Symantec today announced the release of Norton AntiVirus 2008 and Norton Internet Security 2008, the latest versions of its antivirus and computer security software. With this release, Symantec continues to focus on performance as much as detection and prevention, addressing one of the biggest knocks on NAV: it was slow and a system hog.

Symantec (Quote) began working on NAV's performance issues beginning with Norton AntiVirus 2007, released last year. With version 2008, the company says the UI is 22 percent faster, completes a quick scan up to 39 percent faster, uses 69 percent less memory and is 12 percent faster in a full scan than the last version.


"Performance has been our focus over the last two cycles," Jody Gibney, senior product manager for Internet Security, told Internetnews.com. She said more than two million man-hours went into performance improvements of the software.

"We had a dedicated performance team working along side our product development team to make sure as we innovate in security we are also innovating in performance," said Gibney.

Symantec also made a number of changes to NAV and Internet Security 2008, a comprehensive suite of security products that includes the antivirus product. The company has added Browser Defender to protect against drive-by downloads and hidden hacks, even against a zero-day hack.

That's because JavaScript or VBScript hacks, no matter how they are obfuscated, still have to hook into the same places. Browser Defender monitors the points of attack in the browser, said Gibney.

Norton Identity Safe is an online security card system that stores and encrypts passwords and other confidential data and passes it securely to a Web site, to protect from keystroke loggers. It is in Norton Internet Security 2008 only.

Symantec has integrated its Identity Safe feature into a phishing protection toolbar for Firefox and Internet Explorer. It looks at blacklist data and does over 100 different examinations of a site for phishing-related traps. It also blocks users from going to trap sites that use slight misspellings of popular domain names.

Norton Internet Security 2008 also comes with home networking security analysis to map all connected devices, monitor the security of the devices—including wireless devices—and make suggestions on how to improve security.

This article was first published on InternetNews.com. To read the full article, click here.