New Norton CyberCrime Index rates your risk

Symantec is launching a new version of Norton 360 alongside a new tool called the CyberCrime Index for helping figure out just how safe it is to be online at any given time.

A new free tool from the makers of Norton attempts to quantify the real-time state of cybersecurity. It makes its debut today alongside the latest version of Symantec's all-in-one consumer security suite, Norton 360.

The Norton CyberCrime Index lies somewhere between a weather report and the United States' threat level advisory system, and Norton 360 version 5 launches with a direct link to it.

Norton CyberCrime Index (images)

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The CyberCrime Index uses a statistical model based on information from Symantec's Global Intelligence Network, ID Analytics, and DataLossDB. At the top level, the CyberCrime Index takes this data and creates a number evaluating the relative risk of the threats of the day. However, it also provides a more in-depth look at active threats, threat trends, and provides advice on what kinds of behaviors are being most heavily targeted that day.

Symantec has had the statistical model and algorithm it uses in the CyberCrime Index vouched for by the University of Texas at San Antonio.

The service is set to go live this morning, so check back here later today for a hands-on update.

Symantec isn't forcing the index on any of its users, though the new version of Norton 360 does include a direct link to the service. Version 5 of Norton 360 includes the real-time threat map that debuted in Norton's 2011 consumer suites, along with all the features that were introduced in Norton's 2011 consumer suites last fall. These include updates to Norton's Insight engine, which instantly checks a file's origins and how long it's existed to determine how safe it is. The new version of System Insight also profiles your programs to determine if any of them are slowing down system performance, and automatically alerts users when a program is eating up too many resources.

Now included in Norton 360 is the Norton Bootable Recovery Tool, which will clean heavily infected systems enough to get Norton 360 installed, and can create a rescue tool on disc or USB so that your computer can be resuscitated. The backup features in Norton 360 have been improved, too, adding in automatic file encryption to the backup process. Lastly, Norton Safe Web's social-media scanner has been imported from Norton Internet Security 2011. Currently, it still only supports Facebook, though that's a good start: it will check your Facebook wall and news feeds from within Norton.

Norton 360 version 5 (review) comes with a 30-day trial and can be used on up to three computers. A one-year license with 2GB of online storage retails for $79.99. Bumping that up to 25GB of storage costs $99.99.

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