McAfee Inc. has jazzed up its Web site with a new online portal designed to help users research a wide range of security problems, free of charge. Called the McAfee Threat Center, the portal was launched this month as part of a redesign of the McAfee.com Web site.

In addition to virus information, the portal contains updates from McAfee’s Avert Labs on spam, phishing, and spyware, as well as free tools and articles from McAfee security experts.

“The focus of the site previously was really on viruses and malware. Now it’s much more representative of all the areas we do in security research,” said David Marcus, security research and communications manager for McAfee Avert.

The new design is expected to be incorporated into McAfee’s regional Web sites around the world. Security researchers have no shortage of free information sources these days.

The U.S. government maintains a comprehensive information portal on security vulnerabilities at www.us-cert.gov, and security research firm The SANS Institute runs its own community-based information portal at isc.sans.org.

Companies are also using blogs as a way to share security information with customers. Last month, Oracle Corp. CSO Mary Ann Davidson launched her own blog.

McAfee Threat Center is found at this Web site .

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