Symantec has introduced an all-in-one security product for Windows XP and Vista, dubbed Norton 360, that is designed to provide comprehensive PC protection with minimal user involvement.
Speaking at a launch event here earlier this month at Rockefeller Center's Rainbow Room, Symantec chairman/CEO John Thompson said the new product represents two years and 2 million man hours of development. Rather than bundle the company's current line of Norton utility products, Symantec created Norton 360 from the ground up.
The resulting all-in-one program provides antivirus, anti-spyware, firewall, intrusion protection, anti-phishing and performance tune-up services, plus 2GB of online storage for automatic backups. The functions use less system resources than prior Norton programs and can be readily accessed through a redesigned user interface. The program otherwise monitors the PC unobtrusively in the background, saving scans, backups and tune-ups for idle time, as determined by user input, CPU usage and disk activity.
The suggested retail is $80 for a one-year subscription and coverage on up to three PCs. Additional online storage can be purchased at $30 for 5GB, $50 for 10GB and $70 for 25GB, and optional add-on packs will also be available for sale. System requirements include a 300MHz or higher processor, 300MB of available hard disk space and at least 256MB of RAM.
Enrique Salem, group president of Symantec's consumer business unit, said the product was developed for today's typical computer users, who rely on their PCs for more than work or data storage. "Surfing the Web, banking online, shopping, keeping in touch with friends and family, listening to music and storing their favorite photos — Norton 360 was created with these activities in mind. It not only protects against traditional online threats," he said, "but it also helps secure users' identity when transacting online and safeguards valuable files like music and photos."
- Symantec's online network for advanced response (SONAR), which provides behavior-based malware detection that identifies new threats in real-time based on application behavior;
- The use of heuristics techniques to recognize known and unknown phishing sites and to remove kernel mode rootkits that can grant attackers unauthorized access to confidential data;
- Embedded support, which automatically diagnoses and resolves common issues or guides users to easy issue resolution. Users can also receive free technical support via live chat, or via phone for an additional fee.
- Real-time updates based on Symantec's "global intelligence network," comprised of more than 40,000 sensors monitoring network activity in over 180 countries, plus Symantec's "phish report network," an extensive anti-fraud community where members contribute and receive fraudulent Web site addresses for alerting and filtering.
The product was trialed by more than 100,000 registered beta testers worldwide, Symantec said, and is positioned to compete in the marketplace against the comparably priced McAfee Total Protection and the less comprehensive Windows Live OneCare ($50).
Andrew Jaquith, a senior analyst with the Yankee Group, said in a statement that "Symantec is rejuvenating its consumer product line" with the launch. "By combining the traditional security features with data backup and performance tuning, products like Norton 360 will expand the market for consumer security and data protection solutions."
Paul Brody, desktop products VP at Yahoo!, which will offer Norton 360 to its users, said in a statement that the product "takes the hassle out of staying safer online as online security threats continue to evolve and become more sophisticated."
Herb Criscito, sales and merchandising VP at Buy.com, added in a statement that "Buy.com is pleased to see Symantec offering consumers an all-in-one security service. We're eager to begin offering our Buy.com shoppers a comprehensive solution like Norton 360 to help protect their PCs from the onslaught of today's online threats and risks."