Norton AntiVirus 2000 scans e-mail, blocks code

Symantec Corp. announced recently Norton AntiVirus 2000, a new version of its security software updated for threats carried by the Internet, with automatic scanning for malicious code in e-mail messages and data downloads.

Norton AntiVirus 2000 scans e-mail attachments from applications employing the POP3 mail protocol such as Microsoft Corp.’s Outlook and Outlook Express, Qualcomm Inc.’s Eudora Pro/Lite, Netscape Communication Corp.’s Messenger and Mail. All the recent serious viruses such as Melissa have entered PCs hiding in e-mail attachments.

Norton AntiVirus 2000 looks for so-called trojan horses, programs such as Back Orifice and Netbus which may be used for stealing passwords and destroying data. A trojan horse carries a “server” program, which once installed opens the door for unauthorized access.

Furthermore, the antivirus software analyses ActiveX code and Java applets for possible destructive code (that performs such actions as deleting material on a hard disk) and blocks such code. Another well-known threat, an infected compressed file contained in a compressed file, is detected, according to the written statement from Symantec, based in Cupertino, Calif. The software eliminates viruses in multiple compressed file levels, such as in .ZIP files.

Users will encounter a different graphical user interface than previously, as Symantec has changed this in order to better present virus alerts and the needed actions.

There is also a new function, the LiveAdvisor, which provides a pop-up message on the screen whenever Symantec has noticed a new virus on the scene. LiveAdvisor will alert the user when software to ward against a new virus is available, and when the antivirus software on the PC is considered out-of-date by the vendor.

Symantec has also changed its engine, that is, the code containing the executable how-to-scan logic for the various families of viruses.

The engine scans for viruses contained in the virus-detection file (the other piece of an antivirus program). However, network administrators thus far have been able to update this file with a new virus only if it’s related to those currently in the file. A new virus necessitating a fundamental change in the engine’s scanning methodology, also necessitated an upgrade of the engine itself.

That is no longer so. The new engine, named Navex, allows Symantec to ship major changes in the engine’s scanning logic along with the description of the new virus.

Norton AntiVirus is Windows 98 tested and compliant and Windows 2000 compatible. The software, which can be downloaded from Symantec and several on-line retailers now, costs around US$39.95 for first-time users, whereas upgrades are priced around US$19.95.

However, Symantec is not first to market with functions such as scanning e-mail attachments and downloads. The biggest competitor, Network Associates Inc., already has them in its McAfee software.

Symantec is at