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McAfee To Take On Data Loss Prevention

McAfee's new CEO says the company mainly known for antivirus software is poised to tackle the expensive and costly problem of data loss.

Saying data loss has reached epidemic proportions, Dave DeWalt, the new president and CEO of McAfee, said taking on the growing problem is going to be a "killer opportunity" for the security company. Speaking in a keynote presentation at Interop in Las Vegas this week and in a one-on-one interview with InformationWeek, DeWalt pointed out that McAfee is pushing outside of its traditional antivirus walls and moving headlong into the data-loss prevention arena.

"Probably not a day goes by when you can't go online and read, or pick up a newspaper and read about data loss and data theft," said DeWalt during his keynote speech, adding that data loss costs an estimated $40 billion a year. "Ninety percent of data loss happens electronically."

DeWalt's comments come on the heels of Alcatel-Lucent reporting this week that the company has called in the U.S. Secret Service to investigate a lost computer disk that holds critical identifying information on current and retired employees. A company spokesman said in an interview Tuesday that they're not sure how many current and former employees, along with their dependents, are affected by the loss, but explained that the disk contained information on current U.S.-paid employees who used to work for Lucent and retirees who used to work for Lucent.

The disk, she said, includes names, addresses, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, and salary data.

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