MSN Messenger to have McAfee.com section

In conjunction with Microsoft Corp.'s launch of Windows XP, McAfee.com Corp., the managed services division of security giant Network Associates Inc., announced the McAfee Security Center for MSN Messenger, a tab in the instant messaging application that will provide users with real-time security information.

The Security Center will include McAfee.com virus alerts, information from the company's databases of virus information, a worldwide map of virus activity, information about McAfee's products, links to McAfee services and more, the company said in a statement. McAfee.com hopes to make end users more aware of viruses and other security threats, as well as the methods to combat them, company CEO Srivats Sampath said in an interview.

The Internet-focused nature of Windows XP, the operating system's focus on the exchange of documents and data and its push for broadband Internet access leaves users "extremely open to a lot of threats," Sampath said. Because of this, "you need to raise the level of awareness," which the Security Center does, he said. Having so much security information located in a frequently-used, communications-focused product can only further help spread awareness of security issues, he said.

In order to raise awareness even further, the Security Center will move beyond viruses to include information about security vulnerabilities in software and how to patch them by the end of the year, Sampath said. Future plans include integrating privacy information into the offering, he added.

Though McAfee.com would be open to including the Security Center in other messaging applications, Sampath said the company has no current plans to do so. The Security Center will not feature product information from other security vendors.

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