Saturday, November 26, 2005

Norton’s New & Enhanced Features

Norton Anti-virus includes several new features not found in earlier editions of the software. Laura Garcia, group product manager for Norton Anti-virus, says that Symantec noticed an important trend in consumer Internet usage and modified the anti-virus software accordingly.
“We see some changes, not just in the number of viruses, but in the type of channels through which they pass,” Garcia says. “The majority of infections are still through email, but for some [users], instant messaging has surpassed the use of email. We haven’t seen that many instant messaging viruses, but should instant messaging virus infections surpass email, we’re already ready.”
Norton Anti-virus scans and cleans incoming attachments from instant messaging applications such as Yahoo! Messenger, AIM (AOL Instant Messenger), MSN Messenger, and Windows Messenger. To make sure you’re protecting messages and attachments transmitting via these and other instant messaging clients open the Norton Anti-virus Options dialog box and select Instant Messenger from the left pane. In the What Instant Messengers to protect section, select the checkbox next to each program. Also, we recommend that you click the Configure New Users button, which automatically searches for and configures new instant messaging clients. Then, select the radio button next to Automatically Repair the Infected File and select the checkbox next to Alert Sender When an Infected File Is Received. Click OK.
The newest version of Norton Anti-virus also blocks worms from sneaking into your outgoing email attachments. The Worm Blocking feature scans your outgoing email attachments and notifies you if it finds any worms. Although this feature works automatically, just like many of the other features we discuss here, you can make sure it’s active by opening the Norton Anti-virus Options dialog box, selecting Email from the left pane, and selecting the Enable Worm Blocking and Alert When Scanning Email Attachments checkboxes. Click OK.
Script Blocking is another feature that works behind the scenes. Consider what happens after Norton Anti-virus compares a file you’re loading onto your computer against a database of known malware. If the file doesn’t include a known virus, Norton Anti-virus then looks to see if a script (sequence of instructions another program performs by design) is present that might promote malware-like activity. If Norton Anti-virus’ Script Blocking feature identifies potentially malicious behavior, it sends you an alert. The alert asks if you want to stop the script, let the script activity run once, let the entire script run, quarantine the script, or authorize the script to run without further alerts. If you trust the file, you may wish to authorize the script to run; but if you have any doubts, your best bet is to stop the script.
Script Blocking is active by default. Although we don’t recommend it, some users may prefer to turn this protection off, especially if they are developing or debugging scripts. If this is your preference, open the Norton Anti-virus Options dialog box, select Script Blocking from the left pane, and deselect Enable Script Blocking. Or, if you want Script Blocking to remain active but want to modify the program so it automatically stops suspicious behavior rather than merely alerting you, select the radio button next to Stop All Suspicious Activities and Do Not Prompt Me. Click OK.
Although most of Norton Anti-virus’ features work automatically in the background, you may want to manually scan individual files. For instance, let’s assume you question the security of a file you copied from a floppy diskette to your hard drive. To check it out, launch your Norton Anti-virus software and choose Scan for Viruses from the left pane. Now look in the right pane to review a list of tasks, starting with Scan My Computer and Scan All Removable Drives. Select Scan Files to highlight it, and from the Actions area below, click Scan. Next, browse your hard drive, locate the desired file, and click Open. Norton Anti-virus will scan the file and present you with its Scan Summary, which indicates whether it found an infection, how long the scan was, and what action the software took (such as quarantined, deleted, or fixed). Click Finished to close the dialog box.
One final note: When you purchase Norton Anti-Virus, it typically includes a one-year subscription service that lets you download the latest virus definitions and other important data. (If you bought a computer with Norton Anti-virus preinstalled, or if the software bundled with another hardware device, the subscription service is typically good for less than a year.) After the year is over, it’s crucial that you re-subscribe to the service or your virus definitions will be out-of-date. This is another reason to run Live Update: It will warn you before your subscription expires and let you re-subscribe.


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