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“Online 911” created to diagnose and deal with cybercrime

When someone becomes the victim of cybercrime, it's often hard to know what to do next or to whom to turn. Even worse, people often don't even know they're a victim.

In response to these issues, McAfee on Tuesday launched a free Cybercriminal Response Unit (CRU), meant to serve as “online 911” where cybercrime is diagnosed and dealt with, Pamela Warren, McAfee's chief cybercrime strategist, told Monday.

The CRU is aimed at helping consumers and small businesses -- whether users believe they have clicked on a malicious link or have a child that is being cyber-bullied, the CRU can tell users where to turn for help. The site also provides resources to deal with a number of other problem scenarios, including stolen laptops, cyberstalking, online predators, and pop-up ads.

The CRU directs victims to the appropriate law enforcement, financial institutions and credit agencies to address their situation.

“The portal is very content-rich to help people understand where to go for help,” Warren said.

Warren said small-to-medium size businesses, which might not have the IT security resources or expertise of larger enterprises, could find the CRU most helpful. For small businesses, the CRU has a section on best practices businesses should take to avoid data loss. It also recommends authorities to contact in cases of intellectual property theft or copyright infringement.

“We have launched corporate initiatives around cybercrime, because it's been growing so dramatically, it's costing us so much money, and people are highly targeted now for their personal information,” Warren said.

Warren said that the CRU is vendor-neutral and will not mention any specific vendor product, so an end user can choose what works best for them.

“What is most important to us is to provide overall best practices and general recommendations for immediate remediation and longer-term, safer online behavior,” Warren said.

The CRU also includes a forensic scanning tool that assesses whether an individual is likely to be the victim of cybercrime, Warren said. The cybercrime scanner tells users if they're at high, medium or low risk of becoming a victim and gives insight on next steps they need to take for protection. In addition, agents will be available to assist victims by phone.

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