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Symantec offers new protection

Symantec has released its latest security products, Norton Anti-virus 2008 and Norton Internet Security 2008, both with built-in Browser Defender and Norton Antibot.

Up to now, malware has been reported, taken in, and definitions issued for each one, says Con Mallon, Symantec regional product marketing director: consumer for EMEA.

“We don't have time or resources to do this anymore, as the amount of malware is escalating exponentially,” he says.

The latest Symantec Information Security Trend Report (ISTR) shows there were 200 000 bits of new malware found in the last six months alone, compared to the same six months in 2006, which showed only 70 000 new bits of malware.

“We are expecting 600 000 new bits of malware for this year alone,” he explains.

The new suite of products contains software that looks for behaviour specifics to identify what could be a threat, and stops them before they come through the browser.

Intelligent identification

“We are seeing about a 200% increase in new threats every six months. It takes time to find enough engineers to analyse them all, so we have built a more intelligent system,” Mallon says.

“Drive-by downloading has also become a huge issue, as the bad guys are now putting stuff on reputable Web sites,” he says. “It's not good enough to evade dodgy Web sites anymore, as you can automatically download malware by visiting any number of good Web sites.”

In a test performed by Google, it was found that of the 4.5 million Web sites surveyed, 450 000 were hosting malware, Mallon says. “That is a staggering one in 10.”

The Browser Defender software can spot if a drive-by download has taken place, and obfuscated threats are blocked completely, according to Mallon.

Going nowhere

“The new Norton products contain many capabilities designed to ensure your identity is protected in the severest way possible,” Mallon explains.

The software has password auto-fill and form-filling capabilities, and all these details are kept in a secure password store.

“We saw 2.3 billion phishing messages in the last six-month period, and this number is not going down,” states Mallon. “Cyber criminals will stop at nothing to steal your identity.”

The software is also integrated with phishing protection, an auto-login feature for trusted sites, and allows the user to store and use multiple personas.

Beyond the PC

Mallon states that because prices are going down on laptops, people have multiple PCs and laptops at home. “The new Norton packages can show you who is accessing your router and you can allow/disallow who you want.”

Next year there will be more smartphones sold than laptops, Mallon says, and although PC viruses outnumber mobile viruses, it is only a matter of time before there is a large-scale attack.

“Remember, with a smartphone there are multiple points of access, including 3G, MicroSD, Bluetooth and wireless methods,” he says.

“We took nine key competitors and ran tests, and our product has a faster setup, faster shutdown, uses less memory, and provides faster UI access and surfing capabilities,” Mallon concludes.

Both products are available on shelves this week. The suggested retail price for the Norton Anti-virus 2008 is R350 and Norton Internet Security 2008 is R550.

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