Norton AntiVirus , developed and distributed by Symantec Corporation, provides malware prevention and removal during a subscription period. It uses signatures and heuristics to identify viruses. Other features include e-mail spam filtering and phishing protection.
Symantec distributes the product as a download, a box copy, and as OEM software. Norton AntiVirus and Norton Internet Security, a related product, held a 61% US retail market share for security suites as of the first half of 2007. Competitors, in terms of market share in this study, include antivirus products from CA, Trend Micro, and Kaspersky Lab.
Norton AntiVirus runs on Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. Windows 7 support is in development for versions 2006 through 2008. Version 2009 has Windows 7 supported update already. Versions 2010, 2011, and 2012 all natively support Windows 7, without needing an update. Version 12 is the only version fully compatible with Mac OS X Lion.
In May 1989, Symantec launched Symantec Antivirus for the Macintosh (SAM). SAM 2.0, released March 1990, incorporated technology allowing users to easily update SAM to intercept and eliminate new viruses, including many that didn't exist at the time of the program's release.
In August 1990 Symantec acquired Peter Norton Computing from Peter Norton. Norton and his company developed various DOS utilities including the Norton Utilities, which did not include antivirus features. Symantec continued the development of acquired technologies. The technologies are marketed under the name of "Norton", with the tagline "from Symantec". Norton's crossed-arm pose, a registered U.S. trademark, was traditionally featured on Norton product packaging. However, his pose was later moved to the spine of the packaging, and eventually dropped altogether.
By early 1991, U.S. computers were invaded by hundreds of foreign virus strains and corporate PC infection was becoming a serious problem. Symantec's Norton Group launched Norton AntiVirus 1.0 (NAV) for PC and compatible computers. Ads for the product, with suggested retail $129, featured Norton in his crossed-arm pose, wearing a pink shirt and surgical mask covering his nose and mouth.
With the 1998 version 5.0 update, SAM was renamed Norton AntiVirus (NAV) for Macintosh.
Product activation was introduced in Norton AntiVirus 2004, addressing the estimated 3.6 million counterfeit Norton products sold. An alphanumeric code is generated to identify a computer's configuration, which ties in with the product key. Users are allowed to activate their product five times with the same product key. Spyware and adware detection and removal was introduced to the 2005 version, with the tagline "Antispyware Edition". The tagline was dropped in later releases. However, Norton AntiVirus 2009 Classic does not include spyware or adware detection. The Classic edition is marketed alongside Norton AntiVirus 2009, which does include spyware and adware detection.
Existing users of the 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 versions can upgrade to the latest 2010 version without buying a new subscription. Upgrading will preserve the number of days left on a user's subscription.
Version 2006 (13.0)
The redesigned main graphical user interface aggregates information in a central user interface. CNET reports the Norton Protection Center, while useful, attempts to advertise additional products. To further facilitate detection of zero-day malware, Bloodhound disassembles a variety of programming languages, and scans code for malicious instructions using predefined algorithms. Internet Explorer homepage hijacking protection was introduced in this release as well; however notably missing is search engine hijacking protection. CNET highlighted Norton AntiVirus 2006's noticeable impact on system performance.
Operating system requirements call for Windows 2000 Service Pack 3 or Windows XP. 150 MB of free space and a 300 MHz processor is required under either operating system. 128 MB of RAM is required under Windows 2000, while 256 MB is required in Windows XP.
Version 2007 (14.0)
Norton AntiVirus was released on September 12, 2006. Symantec revised Norton AntiVirus with the goal of reducing high system resource utilization. Windows Vista compatibility was introduced in this release as well. Despite having about 80% of the code rewritten, CNET reports mixed results in performance testing. New features include a tabbed interface, eliminating the need to have separate windows open for the Norton Protection Center and for configuring the settings. Symantec extended its Veritas VxMS rootkit detection technology, allowing Norton AntiVirus 2007 to inspect files within directories to files on the volume level, detecting abnormalities or inconsistencies.
