Take a Bite Out of Cyber Crime

More Bark, New "Byte" for Crime Dog McGruff; New Campaign Aims to Take a Bite Out of Cyber Crime

Top Brands and Media Form Coalition to Generate Broad Public Awareness of Information Security Issues Via TV, Radio, Print, P-O-S and the Web

Washington, DC (Sept. 12, 2006) - The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) today announces a new "Take a Bite Out of Cyber Crime" public awareness campaign (www.bytecrime.org) funded by a coalition of private sector partners. Featuring its popular McGruff the Crime Dog character, the campaign will help empower and rally millions of computer and digital device users in the battle against the continually growing plague of computer viruses, worms, spam, spyware, phishing, identity theft and online predators.

The campaign is a joint initiative of the NCPC, a leader in crime prevention since 1982, the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council, a global organization of 2,500 senior marketers at leading corporations, and the Forum to Advance the Mobile Experience (FAME), a special interest group of the CMO Council.

The program is sponsored and supported by a private sector coalition of leading brand marketers and media companies including: Intel (NASDAQ: INTC), McAfee (NYSE: MFE), VeriSign (NASDAQ: VRSN), USATODAY division of Gannett Co. (NYSE: GCI), CNET Network (NASDAQ: CNET) and Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA). The coalition will soon welcome additional marketers to help educate families, children, and teachers, as well as small and medium-sized businesses about how to avoid falling victim to the many blended digital threats that exist today.

"Information security has gone beyond warding off annoying spam and hacker intrusions - it's now about protecting our identities, and our finances, from thieves that exist specifically to commit cyber crime," said NCPC President and CEO Alfonso E. Lenhardt. "We look forward to contributing our expertise and our prevention icon, McGruff, in the fight to protect adults and children from cyber crime."

The problems are serious and widespread, according to recent studies and reports.

  • 81 percent of home computers lack core protection (National Cyber Security Alliance)
  • More than 100 million people, a third of the US population, have been affected by data compromises over the last 18 months (NCPC)
  • U.S. consumers are more worried about identity theft and fraud than about personal safety or terrorist attacks (CMO Council)
  • Computer crime is estimated to cost $67 billion a year (Federal Bureau of Investigation)
  • The McGruff Take a Bite Out of Cyber Crime campaign will:

    • Increase public awareness of the problem and drive a majority of America's computer-using households to visit the campaign's web site at www.bytecrime.org, which will be chock full of information, tools, and software that people can use to help protect their digital assets and real-world identities
    • Develop an extensive public service announcement campaign related to cyber security and safety that will reach a wide audience via print, online, radio and TV
    • Distribute 500,000 educational booklets through digital downloads and other channels
    • Train 20,000 elementary and middle school students at 5,000 schools and hundreds of boys and girls clubs
    • Mobilize leading basketball, ice hockey and soccer sports franchises to mount "Guard Your HomeNet with McGruff" programs
    • Leverage National Crime Prevention and Computer Learning month with widely publicized McGruff visits to a broad range of events, including the Digital Life exposition at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York in October

    "We're excited about the impact and potential of this coalition campaign to bring McGruff to the cyber crime scenes of America," said Donovan Neale-May, Executive Director of the CMO Council. "McGruff is a legendary character with enduring appeal and credibility. The media, sports franchise, education, crime prevention and private sector partners involved in this initiative have formidable reach and access to audiences at risk to having their digital lives compromised. As a result, we expect to put more bite into the fight against cyber crime in the months ahead."

    The initial group of sponsors touches every corner of the technology user community, drawing in software developers and hardware makers, plus broadcast, online and print media. Intel ships hundreds of millions of microprocessors every year and powers an estimated 80 percent of the world's personal computers. McAfee digital security software protects 20 million computer users. VeriSign secures billions of transactions per year at over 500,000 web sites. And USA TODAY, CNET and Comcast are visited or connect with consumers over 584 million times each year.