Article, August 2009
Symantec today released public beta-test editions of
Norton Internet Security 2010 and Norton AntiVirus 2010.
By Ira Wilsker, APCUG Director;
Columnist, The Examiner, Beaumont, TX; Radio & TV Show Host
[The public beta-test editions of Norton Internet Security 2010 and Norton AntiVirus 2010 will focus on reputation-based malware detection—a technology that can detect zero-day malware that's never been seen before.]
by Neil J. Rubenking
Symantec today released public beta-test editions of Norton Internet Security 2010 and Norton AntiVirus 2010. Featuring a new protection model codenamed Quorum and a new focus in the user interface, these new products "mark a significant shift in the way the global leader in security software will protect computer users from cyber crime," according to Symantec.
The 2010 editions will focus on reputation-based malware detection—a technology that can detect zero-day malware that's never been seen before—but won't discard existing signature-based detection for known threats. Senior Director of Product Management Dan Cole likened the system to a hybrid auto: Just as the auto uses electric power or gasoline based on current conditions, the security software will use reputation-based or signature-based detection as appropriate. SONAR 2, the intelligence system that manages this choice, "harnesses intelligence from all Norton features," Cole explained.
Cole went on to highlight some changes in the infection experience. Previous Norton products worked hard to stay unobtrusive, wiping out threats on sight and quietly notifying the user. If the threat was a Trojan or fake security product—something the user was tricked into downloading—this behavior might be confusing. In the 2010 editions a new experience code-named Autopsy will help the user understand exactly what happened, in as much detail as desired.
Norton Insight, an existing technology that identifies known good programs to speed scanning, gains some serious new features. It will now let users learn about the origins, activities, performance, and reputation for those known good applications, helping users who want to explore. "Anything we know, the user can know," said Cole.
Not every user will want to interact with this new fount of information, though. To keep the main window simple, Symantec has placed much of the detail on the "back" of the window: clicking a corner flips the window over to reveal these additional features.
Parental control and spam filtering have been the Norton suite's weak spots for some years; both get a makeover in the new edition. As part of the license, NIS 2010 users will receive a free subscription to OnlineFamily.Norton, Symantec's recently released Web-based parental-control system. In PCMag's testing, this product was highly effective and easy to use. The new spam filter, based on BrightMail's technology, will more accurately identify spam without requiring any training.
"Symantec is in a unique position to bring this approach to market due to our unmatched installed base and the fact that we've had teams of engineers developing and refining this technology for the past three years," said Rowan Trollope, Symantec senior vice president, Consumer Business Unit. "No other vendor's approach to consumer protection comes close. Our new approach changes the rules by both enhancing traditional security techniques to make them more aggressive and by making it dramatically more difficult for attackers to evade detection by simply changing their malware."
Norton Internet Security 2010 beta is available now at http://www.norton.com/nis2010beta; Norton AntiVirus 2010 beta is at http://www.norton.com/nav2010beta. Both products will be fully Windows 7-compatible upon their final release, anticipated in fall 2009. Users with current subscriptions will receive the update at no extra cost.
Look for a hands-on report from PCMag in the next few days.
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