Windows 2000 compatibility was dropped from this release. Compatibility with 32-bit versions of Windows Vista was added to this release with a patch from Symantec. Hardware requirements under Vista call for 150 MB free space, a 800 MHz processor and 512 MB RAM. Requirements under Windows XP similarly call for 150 MB free space, a 300 MHz processor, and 256 MB of RAM.
Version 2008 (15.0)
Norton AntiVirus 2008 was released on August 28, 2007. Emphasizing malware prevention, new features include SONAR, which looks for suspicious application behavior. This release adds real-time exploit protection, preventing attackers from leveraging common browser and application vulnerabilities.
When installed in 32-bit versions of Windows XP Service Pack 2, 300 MB of free space, a 300 MHz processor, and 256 MB of RAM is required. When installed in 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows Vista, 300 MB of free space, a 800 MHz processor, and 256 MB of RAM is needed.
Version 2009 (16.0)
Norton AntiVirus 2009 was released on September 8, 2008. Addressing performance issues, over 300 changes were made, with a "zero-impact" goal. Benchmarking conducted by Passmark Software PTY LTD highlights its 47 second install time, 32 second scan time, and 5 MB memory utilization. It should be noted Symantec funded the benchmark test and provided some scripts used to benchmark each participating antivirus software.
The security status and settings are now displayed in a single main interface. A CPU usage monitor displays the total CPU utilization and Norton's CPU usage in the main interface. Other features include Norton Insight, a whitelisting technology which cuts scanning times by mapping known safe files using information from an online database. To address malware response times, updates are delivered updates 5 to 15 minutes. However, such updates are not tested by Symantec, and may cause false positives, or incorrectly identify files as malicious. The exploit scanner found in the 2007 and 2008 versions was dropped from this release.
When installed in 32-bit versions of Windows XP Service Pack 2, 150 MB of free space, a 300 MHz processor, and 256 MB of RAM is required. When installed in 32-bit or 64-bit versions of Windows Vista, 150 MB of free space, a 800 MHz processor, and 512 MB of RAM is required.
Gaming and Classic editions
Two variations on Norton AntiVirus 2009 are also marketed by Symantec. The Gaming edition provides finer control over when Norton downloads updates and allows components of the suite to be disabled either manually or automatically when the computer enters full-screen mode.
The Classic edition cannot find or remove adware and spyware.
Version 2010 (17.0)
Version 17.0 was released on September 9, 2009. Several features have been updated in this release, including SONAR, now dubbed SONAR 2. It now uses more information to determine if an application is truly malicious. Norton Insight can present users with information about the origins, activities, and performance of applications along with reputation data. A new feature codenamed Autospy helps users understand what Norton did when malware was found. Previous releases removed threats on sight and quietly warned users, potentially confusing when users are deceived in downloading rogue security software. Much of this information is placed on the back of the main window; a toggle button switches between the sides. Symantec has also added Windows 7 support. Aside from that, Symantec has also added the Norton Download Insight to prevent drive by drive downloads.
Version 2011 (18.0)
Norton Internet Security 2011 was released for Beta testing on April 21, 2010. Changes include a new user interface and improved scanning of internet sites for malware. With the 2011 version, Symantec also released an application that "scans" the user's Facebook feed for any malware links. This application does not require a valid subscription. In a test sponsored by Symantec, Norton Internet Security 2011 was the only security suite to ever achieve a 100 percent protection score in a new third-party test from Dennis Labs. Improved reputation scan provides the user with an easy to understand interface on files stored on the user's computer. Marking them as trusted, good, poor, or bad. The final version of Norton Internet Security 2011 was released on August 31, 2010. New features in version 2011 also include Norton Rescue Tools. These tools include Norton Bootable Recovery tool and Norton Power Eraser.
On December 9, 2010, Symantec released the 18.5 version through Norton LiveUpdate. However, this update was later pulled due to numerous reports on the Norton forums that the update is causing
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