09-21-2010 08:45 AM - edited 09-21-2010 08:49 AM
Why does the background Norton Insight task run daily for 3 or 4 minutes when my computer is in idle mode, even if my computer is disconnected from the Internet?
I found an excellent post about the Norton Insight submission here, which confirms my suspicion that this task cannot be disabled by turning off the Insight Network scans (Settings | Computer Settings | Insight Protection). If this task is gathering the name/version/SHA256 hash tag of files on my computer and trying to send them to a Symantec server, it doesn't make sense that this task would still run and use up a huge chunk of my CPU if it can't complete the submission.
MS Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit SP2
NIS 2011 v. 22.214.171.124
HP Pavilion dv6835ca, Intel Core2Duo CPU T5550 @ 1.83 GHz, 3.0 GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce 8400 GS
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09-21-2010 10:45 AM
It will save them up as pending, and send them when you are connected. It is often checking for possibly malicious .dlls, .dat files, and other types of file extensions frequently used by malware.
09-21-2010 05:05 PM
To clarify a bit of confusion - Norton Insight does not perform any submissions - it scans for new files and queries for trust information. No information is submitted during the Norton Insight task. There is a separate task that is part of the Norton Community Watch program that submits file digest information to Symantec servers for analysis. The Norton Community Watch submission task runs only if you have opted into the Norton Community Watch program, and only if you have internet connectivity when the job is scheduled to run.
The Norton Insight task will scan for new files on the system - it typically looks for executable files that are likely to be executed. It looks in many of the common startup locations, and when it finds a new file that is interesting (meaning it is an executable and that has never been seen before), it will attempt to query the Symantec servers to determine the trust rating for the file. This process runs in two steps - first step is discovery of new files, and second step is the query for trust and updating the local trust rating.
The first step (where Norton Insight is looking for new files) runs independent of internet connectivity. It is not effective to postpone the Norton Insight job because of no Internet Connectivity - because we would delay discovery of potentially import files. The second step, where we query for trust information, will not run if there is no internet connectivity. On the next scheduled run, Norton Insight will look for new files, and will then query for trust on all files that have no trust - the new ones for the current run plus any files that were discovered in previous runs that have no trust rating.
I hope this helps.
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09-26-2010 07:24 AM
Thanks for the great explanation. That cleared up my confusion over the Norton Community Watch submission of file digest information (which is disabled on my machine) versus the Norton Insight query of the Symantec servers to update the local trust rating of files of interest.
I've been watching the background Norton Insight task in my Norton Tasks window for a few days and I've confirmed that this task will run daily with a status of "Complete" even if I'm disconnected from the Internet. This might explain why Download Insight has recently prevented some software installation files stored on my hard drive from running since I've upgraded to NIS 2011. I had assumed that "Complete" meant that the Norton Insight query had run to completion and had updated the local trust ratings of my files, which I now realize isn't the case, so I'll have to be more careful in the future about running the Norton Insight query manually (Performance | Applications Ratings) when I'm connected to the Internet to ensure my local trust ratings kept are up-to-date.
In case you hadn't already guessed, I have a home dial-up Internet connection that comes with a limited number of connect hours each month, so any Norton background task that requires a connection to the Symantec servers is a problem for me.
09-26-2010 08:16 AM
Here's another revelation. I just read AllenM's commments about the Power Saving Mode here, which suspends background Norton tasks when your computer is on battery power. Since the default setting for Power Saving Mode is On in NIS 2011, I assume that means that the Norton Insight query to update my local trust ratings hasn't been running whenever I've been in a public WiFi hot spot and unplugged from A/C power. Nuts, that another configuration tweak I'll have to make.