Symantec Norton 360: first impressions

I used to be a great admirer of Norton Antivirus. Indeed I used it myself for years. While it’s effectiveness in detecting viruses has never been in doubt it acquired over the years a reputation as a resource hog. Each successive version seemed to cause your PC to run slower and slower. Around 2004 it got so bad that I gave the product away and migrated to NOD32. I was not alone; thousands of knowledgeable users abandoned Norton AV and Norton Internet Security Suite for more resource efficient security products. Symantec’s response was to initiate a project called "Genesis" to create a new security product from scratch. This was to be a ground up re-write rather than a revamp. Furthermore this new product would not only include anti-virus capabilities but anti-spyware detection, rootkit detection, behavior based malware analysis, phishing and malicious site blocking, a stateful firewall, backup and more. It was an ambitious project but a worthy one. Despite the pressing need I’m not aware of any other security vendor who has totally re-written their core product. Most just enhance their existing products and bolt on additional modules leading to every larger, more unwieldy and less efficient products. Project Genesis gave rise to Norton 360 [1] that was released earlier this year. Early reviews [2], [3] have been glowing and suggest that Symantec has indeed succeeded in creating a product that is effective, resource efficient and user friendly. Norton 360 is an end-user product so I though I’d ask end-user Rick Farrow to check it out. Full assessment will have to wait until the new anti-malware engine is tested by a  certification lab like AV Comparatives. Meanwhile you can read Rick’s report here [4]. Commercial software, $69.99 for up to 3 PCs, 15 day trial, Windows XP – Vista, 49.4MB.

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2007-06-21: