Symantec Norton 2010 Hinges on Reputation

Symantec promises Norton Internet Security 2010 and Norton Antivirus 2010 will turn the tables on would-be spammers and hackers by using technology that evaluates the reputations of the files and applications running on your PC on the fly.

The security software suite, released this week, features what Symantec (NASDAQ: SYMC) is calling “a new model of security” that will “attain unmatched detection” of new malware and goes far beyond traditional signature and behavior-based detection.

Codenamed Quorum, the software tracks files and applications and dozens of their attributes including their age, download source, digital signature and prevalence. The attributes are then run through several complex algorithms to determine a reputation of a file.

By separating the known and usually harmless — for example Microsoft Word or Excel or iTunes — from the unknown and almost certainly malicious, NIS and Norton 2010 and can react with greater alacrity and accuracy to rid computers and devices of worms, viruses and botnet spamming activity. As a file is distributed across the Internet and its attributes change, Quorum updates the reputation of the file.

Since July, thousands of users have been test driving beta versions of the Quorum-enhanced software from the Symantec site.

“One in five people will become a victim of cyber crime,” said Rowan Trollope, senior vice president of Symantec’s consumer products and marketing group, in a statement. “We know that hackers don’t destroy computers. They destroy lives. The powerful new reputation-based security in Norton 2010 gives people the power to deny digital dangers wherever they are found online.”

Symantec product managers said Norton 2010 installs in about a minute, uses just over 10MB of memory and scans a hard drives and solid state drives in 61 seconds and 31 seconds, respectively.

NIS 2010 comes at a suggested retail price of $69.99 for a three-PC license. Norton AntiVirus 2010 will sell for $39.99 and includes a one-year service subscription. Users with an active subscription can also receive the product updates.

According to market researcher Gartner, Symantec closed out 2008 as the world’s leading security software provider with a 22 percent share of the $13.5 billion market — a leadership position it’s expected to maintain in 2009 over archrival McAfee (20.5 percent).

Gartner predicts consumer and enterprise spending on security software will taper off a bit this year, improving only 9 percent compared an 18-percent surge last year.

“A double-digit growth in a challenging economic climate shows that security remains a key priority for CIOs and IT security leaders,” said Gartner analyst Ruggiero Contu.

In addition to the new reputation-based intelligence, Norton 2010 will continue to provide a firewall, intrusion protection, Web protection and e-mail protection and integrates with all browsers and search engines to alert users of potentially malicious Web sites.

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