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Will Amazon’s Fire Phone "Burn" Users?

Symantec security expert, Candid Wueest, investigates the security implications of Amazon's new Fire Phone. For the original article, and to catch the latest security intelligence information, check out Symantec's Security Response blog: http://www.symantec.com/connect/blogs/will-amazon-s-fire-phone-burn-users     Everyone has heard stories about smartphones with malfunctioning battery packs bursting into flames, but the new Amazon Fire Phone, despite its name, could pose a different kind of danger. Amazon’s recently announced device is due to be released in July and may present some pote...
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How Can Small Businesses Develop Trust with Customers?

In a small business, your top priority when dealing with customers is trust. Recent high-profile security breaches have eroded consumer confidence, and it’s more important than ever to reassure your customers that they’re safe shopping with you. According to Symantec’s Sr. Director of Product Management, Robert Hoblit, the vast majority of visitors to any shopping site will arrive through web search or advertising, and first impressions are vital. “Around 80% of the customers that land on your website are actually first-time buyers,” he says. “They’ve never seen you before, they’ve never ...
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Prevent Scammers From Taking Over Your Company's Social Presence

Social media is a hugely important tool for growing your business’s brand, and the last thing you want to do is expose your customers to spam. Yet we’ve all seen it: the tweet promising thousands of new followers or the Facebook post teasing a way to lose weight or earn easy money – of course only if you’ll click on a link. It’s an issue that’s not going away any time soon, and it must be handled in the right way. The last thing we want to do is make our social media pages less open to the public, so instead we must use the settings available to us to keep spam away, and actively deal wit...
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Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 Social Media Scams and How-to Protect Yourself

As reported by BBC, scammers are capitalizing on the destruction of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 via social media posts promising video footage of the incident. Instead, these posts are linking social media users to spam or offensive content. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission also reported that fake tribute Facebook pages have been created by scammers to re-direct people to websites with dubious advertisements, where scammers will profit on each advertisement click. While it is unfortunate that scammers would look to capitalize on this tragic incident, this is a common t...
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Mobile Fitness Trackers May Be One Step Away From Hacks

Recently, Symantec Security Response experts conducted an in-depth study on wearable health tracking devices and apps and found that there were multiple vulnerabilities with these devices, which hackers could exploit to gain access to your personal information.    It used to be that your health was information shared between you and your doctor only, but the latest in mobile technology is changing that. The recent boom of fitness and health tracking devices, such as wristbands, heart monitors, and other “wearables” and their accompanying apps, allows many of us to keep better track of ou...
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'Backoff' Malware Steals Customer Credit Cards From 600 Stores

Last week, the Department of Homeland Security reported that around 600 businesses fell prey to a Point of Sale malware, called “Backoff”, that steals customer payment details through remote access applications. Most of the businesses affected were small, independent brick-and-mortar retailers, but some larger chains were impacted as well. The scope of the attacks could widen as more affected businesses are discovered. Unfortunately, this kind of criminal activity is growing. Identity theft, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, affected 16.6 million people in 2012. Hackers often...
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BYOD in K-12 Schools: 5 Tips to Help Parents Keep Their Kids Safe

   Despite controversial beginnings, many school districts across the United States are embracing BYOD—bring your own device—in the classroom by expanding curriculum to include student owned devices. With this trend gaining momentum, some districts are starting to run pilot programs to explore the benefits of bringing mobility to classrooms through BYOD. Rather than fighting against change, forward thinking school districts are moving into 21st century learning environments because they recognize the advantages of incorporating tehcnology and learning applications into the classroom to bet...
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Mobile Security Advice For The New Term

Technology and education now go together more closely than ever, with laptops and tablets now regular sights in classrooms. The range of educational apps in both the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store is huge and growing all the time, and the cloud has made it possible to learn across multiple devices with ease.   And yet, with such progress inevitably comes a downside. With all that extra work being created and stored on our phones and tablets, we have to think carefully about security issues. While your science project might not be the prize a hacker is after, losing it means more t...
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Smart Tips For Smart TV Watching With Dad

It’s Father’s Day once more on June 15th, but this isn’t any old Father’s Day – this one might as well have every dad’s birthday and Christmas Day rolled in as well. Yes, Father’s Day in 2014 falls right at the start of the World Cup in Brazil and on the final day of the US Open golf championship, which makes it all the more likely that dad will be settling down in his armchair to enjoy that new Smart TV he’s had his eye on. But as with anything that connects to the Internet, it pays to be aware of the security issues, and Smart TVs are no different. Only this week the news has been full ...
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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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Ransomware and the Importance of Backup

There has been a lot of coverage in the tech-related blogosphere lately regarding a specific threat called (among other things) Trojan.Gpcoder.F.  Once this malware has infected your machine it searches for files on your system that could potentially be important to you (based on the extension of the file) and then encrypts the data using a 1024 bit key (technically it creates an encrypted copy of the file and deletes the original.)  Once your data has been encrypted, the malware informs you that your files are being held for ransom along with details on how to buy the decryptor program to...
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You thought typos were harmless?

