Symantec releases Norton 360
NEW YORK, NY From a personal computer safety standpoint, you must feel much more secure after downloading, installing and running Windows Defender from Microsoft, right?

Well, not so fast, hacker boy. Seems the “defense” in Windows Defender is playing a lot like the Edmonton Oiler defense these days and ‘round here, we’re calling that (insert colorful adjective here) “porous.”

“Windows Defender catches only 55% of spyware,” says Rowan Trollope, vice president of Consumer Products and Solutions at Cupertino, CA-based Symantec Corporation.

This contrasts with a 92% “rating” which Trollope and Symantec scores in its newest security suite application called, Norton 360 which was released last week at a splashy event at the Top of the Rock (Rockefeller Center) here in Manhattan. Symantec called this event its biggest product launch ever after thoroughly putting the application suite through its paces with over 100,000 beta testers Norton 360 is one of the three major consumer security application suites that home users will most likely purchase in 2007. The other two are Total Protection from McAfee and Microsoft’s Windows Live OneCare, which was released last January. There are differences as well as similarities among the products and next month we’ll do a side by side comparison of them. In the meantime, Norton 360 grabbed immediate attention when it won February’s CNET Editors Choice Award just days after the suite was released.

The consumer market for security Symantec calls this group “The Digital Family” - is huge, hot and ready to be dominated by a killer security application; preferably in a “suite” of applications that provide several functions in a single interface. The winner in this area will have the right price, the best packaging, the most understandable support staff and above all, the easiest-to-use, not-in-your-face application that really walks the walk. Even though most home users have some sort of protection, there are all kinds of lapses.

“40% of consumer systems are not adequately protected,” adds Trollope. He’s right, too. After all, how many people have turned off their firewall because it was too much of an annoyance, or have absolutely no plan when it comes to backup?

Now for the record, the definition of “security” has changed significantly from a few years ago when the biggest fear was a virus launched by a pimply faced, anti social geek from Prague who only created a file erasing program because he wanted to impress his equally goofy friends.

“There is no more hacking for fame,” says Trollope, who adds that,”Four out of five attacks are designed to steal something from your computer.”

In other words today’s hackers won’t do any damage to your system and simply want to take password, identity or bank information from you. Another scheme is to do something sneaky, like launch SPAM or DOS (Denial of Service) attacks from your hijacked PC. Screwing up your hard drive is old news and who can remember the last time there was a really good, email-grabbing, disk- formatting virus anyway?

Security today means file and system backup; an area the Digital Family is woefully weak at. One of the best features of Norton 360 is a 2 gigabyte, offsite storage area where you can back up and send your photos, music, contacts, & financial documents to. It is included in the (all figures US) $79.99 price which, by the way, protects three personal computers. There are options to purchase additional GB’s of offsite storage, too and you can bet Symantec will be pushing this off site backup feature big time in its marketing wars with you-know-who from Redmond.

Besides backup, Norton comes with antivirus, antispyware, anti-phishing; online identity protection, Web site authentication and Two Way Firewall. Its transaction security safeguards you against online identity theft and a PC tune-up keeps your PC um, tuned up. Perhaps one of the nicest features is the free, live chat support and support via email; although email support is generally notoriously slow.

Other notes about 360? For starters, it is only for users of Windows XP and Windows Vista and does not work with Mozilla’s Firefox. Also gone is LiveUpdate all updates are done automatically and are transparent to the user - and by the way, when you install the suite, it disables all other anti-spyware and antivirus you may have running.

So, if you were running Windows Defender, it now stops that service from protecting your PC. Not that it was doing a good job of that anyway.

Gregory B. Michetti of the Alberta-based systems integration firm Michetti Information Solutions, Inc. can be reached via www.michetti.com.
Posted on 12 Mar 2007 by Celeron
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