Reputation Technology Debuts In Symantec’s Norton Beta

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Symantec unveils reputation-based technology codenamed ‘Quorum’ in the latest versions of Norton Internet Security and Norton AntiVirus

Symantec yesterday pulled the covers off of free beta versions of Norton Internet Security 2010 and Norton AntiVirus 2010, featuring new reputation-based technologies codenamed ‘Quorum’.

Quorum will be introduced into the market in fall 2009. Symantec’s 2010 products use application reputation in response to the problem of dealing with online criminals who use unique new threats to evade signatures. In the Symantec software, application reputation is created by gathering data about the characteristics of applications used by members of the Norton Community Watch programme.

Symantec’s approach is part of its effort to integrate whitelisting into its security strategy. Other vendors such as McAfee and Kaspersky Lab have also taken steps to integrate whitelisting into their products as they seek ways to deal with the growing number of malicious programs circulating on the web.

According to Symantec, its researchers see millions of attacks every month, with many being never-before-seen threats. While Symantec created nearly 1.8 million new virus definitions in 2008, the use of signatures is not keeping pace with the number of threats being created by online criminals

Most malware has never been seen before, has an unknown publisher or has some other characteristic that can be used to give it a poor reputation score, Symantec officials said in a statement.

“Looking at the sheer volume of infected systems in the world, one thing is resoundingly clear: Basic security protection is not good enough,” Rowan Trollope, senior vice president of the Symantec Consumer Business Unit, said in a statement. “Norton pioneered the signature-based model of security and today we’re introducing a new standard that reconsiders all facets of protection. Quorum lets us stop the bad guys even if we’ve never seen their ‘Wanted’ poster.”

The software also includes a new dashboard and a new anti-spam engine from Symantec Brightmail. In addition, Norton 2010 users can sign up for a free subscription to OnlineFamily Norton, a web-based service meant to keep parents aware of their children’s online activities.

Symantec said it plans to make all flagship Norton products, including Norton 360, Norton Internet Security and Norton AntiVirus, compatible with Microsoft Windows 7. Norton users with a valid product subscription will receive the compatibility updates automatically at no additional cost, the company said.