on 04-14-201109:50 PM - last edited on 04-14-201109:56 PM by Tim_Lopez
We at Norton are very excited to
share the Beta release for Norton Internet Security and Norton Antivirus 2012
products with you. Below are descriptions of the new features and great
enhancements provided with this release.
2012 introduces several new technologies to combat emerging threats.
Fake AV is one of the most visible and wide-spread threats that Internet users face today. Fake AV pretends to be security software and tempts the user to pay for it. Even worse, it can install additional malware on the system and claim the system is clean. New for 2012, we’ve included SONAR 4.0 and Norton Power Eraser 2.0 to help our customers combat Fake AV.
With 2012 we are introducing SONAR Policy Enforcement – We now have
the ability to convict a suspicious process based on a behavioral “profile.” To create these profiles, an analyst looks at
the 500+ attributes that SONAR tracks and make a series of associations For
example, let’s say a particular process tried to access the system folder and
tried to call home, but does not have any running UI. Also, it downloaded more
than 15 files the previous day. Any one
of these things alone may not be “bad,” but taken as a whole, the behavioral
profile is bad. The analyst will therefore make a rule that says if we see this
string of behaviors, then we should stop the process from executing. Doing all of
this is a big deal--we aren’t just looking at what the process does on your
computer, we are also looking at its communication characteristics!
Sonar 4.0 also introduces
protection against Non Process Threats
(NPTs). As the name suggests, these threats are not active processes by
themselves, but they inject themselves into legitimate active processes. SONAR 4.0 technology is able to much more
aggressively remove threats on pre-infected machines.
Norton Power Eraser
Since we introduced Norton Power
Eraser last year, it has exceeded our expectations and has been very well
received by our customers and reviewers. Almost 90% of users claim it has
resolved their issue without them having to contact us for support. This is a significant increase since we first
introduced Norton Power Eraser a year ago, when the resolution rate started at
65%. Our goal was to make this the most effective tool possible and we are on our
way to achieving that.
With the 2012 release, Norton
Power Eraser runs in Windows Pre-Install Environment (WinPE) and will be
accessible when running the Norton Bootable Recovery Tool. That means users get
additional leverage over malware because Norton Power Eraser is run from a
completely separate environment (WinPE) where the malware is not running and can
scan the OS and more partitions.
Integration with Specialized Tools
As the threat landscape evolves,
we are seeing the need for specialized malware removal tools more than ever
before. As an example, we have a removal
tool for the Tidserv (http://www.symantec.com/security_response/writeup.jsp?docid=2010-090608-3309-99)
that has been very successful in helping users remove this highly prevalent
rootkit. Often, the issue is that users often do not know that they are
infected with Tidserv and therefore do not know they can be helped with this
Both our scanning and network
layer security components will now look out for threats that require removal
tools and inform the customer that they may have a serious infection that
requires a special removal tool. These users will be provided with a link to
download these tools. This closes the gap and provides extended protection.
Google Chrome browser – best support ever
If Chrome is your favorite
browser, you are in for a treat. 2012 comes full circle on the Chrome browser
by supporting Identity Safe and Safe Web features. This means you will get the
password and form-filling capability from Identity Safe, industry-leading
phishing protection and SafeWeb site safety ratings for Web sites and search
results. You can choose to view the toolbar in full, or close it and continue
to get a Norton icon on the top right indicating the safety of the page.
With this most recent addition
Norton continues to protect our users on one more platform when they surf
Users need to keep their
computers running faster – we understand that. If a product doesn't use system
resources judiciously and causes the computer to slow down; users may disable
certain protection features and get vulnerable to attacks. Performance is of
utmost importance for security products. At Norton, performance is always at
the heart of the improvements we make to the products and we continue to
innovate to achieve better performance. For the 2012 release, we are
working in 50+ areas related to performance. To highlight a few high-level areas:
Reduction in footprint, resulting in smaller
download and install sizes
Faster startup and shutdown
Enhanced scan time and file copy performance,
resulting in faster scans and file access operations, and having very little or
no impact in other application launches.
