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Publication Date: 2206
Report Type: VENDOR
McAfee, which started out in the 1990s as a security vendor known for
antivirus software, has been through a number of corporate changes over the past
few years. Owned by Intel between 2010 and 2017, the company was spun off to be
a private company then publicly traded on Nasdaq and, since early 2022, is now
private again. Despite all the high-level maneuverings, McAfee’s software and
technology have consistently been used to provide enhanced protection for its
report takes a look at McAfee’s latest news, main product offerings, and
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Name: McAfee LLC
6220 America Center Drive.
San Jose, CA 95002
Type: Network Security/Availability and Management Software
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McAfee Associates was founded by John
McAfee in 1987 and later became Network Associates after merging with PGP
Corporation and Network General. McAfee grew into a security technology market
leader through various acquisitions. Intel announced in 2010 that it would
acquire McAfee in a deal valued at $7.7 billion. In 2014, Intel begin phasing out the McAfee
name, which many expected was an attempt to distance itself from its
who had been uninvolved in the company for more than 20 years at that point. The name
was changed to Intel Security, which was a wholly-owned subsidiary within
Intel’s Software and Services Operating Segments.
In April 2017, Intel spun the unit off as a private company, but continued to own a 49 percent
stake in the company. At this point, the firm returned to its original and best
known name. By late 2020, McAfee was back to being a publicly traded entity
listed on Nasdaq, but this didn’t last long. In November 2021, an investment group
led by Advent International Corporation announced its intention to acquire McAfee in
a deal worth $14 billion, completing the takeover in March 2022.
Once a leading supplier of security products to enterprises, boasting 86 of the Fortune 100 as
customers, McAfee sold its Enterprise business division in an all-cash deal valued at $4 billion
in early 2021, pushing the firm further into the consumer cybersecurity market for which it
primarily known. Now, McAfee’s products consist of security tools for personal
computers, networks, and mobile devices. Its product lines follow the threat defense
lifecycle to defend against emerging threats.
As of 2022, McAfee boasts over 108 million customers, approximately 1,800
employees, and says that it secures more than 600 million endpoints for its
History and Milestones
McAfee has quite a history of name changes and it’s most interesting
development occurred when Intel acquired it in 2010. The company has since been
spun-off and is independent of Intel. Some of McAfee’s major milestones include
- 1987 – John McAfee establishes McAfee Associates.
- 1997 – Network Associates is formed from the merger of McAfee,
Network General, and PGP.
- 1998 – Network Associates acquires Dr. Solomon’s Group, a European
manufacturer of antivirus software.
- 2003 – Network Associates purchases IntruVent Networks, an
intrusion prevention company, for $100 million.
- 2004 – Network Associates sells off its Magic help desk software
division to BMC Software and its Sniffer network management software to two
investment firms. It also changes its name back to McAfee.
- 2006 – The Securities and Exchange Commission files suit against
McAfee for inflating its revenues between 1998 and 2000 by $622 million.
McAfee agrees to settle the suit for $50 million without admitting any
- 2007 – McAfee buys SafeBoot, an encryption vendor, for $350
- 2008 – McAfee announces plans to purchase Secure Computing. The
acquisition creates the world’s largest security company at that time.
- 2010 – A buggy McAfee update for Windows XP causes computers around
the world to shut down after a virus definition file deleted the svchost.exe
file. … McAfee announces plans to acquire Trust Digital and tenCube. Both were
privately held companies. … Intel purchases McAfee for $7.7 billion. McAfee
becomes a wholly-owned subsidiary of Intel.
- 2011 – McAfee acquires Sentrigo and NitroSecurity.
- 2013 – McAfee says it will acquire Stonesoft, a firewall company in
Finland for $389 million.
- 2014 – Intel announces that it will change the McAfee subsidiary’s
name to Intel Security.
- 2015 – Intel Security and Honeywell partner up to help protect
critical industrial infrastructures from cybersecurity threats.
