McGruff the Crime Dog Takes On Cybercriminals

McGruff the Crime Dog is going digital.

The 26-year-old mascot is the centerpiece of the National Crime Prevention Council's new campaign to "Take a Bite Out of Cyber Crime."

The Web site, formally launched Wednesday, offers a free, 36-page online brochure with tips.

• Click here to visit's Cybersecurity Center.

"The message remains the same: Do your part to prevent crime before it occurs," said Ann Harkins, the council's vice president for programs. "You start with lights, locks and alarms to protect your home. Now the equivalent is security to keep the bad guys out in cyberspace."

On the site, McGruff challenges people to immunize their computers by installing anti-virus, firewall and other software.

Discounts and free 30-day trials are offered through a partnership with security vendor McAfee Inc. (MFE)

The brochure, aimed at individuals and small businesses, covers a variety of dangers online — from malware to sexual predators — and the tools and techniques available for protection.

It also addresses special situations, such as surfing the Web from public terminals at cybercafes or telecommuting into office networks.