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The Hunt is On

Our team team hit a big milestone this week by reaching beta of our 2009 Norton Internet Security and Norton AntiVirus products. As many of you know, beta is a pre-release version of a Symantec product that is available for public testing before the final version is released. We rely on the valuable feedback of our community to evaluate how the product performs in "real world" environments. Additionally, it is an opportunity to be among the first to experience our latest products before they are finalized and released. We monitor the beta feedback closely and it is an important source of f...
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The Big Shift

One of the best parts of my job is not just laying out the strategy for Symantec's Consumer Business, but getting out and telling people where Norton is headed in six months, 12 months, or even two years. Why is this so rewarding? Because we've got a rich and compelling story to tell.  We aren’t just talking about security software — we're looking at solving consumer problems in brand new ways. Recently, I've spent some time sharing our vision with some of the key people in our industry. Neil Rubenking at PC Magazine was one of our stops and following our conversation, he put out a compreh...
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Not all Equipt-ment is Created Equal

I was just reading a story about Microsoft’s new subscription software package – Microsoft Equipt – and I have to say I was baffled to see the new “post-Bill Gates” Microsoft continuing to push these tired, old bundles. Drawing consumers in with the promise of enhanced productivity but essentially delivering a hodge podge of Microsoft technologies that lack consumer value and limit choice, Equipt looks less about providing a compelling value proposition and more about increasing Office revenue.                                                                                                 ...
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Things that make you go vrooom!

Right this very moment, the Norton software development team is hard at work making our products faster than ever. But hey, you know what else is fast AND just might help you save a little green on gas?!  A brand-new Vespa!  At the newly launched http://www.NortonToday.com site, we’re looking for videos (maximum two minutes in length) that show someone or something getting “Nortonized.”  Something that’s been “Nortonized” goes faster.  It feels less bogged down.  In short, it performs better than its competitors.  If you have questions, don’t worry: our contest information kit explains eve...
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Why Backing Up is Easier Than Flossing

For many folks, backing up their data is a lot like flossing. It's a chore and not the most pleasant way to spend a few minutes. You know it's important for good personal or computer hygiene, but you probably don't do it as often as you should. But once teeth start falling out or you lose wedding pictures, contacts, and tax records due to a computer crash, you become a lot more diligent with your flossing and/or your backing up. In fact, I'd wager that backing up is even easier than flossing now.Here's a quick video on why it's important to back up your most important files and how...
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WWDC08 - All iPhone, All the Time

  This is where the magic happens...WWDC08 I was up in San Francisco last week for the Apple WorldWide Developer's Conference (WWDC08) and I figured I would talk a bit about it.Now, the specifics of the show have been blogged to death, I am sure (some good writeups here and here), but a few themes really struck me:1 - We are all basically experiencing a fairly incredible transition, thanks in no small part to the iPhone. Yes, so-called Smartphones have been around for awhile, but it is clear that the iPhone has captured the imagination of people who would otherwise not care at all about a ...
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The Incredible Hulk Gets Nortonized - Literally

I don't know about you, but growing up The Incredible Hulk was one of my favorite comic books. I always loved the raw nature of the Hulk and his crazy rampages and willingness to take on just about anything from tanks and mutants to other superheroes in the Marvel universe. The new Hulk movie premieres on the big screen this weekend and I'm excited to see Edward Norton bring my favorite character to life. Closer to home, our Norton team partnered up with this summer blockbuster and is offering up some pretty decent loot (think 52" SHARP LCD TV) -- the details of which can be found at this ...
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Save the Whales

“Whaling”.  The term brings up images of Captain Ahab and harpoons.  For some folks, “whaling” brings up thoughts of deep-pocketed Vegas high-rollers.  Unfortunately, what I’m referring to is a product of today’s online threats. It’s a new phishing scam called “whaling” and its emerged to target the big fish – top-level corporate executives at leading companies and organizations.  By doing some easy research up front, phishers can hit those at the top with surprising success because most corporate email conventions are easy to figure out (eg. First initial_last nameatcompanydotcom).  These...
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Phresh Phishing Phreaks Pholks Out

Jaqcqui Cheng from Ars Technica has a great article today about the latest email scam design to trick people into giving up their personal information (including social security number and mother's maiden name), this time, the email is supposedly from the iTunes store and links to a poorly crafted site.  You should check out Robert Vamosi's article on Cnet about this as well. Okay, so this is really nothing new, we talk about phishing scams all the time.  However, like Jacqui writes in her article, this is interesting because Apple users are getting targeted. iTunes is cross platform, lot...
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Engineered for Performance

Does your security software do any of the following things?         •  guard against virus activity before users see the effects of it       •  keep hackers from stealing personal information       •  prevent the system from becoming a zombie       •  thwart phishing attacks from getting people to give away data       •  stop malware and spyware from installing themselves   If your answer is yes (and I hope it is!) then your software is using up some amount of the system’s memory in order to keep you safe. Symantec’s mission is to make this protection impact as minimal as possible while st...
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Bionic Norton

I had the pleasure of meeting some of my Symantec Italy colleagues at a recent conference in Vegas, but I had no idea that Lee Majors  was part of the team. I was delighted to see that the product development team’s focus on performance has been resonating internationally; here’s a link to a light-hearted video they created to showcase the bionic performance of Norton Internet Security 2008: Message Edited by jgonzales on 05-21-2008 11:04 PM
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Block that Click!