- 2017 – Intel spins McAfee off as a standalone company but continues
to own a 49 percent share in it. A private equity firm owns the remaining 51
percent. … McAfee, along with its partner InfoReliance, is awarded a
managed cybersecurity services contract from the US Army to enhance security
for global infrastructure and 1.4 million endpoints. The five-year, $182
million contract is being managed by InfoReliance and delivered by
- 2018 – McAfee acquires TunnelBear, a consumer VPN company, and
Skyhigh Networks, which protected data across cloud services. Terms of both
acquisitions were not publicly disclosed. … The Department of Defense
awarded a $551 million enterprise-wide contract for McAfee’s products and
services for use within the federal agency.
- 2019 – Plans a return as a publicly traded company, but puts those
plans on hold due to the uneven performance of similar tech IPOs. Considers an outright
sale of the company, potentially splitting its business and consumer units to entice
- 2020 – Peter Leav is named CEO, replacing Chris Young. … Acquires
Light Point Security, a browser isolation vendor. … Company founder John McAfee is
arrested in Spain on tax evasion charges brought by the US government; McAfee is subsequent
found dead in his Spanish jail cell while awaiting extradition, an apparent suicide. …
Sells its Enterprise business division to a consortium led by Symphony Technology Group
in an all-cash deal valued at $4 billion. The company will now focus primarily on consumer
- 2021 – Sells its Enterprise business division to a consortium led by
Symphony Technology Group (STG) in an all-cash deal valued at $4 billion. The
combined entity will provide cybersecurity analytics and institutional
protection for businesses and government entities, while McAfee will focus
primarily on consumer security products. … McAfee announced it will be
acquired by a consortium led by US private equity firm Advent International,
who will take the company private in a $14 billion deal.
- 2022 – The merged McAfee Enterprise-FireEye entity is renamed Trellix.
… Advent International completes its acquisition of McAfee … Severing a
final link with its former parent, McAfee Enterprise’s (now Trellix) Security Service Edge
(SSE) business is renamed Skyhigh Security. … Appoints Greg Johnson as chief executive
officer to succeed Peter Leav.
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McAfee’s goal is to secure its customers’ digital experience against cyberthreats, using proprietary advanced
artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities combined with real-time threat intelligence. The key
elements of the company’s growth strategy are:
- Continue to drive subscriber acquisition in what the company feels is an underpenetrated consumer digital
protection market. The company added 2.7 million net new subscribers in 2021 (15% year-over-year growth)1.
To support customer retention, McAfee says it will invest in and leverage its brand and direct marketing effectiveness
as well as educate consumers during their cybersecurity purchase lifecycle through various sales and marketing efforts.
- Drive sales through direct-to-customer channels, investing in digital and performance marketing motions. A key factor
will be expanding relationships with communications service providers and ISPs to utilize cross-platform functionality of
the company’s solutions.
- Enhance and tailor the subscriber conversion and renewal process to build a loyal installed base by using performance
marketing and other digital marketing approaches.
- Invest in personal protection and enhance the consumer security platform and user experience by creating a personalized
security experience that provides easy-to-use solutions across all online activities, devices and platforms.
- Continue to pursue targeted acquisitions that have a strong potential to enhance the company’s digital protection platform.
Despite a series of name changes over three decades, the McAfee brand has been a trusted provider of
cybersecurity products for hundreds of millions of consumers. This brand recognition continues to drive
customer loyalty and bolsters mutually-beneficial longstanding partner relationships. In addition, the massive
security footprint it provides to 600 million smartphones, tablets, home gateways, and smart / Internet of Things
(IoT) devices creates a vast amount of data that is fed into the company’s intelligence and insights engine to
enhance machine learning, deep learning, and artificial intelligence capabilities.
McAfee is known for continuously analyzing an ever-evolving global threat landscape to develop products that
aim to defend against the latest sophisticated and stealthy attacks.
