their patrol car terminals as a precaution. Some jails canceled visitation, and Rhode Island hospitals turned away non-trauma patients at emergency rooms and postponed some elective surgeries. Australian supermarket behemoth Coles reported that 10 percent (1,100) of its point-of-sales terminals were affected and was forced to shut down stores in both western and southern parts of the country.

As a result of the outage, McAfee implemented additional QA protocols for any releases that directly impacted critical system files. The company also rolled out additional capabilities in Artemis that provide another level of protection against false positives by leveraging a whitelist of hands-off system files.

On August 19, 2010, Intel announced that it would buy McAfee for $48 a share in a deal valued at $7.68 billion.

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