What Will Norton 2011 Have?

This week I attended a preview of next year’s Norton anti-virus offerings, where they discussed some of the current and emerging techniques for ensuring your on-line safety.

They are expanding their use of reputation based heuristics, whereby they are able to determine the likely safety of a site or download based upon, for instance, a site’s history for being a source of malware and the like.

One of the largest sources of threats is still those sites with which you may be familiar – sites like Facebook, for instance, where somebody might send you a message saying that they have a new video of you. You may then download that video, but in trying to run it, you get a message telling you that you don’t have the correct CODEC, and of course you’ll be prompted to download the correct CODEC.

Of course, if you then decide to download that CODEC, you’re infected!

To help counter this, they’re introducing a new application that will let you scan the links that your FaceBook friends send you, and will be able to let you know the reputation data of those links and sites before you actually connect to them.

They’re also collecting daily statistics relating to the frequency by which threats are being blocked, at various real end-user client systems. In time, this data can be used to help track and warn of current threats.

Their Safe-Web website continues, and permits you to look at any site’s reputation. If the site looks dodgy, or the link doesn’t feel right, you can make your decision to proceed based upon some very meaningful data.

The Norton Bootable Recovery Tool Wizard looks to be a very useful tool. After downloading the tool, you can install it onto, for instance, a bootable CD or USB stick. This will let you boot your compromised system from an external device, and then clean up the infections.

With the advent of so many different ways to access the internet today, we are now looking at the Norton Everywhere concept. Consider, for instance, that you may have a so-called smart phone or pad device to access the Internet. In Norton for Mobile, they are seeking to protect you while you’re surfing the web using these types of devices.

A very different approach is the advent of Norton DNS. By using nortondns.com instead of the normal DNS lookup service provided by your ISP, you can leverage the knowledge of what sites are safe at the site lookup stage, rather that risking infection by actually going to those dangerous sites. While this has many advantages, you should also note that if your ISP has some special arrangements, such as free downloads from certain sites, this might circumvent those arrangements.

Of course, so called smart devices are everywhere today, and we are seeing devices like our tv sets, video players and just about everything else being branded as “smart” and having Internet access. With that Internet access comes a risk to your security, of course, and Norton are working to help to protect you at the device level.