The new Norton AntiVirus 2011 and Norton Internet Security 2011 beta products include several new and improved features which I'm going to detail here.
In our 2009 products, we introduced Norton Insight which dramatically improved performance by not scanning known good files.
In 2010 products, we went one step further by using reputation data to mark files as good, bad or unknown.
With 2011, we are enhancing this even more by providing fine-grained reputation information about files and by allowing users to perform a Reputation Scan of their files. You can choose to do a quick or full scan or a custom scan of a folder or a drive. Once the scan is done, you will see how your files are rated based on their Trust Levels, Age and Prevalence. Reputation Scan will also compare your results against the rest of the Norton Community. It is an excellent tool to give you an idea of your machine’s risk profile.
For example, in the screenshot above, my files have better Trust Levels, Age and Prevalence values compared to the rest of the community. I did this test on a clean computer, and your results will vary depending on what you have running on your computer.
You can also filter the results and choose to look at only files with low prevalence or files that are very new or have unproven or poor trust rating.
Norton Safe Web for Facebook
Facebook has become a top social site on the web. More and more people spend a lot of time on Facebook, and this gives cybercriminals the opportunity to use Facebook to propagate malware. We hear about these scams everyday – like the Farm Town scam that happened a few days ago.
This feature lets users scan their feed for malicious URLs using Norton Safe Web. You get a report of the scan, which you can choose to share on your Facebook Wall.
In Norton Internet Security2010, Download Insight analyzed downloads from Internet Explorer and Firefox. In 2011, we have expanded the number and types of applications that will be monitored by Download Insight. In addition to Internet Explorer and Firefox, the list of supported applications includes browsers like Chrome, Opera, and Safari; instant messengers like Yahoo Messenger, AOL Messenger, and MSN Messenger; email clients such as Outlook and Outlook Express; download managers and FTP clients like FileZilla;and P2P clients like Bittorrent and Limewire.
Furthermore, we have added the ability to dynamically expand coverage of many more applications.
For most of these applications, when you download an executable file, you will see the familiar Download Insight notification telling you if the file is safe or unknown, or if it is a threat. If it is a threat, it will be remediated automatically. For some download applications, you may not see the Download Insight notification during the download but if you try to run the downloaded file and the file is unknown or bad, Download Insight will alert you before allowing the file to run.
Norton Rescue Tools
Norton Rescue Tools are a set of tools that help you recover a badly infected computer. In addition to the familiar Norton Bootable Recovery Tool, this year we are introducing Norton Power Eraser. These tools complement each other and can be used in various situations.
Norton Bootable Recovery Tool
We come across many computers that have been so badly infected that it is virtually impossible to install any security product on them. The only way to clean up these computers is to use the Norton Bootable Recovery Tool. Since the Norton Bootable Recovery Tool loads its own clean boot environment, it is not affected by malware on the system. Even though we had made the ISO image for this tool available, it was not easy for users to burn a CD or DVD from it. You had to download the ISO and then find an application to help you burn a CD or DVD. To add to that, many recent Netbooks do not have a CD or DVD drive. We needed to provide a way to get access to this tool on media that will work on your computer and make it very easy to use!
In 2011, we have made it really easy to create the Norton Bootable Recovery Tool on a CD or DVD, or install it on a USB drive. All you need to do is to go to the “Start” menu, locate the Norton Internet Security or Norton AntiVirus folder and select the “Norton Bootable Recovery Tool” link. That link will take you to a Web page where you can download a wizard that will walk you through the process of creating your custom copy of the Norton Bootable Recovery Tool, as shown in the following screens.
It is really easy to burn the Norton Bootable Recovery Tool on media that you can use – CD, DVD, or USB--or just create an ISO image.
The Norton Bootable Recovery Tool Wizard also allows you to automatically update the threat definitions with the latest version, and it allows you to add drivers required to access storage or network devices on your particular system.
Norton Power Eraser
This brand new tool is rescue tool that is used in slightly different circumstances. Norton Power Eraser will be a free tool available to anybody. It will detect and repair new malware threats that are not typically detected by Norton product scanners. The focus for this tool will be detecting and fixing "0-day" malware and top threats like Fake AV (also known as rogue ware or crime ware).
Here is a screenshot of the tool’s UI – again very simple to use:
You can start scanning just by clicking on the “Scan” button.
Performance of security products continues to be a concern amongst users. Every year, Norton takes great strides in improving our product’s performance. This year we have made significant improvements that will make our products the fastest yet. In a lot of cases though, there is some other application that is slowing your computer down to a crawl. Ever wondered if you could somehow know what that application was? Enter Performance Alerts.
In our 2009 products, we put the CPU and Memory meter on our UI. The reason was to show the world that Norton is lean and mean, and let our users measure it. In 2010, we introduced the performance graph, which lets you track your computer’s CPU and memory consumption over time, and also tracks installation of other products on your computer.
In 2011, we have taken it one step further by adding real time proactive Performance Alerts. We measure the four broad metrics of performance: CPU usage, memory usage, disk IO, and handle counts. If a particular process is taking too many resources, you will get a notification like this:
You can click “Details & Settings” to get more information. For example, in this case cpuhog.exe was consuming too much CPU.
We expect our users to run legitimate resource-hungry applications knowing that they will consume a lot of resources, so we have given you the ability to exclude certain apps from being monitored. Once you exclude those apps, you will not see performance alerts for them.
We did a lot of research on exactly how much an application can consume before we should alert you. We don’t want to alert you too many times, but still want to provide you with details if you think your computer is running slow for some reason. We came up with three different levels based on your sensitivity to system performance. The default is the medium level but you can make Performance Alerts less or more aggressive by changing its levels to high or low respectively.
We have also considered battery-powered computers and automatically lowered our thresholds so that we tell you if an application is consuming too much of something that will drain your battery faster.
This is really a short summary of some of the key new features in 2011. There are several other changes to enhance the usability, quality, performance, and lastly--but most importantly,--protection. Give the Beta a try and let us know what you think. We will have our eyes and ears open for your feedback.