A recent PCMag.com blog post points out that the fake White House website whitehouse.org (no, I won't link you to it) has been hacked and is serving up malware.  Part of the issue here is that many people attempting to go to the government website www.whitehouse.gov will accidentally mistype it as whitehouse.org.  This is a specific case of a very real threat. If you look at the list of the top 500 most popular websites according to Alexa.com.  How many of these domain names are easily misspelled or mistyped?  There is nothing stopping bad people from registering common typos of popular do...
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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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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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Are you Naked? Exploits from the latest Microsoft Vulnerability seen in the wild

Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 ...
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Zero-Impact Meets Zero-Gravity

This past weekend I was joined by an international group of journalists and bloggers for a Zero-Gravity flight to “blast off” the launch of the Norton 2009 security products. This 18-person “band of brothers” boarded the G-Force One in Las Vegas, prepared to float, flip and fly the way orbiting astronauts do. One word describes the experience - awesome. But most people want to know, what in the world does a Zero-G flight have to do with security software?   And the answer is simple…we designed the 2009 Norton products with a mantra of "zero-impact performance".  Meaning, we want our softw...
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Norton 2009: A message from the performance team

To our Norton Customers:   Symantec is pleased to announce the official release of our Norton 2009 products. This year, we’ve made performance improvement the key focus of the 2009 Norton product line. Virtually everyone in the company - including executive management, product engineering, Quality Assurance, design, and development - knew that this was our main mission ever since our first 2009 engineering planning sessions. Since then, we’ve questioned, agreed, and disagreed to many of the ideas and concepts that came up, but we were consistently guided by our shared vision and dedicatio...
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Norton Performance Graphs Explained

Every day, corporations, governments, and individuals must live with security vs. performance tradeoffs.  An extra layer of security in any situation, digital or otherwise, always has a performance impact.   A simple (and probably overused) example is airport security.  Standing in an airport security line is time consuming, but provides the level of security mandated by the government.  We are mandated to trade performance (walking straight to the terminal) for the security provided by the inspections.  Overzealous security can cause bottlenecks, which inhibits daily activities.  Eliminat...
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How Easy is it to Steal an Identity?

I was surfing the web tonight and I came across an article on Scientific American.  The author asked some friends for permission to break into their bank accounts and then went to work trying to steal their identity.  The ease at which he was able to do so is startling. He first used a variety of techniques to gather information including reading the target's blog and googling them and then he used that information to break into the user's email accounts via password resets.    Once he had access to the target's email he would be able to receive password reset emails from their bank accoun...
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The Shoemaker’s Children

You remember the Shoemaker’s lesson, don’t you?  It’s always the shoemaker’s children go barefoot. And so it was that after thirty years of writing about PCs and wagging my finger at those who tempted fate by not backing up regularly, I did it myself.  The entire episode has made me feel a little addle-brained, a lot chagrined, and like a cautionary tale.   It started when I bought the new Dell XPS—fully loaded. When was the last time you moved three years of work from one PC to another? Seriously, it consumed my free time for about three weeks until I had things the way I wanted them. You...
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Who are you on the Web?

The Boston Globe had an article recently on how difficult it is to be anonymous in the internet age.  Reading the article compelled me to perform my every-once-in-a-while "googling" of myself.  What I found was pretty interesting. First of all, I'm not keeping a very low profile.  There were approximately 23,000 responses to the search query on my name (541 if you put my name in quotations.)  Most of the front page stuff was computer related.   A post on an old blog of mine about a web programming framework; several links to my posts on the Norton Protection Blog; a patch I submitted to an...
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Norton Safe Web

Today, the Norton team is launching an exciting new beta offering called Norton Safe Web, a Web site rating service that makes it easy for users to differentiate safe sites from malicious ones. Once downloaded, the beta will provide visual site ratings within everyday search results from top search sites like Google, Yahoo! and Live Search- so you can keep using your preferred search tool and don't have to take any extra steps. Additionally, due to the nature of Web threats such as drive-by-downloads, it will also warn users before they visit a site that contains malicious content. Our go...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Welcome to the Norton Protection Blog

