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Symantec Updates PC Security To Face New Threats

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIF. — Symantec has updated its line of Norton Internet security products.

The launch includes improved versions of Norton Internet Security, Anti-Virus, 360 and 360 Multi-Device. All become available at retail and direct from Symantec on Sept. 4.

• Norton 360 Multi-Device, $99.99, provides one year of protection for up to five devices.

• Norton 360, $89.99, provides one year of protection for up to three PCs.

• Norton Internet Security, $79.99, provides one year of protection for up to three PCs.

• Norton AntiVirus, $49.99, provides one year of protection for one PC.

Robert Reynolds, Symantec’s senior product director, said the upgrade takes into consideration the changing threat landscape that has criminals refining older attacks or porting them to smartphones and tablets, many of which remain unprotected due to consumer ignorance.

Reynolds noted that attacks directly from the Internet via infected websites are up 30 percent in 2013. However, the real issue is 53 percent of the infected websites that pass along the attack are actually legitimate sites that consumers would not normally have to worry about.

“Web attacks are now much more sophisticated, and they are attacking the web servers, implanting code that only attacks specific visitors and remain invisible to the administrator,” Reynolds said.

In addition, Symantec has found there are new ways being used by attackers to gain entry into a computer. These include fake surveys, offers, plug-ins and “like-jacking,” all of which convince the user to give up some level of information. Reynolds said many of these are not truly malicious, but just grab basic personal information that can then be sold. Also being used are USB drives, ZIP files and apps.

Finally, criminals know that security software keeps an eye on a device’s processes and shuts them down when they begin to do something malicious, so now the malicious activity is piggybacked onto a trusted process to spoof the security system.

To counter all of these threats, Norton’s security engine now takes a more in-depth look at the reputation of the incoming path, be it physical or software, Reynolds said. In addition, Norton’s Sonar anti-virus tool has been upgraded to spot malware that is using trusted software by diving further into a device’s processes and taking protective action when the malware attempts certain action, like modifying the registry or firewall.

Despite all the protection now available, there are still times when it fails and a computer becomes heavily infected, Reynolds said. To help restore a computer to its healthy state, Symantec has improved Norton’s repair function. Using data stored in the Cloud, the repair program attempts to match it with the last known safe version of the computer’s software programs. It then downloads the safe version, restoring the computer to its original state.

Other improvements include leaving a smaller footprint on the hard drive, improving boot time by 15 percent, 1.4 percent less memory use, and a quick system scan completing in less than 8.5 seconds.