Over time, the company has developed longstanding exclusive partnerships with many of the leading PC and
mobile original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), retail and e-commerce sites, network providers, and search
providers. These varied routes to the market enable McAfee to reach the consumer at several crucial moments
in their subscription lifecycle.
Since 2017, McAfee has had three different owners and bounced from a publicly traded company to a private company,
back to being listed on Nasdaq and then taken private again. Such corporate transitions often come with changes in
leadership, and McAfee has been proof of that with three CEOs at the helm since the company was spun off from Intel.
Changes at the top also mean changes in other upper management positions and follow-on effects for line employees who
become concerned about the future and may seek other employment. If the company is unable to attract, train, motivate,
and retain senior management and other qualified personnel, the business will suffer. But it is increasingly difficult,
time consuming, and expensive to identify, recruit, and onboard key management and other critical personnel, with
competition for highly skilled personnel at an all-time high. The company admits, “We have experienced significant
turnover over the last few years and expect that may continue. The loss of one or more of our key employees could
seriously harm our business.”2
Along with ownership changes, the significant shift in business orientation brought on by the sale of the
McAfee Enterprise unit and the move to a purely consumer-oriented customer base contains risks. The Enterprise
business generated approximately 46 percent of company revenue in fiscal 2020 and 51 percent in FY 2019.3
Although a private company, future financial results will differ significantly with the loss of that revenue,
and any downturn in the consumer business will have material adverse effects on the company’s financial condition.
The cybersecurity market is continually evolving and becoming increasingly competitive. Not only are there
multiple companies trying to develop the latest and most secure products to deal with the latest and most invasive
threats, but customer preferences and requirements are also constantly changing. McAfee must forever innovate to
keep up with both threats and the frequent and rapid technological developments including new mobile devices and
cloud options or the up-and-down demand in the PC market. In addition to providing end-users with the latest, most
secure solutions, McAfee also partners with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), ISPs, and mobile carriers to
bundle services with their offerings. This is a lucrative market segment, and one in which all of McAfee’s leading
competitors are trying to land the biggest deal. Many such channel partner agreements, however, are nonexclusive
and may be terminated by a vendor at any time without cause or renegotiated on less favorable terms.
Finally, cybersecurity firms themselves are often targets of those trying to gain information or the latest
tools to make their attacks more successful and lucrative. Should a state-sponsored organization or criminal
network penetrate McAfee’s network (as occurred with FireEye in 2020), not only could source code and other data
be stolen or destroyed, but the company’s brand and reputation would be harmed with the likelihood of financial
impacts and the possibility of criminal liability.
With the sale of its Enterprise unit, the company is now centered on the business that made it famous
in the first place — protecting individual consumers from online threats. At the time of the sale,
then-CEO Peter Leav said that the move “will unleash our consumer business as our singular focus going
forward.” Prior to the sale, the organization’s consumer business revenue grew 24 percent year-over-year
to $1.6 billion in in fiscal 2020. Taking an aggressive stance, Leav went on to say that the market will
reach $19 billion by 2024.4
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McAfee offers information technologies to protect data for organizations of
all sizes. The vendor’s key product lines are detailed in the table below.
||Provides advanced monitoring for faster and
broader identity protection, automated privacy VPN that turns on
automatically for unsafe networks, protection score with security tips, and
personal data cleanup that removes information from high-risk data broker
||Expert help for viruses and malware, software installation and configuration, and operating system issues via phone or chat.|
||Detects and eliminates virues, Trojans, spyware,
and other malware from PCs. Applies security updates to the operating system
and security software when necessary. Available only for Windows.
The security space is a vast one, with numerous vendors vying for market
share. McAfee faces stiff competition from other vendors who offer a
wealth of security offerings just like itself. The most notable competitors are as follows:
Trend Micro: https://www.trendmicro.com/
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Mergers, Acquisitions, and Divestitures
McAfee Corp. announced the completion of its acquisition by an investor group led by
Advent International Corporation and funds advised by Permira, Crosspoint Capital Partners L.P., Canada Pension Plan Investment
Board, GIC Private Limited, and a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. As part of the transaction, Bruce
Chizen, senior advisor at Permira, will become chairman of McAfee’s board of directors. On November 8, 2021, the investor group
announced the acquisition of all outstanding shares of McAfee common stock in an all-cash transaction valued at over $14 billion.