I couldn’t tell you the first time I got Rickrolled.  By now you’ve heard of it, from Google or the Nightly News to the guy two cubicles down who’s always late to the Internet party. Once, it was a surprise to click on what promised to be an election-year gaffe, a great deal on flash memory, or a review of the best chimichanga in West Los Angeles…only to be treated to that fine young man Rick Astley belting out “Never Gonna Give You Up.”  At first it’s perplexing.  Then, perhaps for a nanosecond, amusing.  By the time your mother-in-law with the Mac SE and 2400 baud dial-up AOL connection ...
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A little video on the MacBook Air hack

hi everyone! I have been out for a bit (conference, two weddings and lots of airports) but I just wanted to post the following video that we did discussing vulnerabilities, specifically the one that happened at CanSec West.  Mighty props out to Rob Pegoraro's article that started the discussion in the first place! Message Edited by jgonzales on 05-09-2008 03:00 PMMessage Edited by mikeromo on 05-15-2008 02:15 PM
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Walt Mossberg on Social Engineering

As a follow-up to my earlier post this week, I noticed that Walt Mossberg  posted today a helpful article and short video clip on "social engineering" that offers several specific tips on avoiding online scams.  For example: 1. Never, ever click on a link embedded in an email that appears to come from a financial institution, even if it’s your own bank or brokerage and even if it looks official right down to the logo. The same goes for payment or auction services, like PayPal or eBay (EBAY). More solid tips are available at Mossberg's All Things Digital site.  I also recommend related post...
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Malware can come from anywhere…

Earlier today I came across a CNET blog entry wherein Ina Fried discusses the recent purchase of a refurbished iPod that arrived with a virus on it.  Although Ina's article is about an iPod, it reinforces the reality of today's threat landscape: malware can come from anywhere. As we look at the Genesis of Computer Viruses (see The Art of Computer Virus Research and Defense, by Peter Szor), we can't help but remember the days when the vast majority of personal computer malware spread via physical interaction between computers, usually in the form of floppy disks.  These early viruses operat...
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Hatching Software

As a youngster I was taught to think of history in terms that scream out for marble monuments and epic poetry.  College did its best to break me of that tendency, and though I retain some of that boyish awe, I have come to appreciate the humanizing elements of history. I like to remind myself as summer approaches by watching the musical 1776, about the drafting of the US Declaration of Independence.  Aside from the fun it has with history, I also enjoy the lessons it offers for my day job.   The play looks beyond the yellowed parchment with the odd penmanship and the huge signature of John...
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Norton 360’s Smart Scheduler

While building the first release of Norton 360 in 2006, we decided we didn't want to use the typical task scheduler so many other products use to run weekly antivirus scans. Remembering to keep your computer on "every Wednesday night at 2am" is a pain, so we set out to build a better wheel. Norton 360 introduced Symantec's smart task scheduler. The new scheduler doesn't rely on a fixed schedule - instead it works around yours. Basically, Norton 360 is always looking for times that you're away from your desk and uses those opportunities to perform the routine maintenance tasks it needs to k...
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Reinforcing Secure Behavior

There was a great article in the most recent issue of the Communications of the ACM entitled "The Psychology of Security: Why do good users make bad decisions?" The main thrust of the article is to shed some light on the psychological process for decision making and how the process manifests itself when users are asked to make security decisions. Armed with this knowledge security software developers can make better decisions regarding what to present to a user and how these choices should be ultimately represented. I took away three key observations from the article: First, the article po...
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Being protected means being current

One of the most important features of our products is the ability for us to actually update them.  The Mac team has been talking a lot about this lately, specifically: how best to keep users up to date without impacting them in any way? Our updating process actually has quite a few steps: 1 - we launch a process that manages the updating (LiveUpdate) 2 - LiveUpdate checks the LiveUpdate servers (most of the time a Symantec server, but sometimes enterprise customers have a local LiveUpdate server that lives behind the enterprise firewall) and checks to see what updates are actually up there...
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What's in a name?

So, "Norton AntiVirus for Mac" has been around for a long time. Everyone seems to know it (alongside Norton Utilities for Mac, another topic for another time), but I gotta tell you, sometimes I think the name does the software a disservice. I mean, literally, as soon as I even say the name of the product, I inevitably hear, “But I thought Macs don’t get viruses!” Everywhere I get this. I was, no joke, getting a physical with my doctor, and when he was done he asked, “You know, I don’t mean to, well, whatever, but I thought that Macs didn’t get viruses.”Can I at least get my pants on before...
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Going Green

You just read an article title like this and think, ugh, more guilt about the clothes I wear, the food I buy, the car I drive. I feel the same way. I wish I could live more like Ed Begley Jr. and less like the Super Consumer I really am. The truth for me, and maybe for you too is that we have to pick a few areas to make new choices in order to help the environment. So maybe a better title is “Baby Steps to Going Green.” Small changes do matter and may be our best shot for lasting behavioral changes.   As I write this, workmen are sweating away in the unseasonably warm April weather (94 deg...
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