Enhanced network throughput, resulting in faster
file copies over the network. More and more users are using sophisticated
home networks and the changes in 2012 ensures that our security software gets
out of their way for things like shared network file servers and other
conveniences of today’s digital home
Norton is committed to providing
the best customer experience. We actively review the feedback we get from our
customers and combine that with the product usage telemetry to understand how
our products are used. As a result, we have made several improvements to our product
Simplified Main Window
One thing you will notice right
away is that the main window has been simplified for the users who only want to
do two basic things: Run Live Updates and Run Scans. However, for the more
technically inclined, the Advanced Controls are only 1 click away. And, you can choose which view you see when
you open the product. We believe this will create a really good balance for
users who want to use the basic controls as well as the ones who need the
The CPU Meter is back
You asked for it and you got it. The
CPU meter shows a quick comparison of the resource usage between Norton and
your computer’s operating system. In 2012, it’s right on the main window.
Streamlined Scanning Screens
All scanning screens now provide clarity
in the Scan > Review > Results flow. There are also cosmetic changes to
give them a modern look.
Custom Scans – the Norton way
In previous years we have relied
on the scheduler provided by the OS to do custom scan scheduling. With 2012 we
are moving to our own scheduler, which does an excellent job of detecting idle
time. Now you can customize your scans and have them run at a certain fixed time
or run when your computer is idle. You can also set advanced options separately
for each custom scan so you get the maximum flexibility in setting up your scans.
Identity Safe 2.0 in the cloud
Yes, that is correct. Identity
Safe 2012 supports storing your data in the secure Norton cloud. You can set up
Identity Safe in the cloud and use it from multiple computers. An online
profile is created using your existing Norton Account.
A brand new form-filling engine
has been put in place to increase the accuracy of form filling.
Identity Safe also gets a
completely revamped user interface. It has adapted a lower profile push-down browser
toolbar and gotten rid of the old style popup windows, reducing distraction
from your browsing experience.
Download Insight 2.0
Ever wished that someone told you
not to install an application that crashes all the time and ruins your
experience? You have Norton to do exactly that. With the 2012 product line we
are introducing the concept of Application Stability Ratings.
Norton’s Community Watch system
provides us with information about millions of applications and their
behaviors. Stability is measured by looking at an application’s crash and hang
frequency over time. The higher the
number, the less stable the application is.
Stability Ratings are a natural
fit in the Download Insight flows. On a download, in addition to providing the
Trust ratings, the alert will also display stability ratings. A “Reliable” rating
means that the chances of this program crashing are minimal; on the other end,
“Very unstable” means that the chances of this program crashing are high.
Our customers can now use this
information to decide whether to run the application. In some cases customers can
search for a newer version (or older for that matter) of the application that
might be more stable, look for an alternative to the application - and of course,
in some cases the application is critical and unfortunately customers would have
to allow it to run, but you at least have a clear expectation of the
application’s behavior. We also added an option to turn on an alert when an
unstable application is run, so you get a chance to decide if you want to launch
a potentially unstable application. [It can be found under Settings > Web
> Download Intelligence > Alert on Poor Stability]
You will also see the new Stability
Ratings in other parts of the product, such as Norton Insight, File Insight, and
in the Reputation Scan results.
This feature is a step towards a
new feature set for Norton. We want your PC experience to be seamless. Using
performance data from our millions of Community Watch users, we can keep not
only malware, but poorly written and crash-prone software out of your PC
There has been an explosion in
availability of mobile broadband devices. These devices are either built into
your laptop or you can buy them separately. In addition, more and more
smartphones support data tethering. Almost all mobile broadband plans limit
data usage. Norton 2012 products rely on our cloud services to give you the
best performance and protection. Now with Norton 2012 products, you can set
policies on how much bandwidth Norton product will use to suit your data usage
For example, if you connect your
iPhone with a limited data tethering plan, you can choose to use “Critical
Updates Only” or “No Traffic” policies. With “Critical Updates Only,” Norton
products limit Internet usage to critical tasks that keep you secure.
Norton In-Product Support Experience (AutoFix)
With Norton 2012, we have
streamlined our in-product support experience to help you in rare case s when
you have a problem with the product. The new automated support experience will
scan your product to see if it can identify any problems. For example, it will
look to see if your product had any installation or configuration problems. If
there are problems that can be automatically fixed, Norton Autofix will try to
fix those problems for you.
If you encounter a problem that
cannot be automatically fixed, it will offer to take you to our new and
improved support portal to get help.