Symantec’s 2007 editions of its consumer Norton AntiVirus and Internet Security desktop products will be complemented by a third new offering: Norton Confidential, which protects e-commerce transactions.
Symantec often adds features to its consumer security software, which is sometimes purchased by small businesses, and includes those features in the enterprise editions that can be remotely managed. In Norton AntiVirus 2007, the consumer anti-virus and anti-spyware product, a rootkit detection and eradication capability has been added that will likely become part of enterprise products.
Group product manager Craig Lane says Symantec has developed a methodology for scanning at the kernel level where rootkits attempt to lodge to detect and eradicate them. In addition, Norton AntiVirus 2007 will have a so-called zero-hour protection capability that will be updated whenever a Window desktop vulnerability is identified.
While not intended to replace software patching, Symantec says this zero-hour protection is designed to block exploits that might occur before the patch process is completed.
The second upgraded product, Norton Internet Security 2007, will also adopt this rootkit-scanning technique as well as provide additional defences, including desktop firewall and anti-phishing protections. Norton Internet Security includes everything in Norton AntiVirus plus an additional firewall. Both 2007 editions run on Windows XP and support for Microsoft Vista will be added when it ships.
One change this year is in the desktop firewall. Symantec has determined that consumers are having a hard time configuring the firewalls based on prompts, so Norton Internet Security 2007 will set the firewall’s parameters based on its own analysis of how desktop software attempts to communicate with the internet.
Norton Internet Security will also have a new security history feature to display the actions taken by the software, or even undo them if desired.
While Norton AntiVirus and Norton Internet Security are available now, other consumer products are envisioned for the future.
XP-based Norton Confidential will block consumers from visiting known or suspected phishing sites. It can also scan a website and block any known ‘crimeware’ from trying to compromise the desktop.
While it does some target malware eradication, Norton Confidential does not contain the full antivirus/antispyware eradication capability of Norton AntiVirus. “Norton Confidential is intended to be complementary to Norton AntiVirus,” says Bill Rosenkrantz, director of product management.
The purpose of Norton Confidential is to protect the transactions of web users and provide assurance the web site is not a phishing site.
“We keep score on nearly 120 different things on that website,” Rosenkrantz says, noting the capability is based on the e-commerce protection technology gained through the acquisition of security start-up WholeSecurity.
One way in which Norton Confidential verifies the legitimacy of a genuine website is through presenting the user with the so-called “Norton Authentication Trust Mark” on the toolbar. The small mark indicates that the website was checked through a method of ‘fingerprinting’ the SSL certificate with the site’s pages.
Norton Confidential also contains a password security storage feature as an option for the user to encrypt the password on the desktop. Norton Confidential is expected to ship in early October.
Symantec says it is likely to integrate the capabilities of all three products into a single one called Norton 360.