воскресенье, 27 октября 2013 г.

It really doesn't seem that long since Norton Internet Security 2010 made its first appearance, but eager to show us what's coming next, Symantec have released a public preview of the 2011 edition. And even though the finished version won't be available for perhaps another 5 months, it's already looking very impressive with some interesting new additions. The antivirus engine, for instance, extends its current file, folder, quick and full system scans with the new Reputation Scan. This checks your files against Norton's Insight database, then displays information about them: how "trusted" a file is, when Insight first recorded it, how common it is amongst other Norton users, and so on. While none of this can conclusively establish that a file is dangerous, if you suspect an infection already then it could be very helpful. A few clicks with show you files that are new, uncommon and with a low trust rating, perhaps pointing you in the right direction. Regular antivirus scans also have a new addition, with their final reports including an additional message: "if you think there are still [undetected] risks, click here". The link leads to a download page for Norton Power Eraser, which uses more aggressive methods to detect and remove tricky malware. Unfortunately this increases the chance of the program misidentifying legitimate software as threats, but you get the final decision over what's removed, so as long as you're careful it's still a positive step forward. Web monitoring Accurate antivirus scanning is vital. But strong web monitoring and real-time protection technologies are, if anything, even more important, as they'll help to prevent you from becoming infected in the first place. And so it's good to see Norton Internet Security 2011 extending its monitoring capabilities further than ever before. Download Insight, for instance, is Symantec's scheme for checking the files you access online. When a file is downloaded, Norton Internet Security 2011 will interrogate an online database to determine its reputation, and warn you or remove the file completely if it's known to be dangerous. In the last version of Norton Internet Security, you were only protected against downloads made via IE and Firefox. In 2011, though, the scheme will protect you regardless of how the file is delivered: by all the main browsers, email clients and instant messaging tools. It'll allow Symantec to gather much more information, much more quickly, and as a result all Norton 2011 users will be better protected. The Download Insight improvements will feed into other areas, too. Its "reputation" figure is used to calculate the trust rating displayed in the new Reputation scan, for example, so that should become even more useful when there's a large number of people using it. Elsewhere, Norton Safe Web continues to annotate your Google, Bing and Yahoo! search results with safety and e-commerce ratings, so you're able to spot potentially dangerous sites before clicking their links. And a separate tool, the Norton Safe Web application for Facebook, does a similar job with your Facebook news stream, scanning it for malicious URLs and alerting you to any concerns. Currently this is available as a Facebook application only, but this means you must manually run it occasionally to check for risks. It's easy to imagine the technology being integrated into Norton Internet Security, perhaps automating the checking process so you catch dangerous links earlier. Performance alerts Symantec applications are often criticised for being resource hogs, but while there may have been some truth to this, long ago, this certainly doesn't apply any more. The company have worked hard to optimise their technologies, and while they don't have most lightweight of tools, they'll have less performance impact on your PC than many of the competition. Pop-up alerts warn you of resource-hungry programs There's no need to take our word for it, though, because Norton 2011 now includes a performance monitor that tracks exactly how your CPU and RAM is being used at any one time. If your PC has seemed slow in the last few minutes, just switch to the Performance module and look at the graphs. Click a moment of peak use on the CPU chart, say, and Norton will display the 3 programs that were making the greatest use of your processor at that moment. And that's not all. Norton 2011 also keeps an eye on processes that are consuming more than their share share of resources, and will display a pop-up alert to warn you about persistent offenders: we had one complaining of high levels of disk activity from the Windows Search Indexer, for instance. All these alerts are logged for review later. This really is a clever addition to Norton 2011. After all, it's already monitoring what your applications are doing, so collecting a little performance data as well will add minimal overheads. The feature will then show that Norton 2011 probably isn't slowing you down. Even better, it'll do a very good job of highlighting what is, giving you a chance to deal with the problem by tweaking, updating or removing the resource-hungry app. And as an end result, Norton Internet Security 2011 may actually help to speed up some PCs. Many features While we've concentrated on the major new additions here, Norton Internet Security 2011 does of course have plenty of other features on offer. An excellent antispam filter integrates with Outlook 2002/ 2003/ 2007/ 2010, Outlook Express 6.0 or later and Windows Mail, for instance. It uses whitelist, blacklist and its own spam definitions, and in our tests typically detected around 80% of junk mail while only very rarely blocking legitimate messages. The Smart Firewall is highly configurable The firewall is impressive, allowing all known safe web apps online without any hassle, and only displaying alerts when it detects genuinely unusual behaviour. It's also very configurable, once you've found the right settings (an interface quirk or two meant that took us a moment). The Web Protection feature stores logins, credit card details and other personal information in a password-protected database. These then won't be visible to anyone who gets access to your PC. And you can have the program enter these details for you at websites, bypassing any keyloggers that might be on the system. And a Network Security Map alerts you to security problems like unencrypted wireless connections, displays the status of other Norton-protected PCs on your network, and shows you a map of network hardware that makes it easy to detect unidentified devices. Despite the beta tag, all features appeared to be functional and working as expected. And best of all, there's none of the bloat we might expect from an early release. The core Symantec Service Frameworks required about 18MB of RAM (private working set) when running in the background, peaking at around 90MB when running a scan - Norton Internet Security 2011 is already efficient, and there may be more improvements to come.

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