Column: Will you be ditching your antivirus app anytime soon?

For the last few months, I've been hearing some well-regarded security people tell me they are considering ditching their antivirus protection all together. They haven't done it, but these individuals feel the days of having a special application scan to remove malware on your desktop are numbered. Malware has changed, but the applications to ferret them out have not.

Antivirus programs, as we know them today, are based on 20-year-old technology of pattern matching. Pattern matching may have worked in the days of the Micheangelo virus and even as recently as Netsky, but methodically matching each and every … Read more

Security Bites 108: Understanding white listing

To put it simply, the concept of "white listing" is to define a set of software, a set of vendors, and allow only those trusted applications or files from those vendors to run on your machine. If a file or application is not approved, it will not run. This is the opposite of how we've blocked malware from our machines in the past.

In 2007, Symantec detected more than 1 million viruses, with two-thirds created within the calendar year. Loading 1 million antivirus signatures or even a percentage of that if generic signatures are used is a … Read more

Norton 2009 products open to public beta

On Monday, Symantec opened two of its Norton 2009 products to public beta. Both Norton Internet Security 2009 and Norton Antivirus 2009 feature new code that not only makes the scans and services run faster, but consume fewer system resources, says Tom Powledge, vice president of consumer product management.

As an example, Powledge said that where Norton Internet Security 2006 consumed roughly 300MB of hard-disk space, the 2009 version is coming in around 100MB. Symantec has achieved this, in part, by reducing a number of redundancies introduced over the years. For example, previous versions of NIS contained multiple copies of … Read more

McAfee reports on spam in the real world

Taking a cue from Morgan Spurlock who lived on fast food for 30 days in the Super Size Me documentary, McAfee gathered volunteers from around the world who would, for one hour a day, surf the Internet, signing up for various newsletters, filling in various forms. As they did so, the participants were asked to blog about their experiences.

On Tuesday, McAfee released the results of the experiment it called S.P.A.M., or Spammed Persistently All Month.

Over the course of the month, McAfee's test subjects accumulated 104,000 spam messages, or roughly 70 per day per … Read more

Adobe Flash exploit raises concern

Update 11:10 a.m. May 30: Despite earlier reports, version of Adobe Flash Player has no new bugs. For the latest news, click here.

Legitimate Web sites hosting Adobe Flash Player content may be compromised to embed JavaScript that redirects users to a Chinese malware server, says Symantec. Affected versions of Adobe Flash Player include 9.0.124 .0 (latest version) and

Symantec says that under certain conditions embedded JavaScript within the player will redirect users to In an alert on Tuesday, Symantec said specific details about the vulnerability … Read more

Symantec's Norton user forum in beta

After year's of prodding from pesky security software reviewers like myself, Symantec has finally created a user forum for its Norton products. Although still officially in beta, the forum is has been operating in-house for a few months and thus has been generating some useful how-to information.

Moderator Dave Cole sums up the project in a welcome note:

We've been working on re-launching our product forums for several months now and are happy to finally officially open the door on the beta. We kicked off this project with the intent of creating a place where Norton customers, employees … Read more

Symantec to buy AppStream

Symantec is acquiring AppStream, a maker of application streaming technology.

Symantec already uses AppStream's technology in its Software Virtualization Solution (SVS) Pro. Using application streaming enables end users to perform functions by accessing parts of a software program over the network as needed, without having the program fully installed on the client computer.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The transaction is expected to close by the end of June, Symantec says.

(Credit: Symantec)

Mac security not so much about the Mac

SAN FRANCISCO--Politicians like to joke that Social Security reform is considered the "third rail" of politics. In Apple's world, that rail belongs to security.

It's been a while since we examined the "state of Mac security," and with this week's RSA Conference in San Francisco, and last month's CanSecWest conference fresh in everyone's mind, it seemed like a decent time.

The topic is always a heated one, and it tends to bring out the usual Mac vs. PC bashing. But according to people I talked to this week here at RSA, … Read more

Symantec CEO talks ID management, the future

Predicting the future for technology and business is never easy, yet Symantec CEO John Thompson ventured into that Tuesday morning in his keynote speech at RSA 2008.

On the future, Thompson predicted three things: that malicious software will outnumber legitimate software, increasing the need for so-called white listing; that identity management will grow beyond the enterprise and start to include every customer in the world; and digital rights management will be become a reality for all content, not just music and video.

He said businesses need to start thinking about these things now. "I believe this starts with a … Read more

Symantec's revenge

I walked away from Symantec a long time ago. I no longer want any of their software on my computer or those of my clients. It's a long story.

A few months ago, I set up a new X series Thinkpad for a client and one of the first things I did was remove the pre-installed trial version of Norton Antivirus. I thought I was done with Symantec on that machine, but no.

After a couple months, the computer owner experienced a problem with a Symantec DLL that prevented them from running an important application. Yes, a Symantec DLL, … Read more