Last month, Symantec released Norton Internet Security 2010 and Norton Antivirus 2010, updated versions of its venerable Windows security packages. They incorporated a new approach to threat detection–Symantec calls it Quorum–which attempts to increase accuracy and reduce resource-hogging tendencies by gauging the reputation of files based on data collected from the millions of folks who run the company’s software. (The reputation of a core Windows file that didn’t do anything suspicious would be high; the reputation of a file which Quorum hadn’t seen before which appeared to be behaving in a dangerous manner would be low.)
Today, Symantec is releasing a free beta version of Norton 360 4.0, the next release of its suite which includes both security and management tools such as backup and PC tuneup tools. It’s the first version of Norton 360 with Quorum, and in conjunction with today’s releasing, Symantec is touting recent test results for Norton Internet Security 2010 from third-party labs. The UK-based Dennis Technology Lab tested ten security products and gave Norton alone a perfect score; it also did well in recent testing by AV-Comparatives.org and AV-Test.org. (I’m not an expert on the relative strengths of independent security labs’ testing techniques, but I know that AV-Test knows their stuff and tells it like it is–they’re the lab we worked with back when I was at PC World.)
Whenever I mention Norton security products, I’m used to PC users reflexively accusing them of being in-your-face annoying and sapping precious system resources to an absurd level. Symantec clearly heard the gripes, too–the changes in both last year’s Norton 2009 products and this year’s Norton 2010 ones emphasis a general reduction in intrusiveness, and much of the advertising is devoted to conveying that it’s changed its ways. But computer users have memories like elephants, and I suspect that some will continue to look askance at Norton for years to come even if Symantec’s cleaned up its act.
So here’s a question for folks who are running any 2009 or 2010 version of any version of Norton security: How’s it treating you?