Symantec unveils all-in-one consumer security suite

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Symantec unveils all-in-one consumer security suite

Norton 360 picks up fight with McAfee Total Protection and Microsoft OneCare.

Symantec has unveiled its all-in-one Norton 360 consumer security suite, bundling anti-virus, anti-spyware, firewall, intrusion detection, anti-phishing, backup and system tune-up technology into a single application.

The security vendor claimed that the suite will restore user confidence in online transactions. The suite is designed to provide a high level of automation, performing security scans in the background without impacting overall system performance.

Analyst firm Current Analysis marks the suite as a next generation security application because it switches from providing signature based malware scanning to a proactive security shield that blocks viruses based on their behaviour. The new software furthermore is an important tool for Symantec to continue competing with Microsoft, which entered the consumer security market last year.

"Anti-virus technology is becoming a commodity. The additional features are important," said Charlotte Dunlap, a senior analyst covering enterprise security for Current Analysis.

She added that consumer security suites are currently on the rise. Users demand a more integrated security suite as they are starting to rely more heavily on computers to process payments and to store irreplaceable digital media such as family photos.

Microsoft last month started shipping an updated version of OneCare security suite that offers backup, firewall and unified virus and spyware scanning. McAfee last August unveiled its McAfee Total Protection software that offers features including malware scanning, identity protection services, backup and Wi-Fi network security tools.

Dunlap touted Symantec's and McAfee's anti-phishing technologies as the most important differentiators with Microsoft Onecare.

"That's really relevant because a lot of concerns with consumer have to do with online transactions and worries about information theft," said Dunlap.

Microsoft does offer anti-phishing built into its Internet Explorer 7 browser, but that doesn't have the mind share that dedicated consumer security products have, Dunlap said.

A one-year subscription to Norton 360 costs US$79.99. The software is for sale on Symantec's website starting today and will be in retail stores by March.

Microsoft charges US$50 for a one-year subscription to its Onecare service. McAfee offers four different consumer security suites, ranging in price from US$39.99 for a bare virus scanner to US$79.99 for the full Total Protection suite.
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