Help Take a Bite -- Or Byte -- Out of Crime

Dennis Faas's picture

Remember McGruff? He's that salty old cartoon dog who vowed to "take a bite out of crime." Now he's chomping away at a different set of criminals: online predators and other cyberspace menaces.

Here's a frightening statistic from the McGruff Network: 70 percent of children under the age of 14 have been contacted by deviant individuals over the Internet that have only one thing on their mind. (Source: has been established to "teach millions of consumers how to identify, report, and protect themselves against Cyber Crime" and "combat the growing plague of computer viruses, worms, spam, spyware, phishing, identity theft and online predators." (Source:

"We wanted to focus on the prevention side, rather than cleaning up afterwards," said Jennifer Heisler of the McGruff Network. To achieve that, the organization will be offering reduced prices on McAfee's line of antivirus and security software to everyone involved in the Byte Crime program. The exact details of the discount, however, have yet to be determined. (Source:

McAfee isn't alone in its support for the new cyber crime network. Intel is working with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the Latino community, while USA Today and CNET are spreading the word by running ads. Comcast, Intel, and VeriSign are also on board -- and Byte Crime is hoping to attract even more sponsors to its cause.

The McGruff Network will encourage kids to be proactive by appointing 20,000 "Junior CyberGuards" to find and report online crimes. The pint-sized crime-fighters will team up with "Cyber Crime Scene Investigators." At this point, there's no system in place to reward these child volunteers, but that may end up changing. (Sources: and

If you want to take a bite -- or byte -- out of crime, you can sign up at

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