Who needs Symantec and McAfee? Crime dog McGruff is on the network security job

Trenchcoat-wearing canine pushes firewalls and antivirus software.

McGruff is sick of Americans dogging it on cybercrime.

The tough-talking crime dog, who has been used to fight more traditional varieties of unlawfulness over the last 26 years (that's 117 dog years), is at the heart of a new National Crime Prevention Council effort to get people "to protect their digital assets and real-world identities" by getting smarter about cyberspace.

McGruff had a big week, ringing the closing bell at the Nasdaq stock market Wednesday and launching a new educational Web site Monday called Take a Bite Out of Cyber Crime. The site includes tip sheets and information for Junior CyberGuards to learn about online security from an early age. McGruff challenges computer users, including mobile-device users, to install programs such as antivirus and firewall software to protect their systems.

There's no word yet whether McGruff might be sniffing around at any of the national cybersecurity posts that the Bush administration has had difficulty filling and keeping filled. Recently, the Department of Homeland Security named Greg Garcia as its cybersecurity czar, or more technically, its assistant secretary for cybersecurity and telecommunications and overseer of the department’s National Cyber Security Division.

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