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Randy George
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McAfee's Cybercrime Response Unit Prepares For Launch

Few services can be had for free nowadays, but if you're a victim of identify fraud or data theft, add McAfee's new Cybercrime Response Unit to the list of resources you can utilize to aid your investigation.

Few services can be had for free nowadays, but if you're a victim of identify fraud or data theft, add McAfee's new Cybercrime Response Unit to the list of resources you can utilize to aid your investigation.The alarming increase in the incidents of identity fraud, credit card, and data theft has both private industry and government working to devise new ways to mitigate the risk. To its credit, McAfee is taking a leadership position through the development of a free resource that individuals and businesses can use to help investigate digital crimes. The McAfee CRU seeks to help victims understand and determine how a theft took place, while simultaneously educating and providing guidance on any legal remedies that might be applied to the issue.

According to Pamela Warren, cybercrime strategist for McAfee: "We have several smart people working behind the scenes to build the Cybercrime Response Unit. These include representatives from McAfee's support team, McAfee's Avert Labs, and McAfee's Foundstone group who are versed in mitigating crimes against companies. We also have an internal group of cybercrime experts as well as external advisors."

While the concept behind McAfee stepping in to help with such a huge problem is noble, one has to wonder if the true business model behind such an effort is simply to pitch more copies of VirusScan to its victims. After all, someone's going to have to pay for all of those smart people working behind the scenes. Those of us who've had to scan, diagnose, and repair virus and spyware-related problems know just how long it takes to recover. Will the CRU realistically be able to perform a thorough investigation and remediate these issues on a worldwide scale ... for free?

Sounds like Shangri-La to me, but if the CRU operates as advertised, it will be a tremendous resource for everyone, including the government, as all of us who work in network security try to figure out the best way to prevent risk and systematically clean up the mess once theft already has taken place.

Keep an eye out for the CRU to open its doors in the first half of 2009 to U.S.-based customers only. Expansion of the CRU worldwide is planned sometime thereafter.

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