Symantec launched the 2011 editions of Norton Antivirus and Norton Internet Security Wednesday, as the security software maker indicated that 65 percent of consumers worldwide -- and almost three-quarters of U.S. Web surfers -- have already fallen victim to cybercrimes. This makes comprehensive online security protection more important than ever, Symantec executives said.
Available for purchase in the United States through various retailers and Symantec's online store, Symantec's Norton 2011 products feature reputation-based security technology that instantly checks when and where programs originated. The new software offerings also verify that every file users download is safe before allowing it to run on a laptop, netbook or desktop PC.
"Today's cybercriminals are not standing down -- consumers need the very best protection to stay safe online," said Janice Chaffin, the president of Symantec's consumer business unit. "The Norton 2011 products are the highest quality we have ever built and the most comprehensive protection on the market."
New Security Tools
Symantec's Norton 2011 software suite incorporates Sonar 3 technology that identifies suspicious software offerings based on their behavior and then automatically makes decisions on behalf of the user. The goal is to provide true "zero-day" protection against new and emerging threats that could otherwise evade other security features, Symantec said.
The new Norton suite has been designed to monitor all running applications as well as proactively issue an alert if any program is overusing system resources, giving users the opportunity to implement changes that improve PC performance. Also on tap is a Norton protection map that visually presents the latest global security threats. Additionally, Norton 2011 products will automatically create a CD, DVD or USB device for booting the user's PC into a safe state in the event that the machine's system ever becomes deeply infected.
Beyond Norton 2011, Symantec has expanded its lineup of free Internet security tools for use by customers and non-customers alike. For example, the company now offers free downloadable toolbars that will alert users to the presence of risky sites in their online search results or Facebook news feeds.
Another free tool aggressively targets and eliminates fake antivirus programs, which the FBI estimates is costing unsuspecting U.S. consumers more than $150 million per year. Many users have been falling prey to bogus browser pop-up security warnings that intimidate the victim into downloading a fake antivirus program that installs viruses, Trojans and/or keyloggers on the user's PC.
Small Costs Add Up
A new 2010 cybercrime report released by Symantec Wednesday states that computer viruses and malware attacks are currently the most prevalent types of cybercrime, with 51 percent of adults globally having already experienced their adverse effects. Nevertheless, only 50 percent of survey respondents said they would change the way they behave online if they ever became victims.
Though it costs $334 on average for consumers to resolve a cybercrime issue, Norton's lead Cyber Security Advisor Adam Palmer noted that the true cost is not limited to what the victims are forced to spend. "We all pay for cybercrime -- either directly or through pass-along costs from our financial institutions," Palmer said.
Though cybercriminals typically only steal small amounts of money in order to remain undetected, Palmer observed that all of these small thefts add up. "If you fail to report a loss, you may actually be helping the criminal stay under the radar," Palmer said.
However, nearly 80 percent of the survey's respondents said they believe it is not possible to bring cybercriminals to justice. "Many criminals reside in a foreign country so it's no surprise that people regard them as 'faceless' -- they physically are," Palmer explained. "And because international cybercrime is hard to uncover and prosecute people genuinely aren't seeing justice being done."