This Blog is dedicated to you - as a past, present or future user of our products.  A large team of our product managers, engineering, testers and designers will regularly be posting directly to this blog.  Each of us care passionately about security, and share the responsibility to design, develop and test the solutions that protect our customers.  It is my hope that, through this Blog, you will be able to hear directly from the people who are working on the Norton products.  Through your feedback, whether it is frustrations, accolades, opinions or ideas about our products, I believe we c...
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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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Cybercrime is big, troubling business

I was surfing through some security news this weekend and ran into an interesting article on SecurityFocus. The article references a report that states that the reported damages from cybercrime and fraud rose by more then 20% from 2006 to 2007. One interesting piece of information turned up by the report is that while identity theft is the most commonly cited example of cybercrime, other criminal activities like auction fraud are causing greater monetary damage. This is alarming to me both as a consumer and as a developer of security software. As a consumer if I want to buy something on eB...
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Is It Doing Anything?

I recently explained how the Smart Scheduler feature in Norton 360 works to stay out of your way in deciding when to run tasks. The scheduler is so effective that it's common for users to wonder if we're ever performing scans. Neil Rubenking even noted in his PC Magazine review of Norton 360 that "It's so quiet you might begin to wonder if it's doing anything at all." We want to shed some light on this for anyone (myself included) who can't resist the urge to dig into how things work. We've created a small widget that shows you everything going on behind the scenes: You can download it he...
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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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Norton Insight: A solution to performance improvement without sacrificing security

Hello, my name is Kunal Karandikar and I am a Manager on Symantec’s Consumer Products Engineering team. My colleagues and I are excited about Norton Insight, a brand new feature to the 2009 Norton product line. There have been a lot of questions about how it works and what it does. In fact, there have been a few articles published recently that have compared Norton Insight with other technologies which we think are actually somewhat different, and believe do not really match up well to our new feature. We will hopefully be able to clear up some of the confusion and misconceptions within th...
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One MILLION websites compromised

In the old days, practicing “safe Internet” meant staying in the good online neighborhoods so you didn’t get infected. Today, almost any website you visit could be a landmine leading you to having your system compromised.  We all remember the quote from Austin Powers where Dr. Evil says “One MILLION dollars”. Now imagine a techie version of Dr. Evil, let’s call him “Dr. Drive-by” saying in that same tone “One MILLION websites compromised”. Drive-by download outbreaks can be measured in how many occurrences a particular domain name occurs in Google searches. Recent reports from SANS Interne...
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Recall Needed: Consumer Reports Security Suites Review

In recent years, Consumer Reports (CR) decided to take on reviewing security software in addition to the scores of energy drinks, vacuum cleaners and toasters they put through the paces annually. Consumer Reports has faced some challenges in this new endeavor; you might remember they generated a fair bit of industry discussion based on their security testing practices. Well-known organizations like McAfee, Sunbelt and others voiced concerns at test methodology that fell well outside the industry norm. Last year, we were – to put it mildly – shocked by the information and results published ...
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Summer fun: beaches, bbq's...iPhone apps?

So, this is a bit of a deviation from our standard security-focused articles, but given how you can't go 15 minutes without hearing about the iPhone 3G, I think it's appropriate to bring it up.  I have an original iPhone (4GB!) and was able to successfully download the new iPhone software before the mad rush and figured I would share some observations after a full week or so of using the software.First off, I admit it: I haven't been this excited about computers since I got my first Mac in 1985.  Apple's App Store (accessible via iTunes and through the iPhone itself) brings back that sense...
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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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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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Gamer Gets Pwned by His AntiVirus (Episode 3): The Nightmare

Our gamers get set up as the main course in an all-you-can-eat human buffet...
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Symantec Comments on PIFTS.exe

 Symantec released a diagnostic patch "PIFTS.exe" targeting Norton Internet Security and Norton Antivirus 2006 & 2007 users on March 9, 2009. This patch was released for approximately 3 hours (4:30 - 7:40 PM March 9, 2009 Pacific Time). In a case of human error, the patch was released by Symantec "unsigned", which caused the firewall user prompt for this file to access the Internet. The firewall alert for the patch caused understandable concern for users and began to be reported back to Symantec. Releasing a patch unsigned is an extremely rare occurrence that does not pose any security ...
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Gamer Gets Pwned by His Antivirus (Episode 2): The Celebration

A N00b MMORPG guild celebrates a great victory and experiences an unexpected defeat. This is the second episode of our "Gamer Gets Pwned by His Antivirus" series.
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