Symantec updates consumer security lineup

NEW YORK -- Symantec Corp. released the latest version of its Norton security software today, adding a new "protection center" to its Norton Internet Security 2006 applications suite.

The Norton Protection Center aggregates a variety of security information and presents it in a straightforward format intended to help consumers more easily understand what security features they need to enable. It will be included in the Norton Internet Security 2006 suite and in the company's two stand-alone products, Norton AntiVirus 2006 and Norton Personal Firewall 2006.

Dropped from the company's stand-alone list this year is Norton AntiSpam, which will now be available only in the Internet Security 2006 suite. That bundle, priced at $70, ties together Norton AntiVirus, Personal Firewall, AntiSpam, Privacy Control and Parental Control. Current Symantec customers, as well as users of competitive products, will be able to upgrade to the new Norton Internet Security suite for $50. Prices for all of Symantec's consumer security software include a one-year subscription for updates.

Purchased as a stand-alone product, Norton AntiVirus 2006 is priced at $40. The new version includes enhanced detection tools for zapping spyware and adware. Low-risk adware programs are flagged but not automatically removed, Symantec said.

Norton Personal Firewall 2006 can also be purchased on its own, for $50. The software is designed to analyze applications already installed on a user's PC and configure itself around them, a feature Symantec expects to reduce the number of alert messages customers encounter during setup.

Other new features in Norton Internet Security 2006 include a "security inspector" feature to help customers examine and fix security holes like permissive browser settings or weak Windows passwords, and new antispam functionality aimed at better identifying and blocking phishing e-mails.

Cupertino, Calif.-based Symantec is now selling its updated software though its Web site's online store. Packaged versions of the software are expected to be available for purchase at retail outlets within the next two weeks.

Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.

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