NEWS

McAfee Launches Cybercrime Unit

By John Wagley

McAfee has launched a new online center to help consumers and small businesses diagnose, remediate, and report cybercrimes.

Cybercrime has cost consumers about $8.5 billion in the past two years, McAfee said in a statement, citing a Consumer Reports study. The new Cybercrime Response Unit (CRU) is part of an ongoing McAfee effort to work more closely with law enforcement, said Dave DeWalt, McAfee president and CEO, speaking at the recent RSA conference in San Francisco.

The CRU Web site includes a questionnaire to help visitors determine if they have been victimized. Questions include whether users have seen any suspicious financial account transactions; whether they may have opened any suspicious e-mail file attachments; and whether their computers have been running unusually slowly, displaying pop-up advertisements, or having difficulty shutting down.

After the questionnaire, visitors can run an online scanning tool, which checks computers for activities including unauthorized connections and modifications, unwanted processes, and visits to suspicious Web sites.

Visitors might then be provided with credit agency and appropriate law enforcement contact information. In the most serious cases, a toll-free telephone number will be provided, linking users to dedicated CRU assistance staff. The Web site might also advise users to download Site Advisor, McAfee’s anti-phishing toolbar.

Because it markets McAfee in some ways, CRU might be seen as somewhat “self serving,” DeWalt said. But he said the fight against cybercrime will need a growing number of interlocking efforts between the public and private sectors.

“I hope I’m one CEO helping to make that work.”

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