BetaNews: Symantec has released brand new versions of its Norton security packages for Windows, Norton Anti-Virus 2013, Norton Internet Security 2013 and Norton 360 2013. It’s the first time all three packages have been updated simultaneously, while the branding has also been amended to remove all references to a date, simply naming each Norton Anti-Virus, Norton Internet Security and Norton 360, respectively.
The 2013 versions come with what Symantec describes as “five layers of patented protection”, which include stronger social networking and anti-scam protection. There’s also full, certified support for Windows 8 and the promise of better performance on multi-core CPUs.
Symantec has focused its efforts on two related areas of protection for the 2013 releases, providing stronger protection for those using social networking sites. One in ten social network users has, according to the current annual Norton CyberCrime Report, fallen prey to fake links or scams, and so a new Scam Insight tool provides warnings against potentially risky websites along with an improved Norton Safe Web for Facebook app, providing users with the ability to quickly scan their timeline for potential scams and fake links.
Other improvements to existing protection include more rapid updates for the Insight file reputation database, which now also tracks IP addresses to help determine where threats are originating from.
Norton’s 2013 product are also fully certified with Windows 8. This includes integration with Windows 8’s Early Launch of Anti-Malware (ELAM) technology that permits security software to be up and running much earlier in the boot process than was the case with Windows 7, and which helps nullify certain rootkits. Also implemented is a new memory heap manager for helping to block and minimize the dangers from memory exploits.
The user interface has also been tweaked to be more Windows 8-friendly, with touch support and tile-based buttons. Staying up to date has been made simpler too, with all product updates now delivered automatically, and reboots eliminated from the install and update process.
The 2013 product line comes with a Network Cost Awareness feature – choose Settings > Network Security Settings > Network Cost Awareness and click Configure – that allows specific network connections to be set to Economy, to prevent unnecessary updates from being downloaded on bandwidth-limited connections such as 3G.
Finally, all three Norton 2013 products are engineered to take advantage of newer multi-core processors and inbuilt technologies in Windows 8 to deliver faster startup and shutdown times over its immediate predecessor. Sadly, boot times remain a little long in Windows 7, although the apps overall effect on system performance is light. Other performance tweaks include better support for digital media, plus reduced power consumption to help extend battery life.
Norton AntiVirus 2013 FINAL, Norton Internet Security 2013 FINAL and Norton 360 2013 are all available now as a free 30-day trial downloads for PCs running Windows XP SP2 or later. Prices start from $49.99 for a single-user, 12-month license of Norton AntiVirus 2013 FINAL, with three-user licenses for Norton Internet Security 2013 and Norton 360 2013 costing $79.99 and $89.99 respectively.