Over the years, we’ve seen Symantec’s reputation go down-hill as their Norton line of antivirus and security products has been labeled sluggish and bloated by those who use it. According to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, Symantec is hoping to change the future of security software by making it “less annoying” which could help improve their reputation and bring customers back. Their ideas sound good, and it certainly would be faster, but could present some problems.
The future of Norton security products will involve a new statistical method for finding malware instead of the current method which is more intense and is deeply involved with the operating system. The WSJ says, “security software works, in part, by hooking itself into a PC or system to look for unusual behavior that might be a hint that malware is lurking within. In coming releases of its consumer-security suite, Norton 360, Symantec plans to use a new statistical approach to finding malware that looks at factors like the number of total PCs a piece of software is installed on. If it’s installed on a lot of PCs, it’s probably safe; if it’s installed on just one computer, it’s probably not.“They are also hoping to reduce the amount of time it takes for the software to be installed.
Do you see any problems with the method they are working on, to make security software “less annoying”? The problem we see is that if a virus is wide-spread and installed on thousands of computers, which happens, it could provide a false sense of reassurance. It seems as though solely using a statistical approach could prove to be faster, but unfortunately, it could be less reliable. Ultimately Symantec hopes to make Norton both faster and more reliable, but from the sounds of it, Norton will only be faster unless there’s more to this approach than we’re aware of, or if they combine methods.
We do have to give Symantec some credit for breaking away from what’s familiar to try something new. Rowan Trollope who is the head of Symantec’s consumer business says his goal is to build “zero-impact” security software that won’t slow down computers. He says, “I’ve staked my career and reputation on this.” Hopefully it proves to be worth it…