As a result of the transaction, McAfee is no longer a publicly traded company. McAfee has notified NASDAQ of the completion of the
acquisition and requested that NASDAQ file a notification of delisting with the Securities and Exchange Commission on McAfee’s
McAfee said it would be acquired by an investor group for around $12 billion in cash, about a
year after the security-software company went public. The deal is being led by Advent International Corp., Permira Advisers LLC,
Crosspoint Capital Partners, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, GIC Pte. Ltd., and a wholly owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi
Investment Authority. Upon completion of the deal, McAfee said it would be a privately held company and would continue as a pure-play
consumer cybersecurity company following the sale of McAfee’s Enterprise business to private-equity firm Symphony Technology Group for
$4 billion, which closed on July 27. McAfee said it expects the deal to close in the first half of 2022.
McAfee Corp. has entered an agreement to sell its Enterprise business division to a consortium
led by Symphony Technology Group in an all-cash deal valued at $4 billion. McAfee’s products are currently used by 86 of the Fortune
100 firms around the world and were responsible for $1.3 billion in net revenue in fiscal year 2020, according to the company’s statement.
Divesting of its enterprise assets pushes the firm further into the consumer cybersecurity market for which it is primarily known. “This
transaction will allow McAfee to singularly focus on our consumer business and to accelerate our strategy to be a leader in personal security
for consumers,” said Peter Leav, McAfee’s president and chief executive officer. The acquisition is the second purchase of a legacy security
brand for Symphony Technology Group in little more than a year. In February 2020, the private equity firm bought RSA from Dell in a deal valued
at $2 billion. The McAfee Enterprise purchase is anticipated to close by the end of 2021, with the unit to be rebranded.
McAfee plans to acquire Light Point Security, a browser isolation vendor. Financial terms were
not disclosed. Light Point Security’s offering protects users from ransomware and credential phishing attacks by isolating browser
sessions in a remote virtual environment outside of the corporate network. Light Point Security utilizes proprietary technology to
deliver complete isolation, preventing elements of a page from reaching or being able to attack a client browser.
Products and Services
McAfee researchers have uncovered a cyber espionage campaign targeting telecommunications companies
around the world. The effort uses malicious downloads to steal sensitive data, including information about 5G technology, from compromised
victims. Dubbed Operation Diànxùn, the attacks have focused on telecoms in Southeast Asia, Europe, and the United States. McAfee says the
attackers use a phishing Web site masquerading as a Huawei employment recruiting page to target individuals working in the industry. This
site contains the malware masquerading as a Flash application. Clicking on the link for the Flash app leads to another malicious domain named
“flach.cn” that was made to look like the official China flash.cn Web page to download the software. McAfee attributes the work to the Chinese
threat groups RedDelta and Mustang Panda, who have been observed implementing similar techniques and procedures with other campaigns. McAfee
also emphasizes that “We have no evidence that the technology company Huawei was knowingly involved in this campaign.”
McAfee released updates to the MVISION platform. MVISION is now available with Unified Cloud Edge,
which protects enterprise data across devices, the Web, and the cloud. McAfee is also launching a global Managed Detection and Response (MDR)
platform called MVISION EDR. DXC Technology will be McAfee’s first strategic MDR partner to use the MVISION EDR offering to detect cyber
threats faced by customers and resolve security incidents faster.
McAfee debuted MVISION Cloud for Containers, which integrates container security with the
vendor’s Cloud Access Security Broker and Cloud Security Posture Management. MVISION Cloud continuously monitors the production
deployments of container workloads to ensure configuration drift does not compromise the security of the applications.
McAfee announced updates to MVISION Cloud for Microsoft Azure, which includes security scans
for Azure Resource Manager templates and integration with developer tools. In addition MVISION Cloud is now Certified for Microsoft
Teams, meaning that partners and customers can allow employees to collaborate on the cloud-native security platform while enforcing
capabilities they need to keep data safe.
Buran, a Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) family, emerged in May and has been assessed by McAfee
researchers. The threat author takes 25% of the income earned by affiliates and is willing to negotiate that rate with anyone who can
guarantee an impressive level of infection with Buran. Ads for Buran state that all affiliates will have a personal arrangement with
the threat author. Buran is coded in Delphi, which McAfee noted is difficult to reverse-engineer, and it originated from the VegaLocker
Continued analysis of the Sodinokibi (aka Revil) Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) by McAfee
gives details on the size of the campaign and its associated revenue. The research team followed a ransomware affiliate’s trail of
money based on transaction IDs posted by a different affiliate. The average ransom payment was between 0.44 and 0.45 bitcoin ($4,000 USD).
McAfee could view ransomware payments being made and revenue splits between the affiliate and the RaaS operators.
McAfee announced enhancements to its MVISION portfolio: Cloud, Endpoint, EDR (Endpoint Detection
and Response), and ePO (ePolicy Orchestrator). MVISION Cloud offers extended threat protection along with recommendations and workflows
to bolster security posture and maturity. MVISION Endpoint Security and MVISION Endpoint Detection and Response are converging with
features that include artificial intelligence-guided investigations mapped to the MITRE ATT&CK Framework and rollback remediation which
returns an endpoint back to a previously known healthy state following changes made by malware. MVISION ePO now includes management of
native encryption and native approval flows. In addition, McAfee has converged its MVISION Cloud, Web Gateway, and Data Loss Prevention
offering to be available through the MVISION ePO platform.
McAfee analyzed the Sodinokibi (also known as REvil) Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS), which is
most likely the work of the GandCrab ransomware authors. The Sodinokibi creator had access to GandCrab source code, among other things.
Both ransomware families have similar functionality and both variants offer patterns and flows that resemble each other. In a separate
post, McAfee explains how some of GandCrab’s affiliates – individuals who use the RaaS to generate victims for the malware’s developers –
have moved on to Sodinokibi since this is considered a highly profitable infection method.
McAfee debuted its latest consumer security portfolio, which includes enhanced features for privacy
and security. Safe Connect, has been enhanced with app level protection and auto-connecting which activates McAfee’s VPN service when
connecting to untrusted Wi-Fi networks. The VPN service will also be included with Total Protection (10 device version) and LiveSafe.
Protective capabilities against malicious coin mining have been included with Cryptojacking Blocker. Finally, the vendor introduced Gamer
A new type of Android malware is blamed for attacking Korean and Japanese users through the MoqHao phishing
campaign (also known as Roaming Mantis). The spyware has very different payloads from the existing MoqHao
samples. McAfee found evidence of a connection between the distribution method used for the existing campaign
and this new spyware. All the spyware masquerades as security applications targeting users in Japan and Korea.
McAfee discovered a phishing page related to a DNS hijacking attack, designed to trick the user into installing
the new spyware, distributed on the Google Play store.
Canon and McAfee have partnered to provide embedded protection against malware execution and tampering
of firmware and applications for multifunction printers (MFPs). Through the partnership, Canon customers will
now receive McAfee Embedded Control as an additional standard security feature on third generation
imageRUNNER ADVANCE 3rd edition MFPs once enabled.
Alliances and Joint Ventures
McAfee is extending its partnership with Samsung to secure Samsung smartphones, including
the Galaxy S Series, Galaxy S20, and Galaxy Fold. These devices will come pre-installed with McAfee’s anti-malware protection. The
partnership also extends to Samsung’s PCs and laptops.
McAfee and Oracle have extended their partnership to deliver security incident and
events management performance capabilities in the cloud. With this collaboration, the to vendors claim that McAfee Enterprise
Security Manager technology running on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure will increase the rate of data ingestion of events per
second by more than 16 times.
McAfee has been selected by the Joint Authorization Board (JAB) for the
Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) Connect program. This means the McAfee MVISION
Cloud portfolio is being prioritized for FedRAMP High authorization based on demand from federal government
agencies and approval by the JAB. FedRAMP is a government-wide program that provides a standardized approach
to security assessment, authorization, and continuous monitoring for cloud products and service.
Personnel and Organizational
Jennifer Biry has been appointed executive vice president and chief financial officer with McAfee effective
June 20, 2022. Biry will succeed Venkat Bhamidipati and report directly to Greg Johnson, chief executive officer. Biry joins McAfee from WarnerMedia
where she served as executive vice president and chief financial officer. At WarnerMedia, Biry led all financial operations, procurement, real estate,
and global corporate strategy, including nearly $20 billion in annual investments.
McAfee Corp. announced that Greg Johnson has been appointed president and chief
executive officer, effective June 13, 2022. Johnson succeeds Peter Leav, who will be stepping down as President and CEO.
Johnson’s appointment comes as part of the company’s transition to a pure-play consumer protection company, which began
following the divestment of McAfee’s Enterprise security business in 2021. Johnson joins McAfee as a highly regarded
consumer technology leader, previously serving as executive vice president and general manager of Intuit. Prior to Intuit,
Johnson built extensive consumer growth experience in leadership roles for iconic brands including Kraft, Kodak, Best Buy,
Gillette, and Advanced Auto Parts.
Innovative software and antivirus developer John McAfee died in a Barcelona jail cell hours after a court approved his
extradition to the United States to face tax evasion charges. Reports from El Diario and the Associated Press indicate the
death was an apparent suicide. The 75 year old McAfee, who no longer had any connection to the
software company that bears his name, was arrested at Barcelona’s international airport in October and had been in jail
waiting the outcome of extradition proceedings. If convicted in the US, he could have faced a sentence of up to 30 years in
prison. McAfee was known for his eccentricities, having declared his intention to run for the US presidency twice and even
participating in the Libertarian Party presidential debates in 2016. McAfee contended that the charges against him were
politically motivated. He was also a fugitive from Belize, where he was wanted for questioning in a 2012 shooting.
Antivirus software innovator John McAfee has been arrested in Spain on tax evasion charges brought by the US government.
The arrest came within days of the Justice Department’s indictment outlining ten counts of failure to pay taxes and evading
“his tax liability by directing his income to be paid into bank accounts and cryptocurrency exchange accounts in the names of
nominees.” The DoJ further alleges McAfee attempted to evade the Internal Revenue Service by concealing assets such as real
estate and a yacht in the names of others. From 2014 to 2018, McAfee allegedly earned millions in income from promoting
cryptocurrencies, consulting work, speaking engagements, and selling the rights to his life story for a documentary, yet failed
to file any tax returns during the period. McAfee founded the McAfee software firm in 1987
but resigned in 1994, and the indictment does not claim that “McAfee received any income or had any connection with the anti-virus
company bearing his name.” McAfee’s extradition from Spain is pending, and the DoJ did not indicate when that might take place.
McAfee named Peter Leav to the position of CEO, effective February 3. Leav will
succeed Chris Young, who has decided to step down. Young will remain at McAfee in an advisory role to assist with the
transition and will become a senior advisor at TPG Capital. Leav will also be appointed to McAfee’s board of managers.
McAfee announced that Kathy Willard, the chief financial officer (CFO) of
Live Nation Entertainment, has joined its board of directors. A long-time leader at Live Nation, Willard was appointed
CFO in September 2007 after nine years with the company across roles that included executive vice president and chief
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1 "McAfee Corp. Form 10-K for the Fiscal Year Ended December 25, 2021." US Securities and Exchange Commission. February 2022.
4 Hardcastle, Jessica Lyons. "McAfee Sells Enterprise Security Biz for $4B." SDxCentral. March 8, 2021.
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