A couple of familiar faces get makeovers in Norton Internet Security 2009 and Norton AntiVirus 2009 from Symantec Corp. The company is boasting 300 changes to the security package, including a new underlying architecture.

Independent lab PassMark Software Inc. says Norton Internet Security 2009 installs in less than a minute and can do a quick scan in 33 seconds. Your mileage may vary, of course. New Norton Insight technology relies on the PCs of the user community to determine what are common and trusted files, eliminating the need to scan them regularly. “Pulse” updates every five to 15 minutes deliver new protection profiles in near-real time. Other IS 2009 features include browser protection from Web-based attacks, an intrusion prevention system geared for multimedia threats, SONAR (Symantec Online Network for Advanced Response) technology that detects emerging viruses and an updated Identity Safe that clones identity cards and imports information from Internet Explorer.

Norton AntiVirus 2009 provides mulit-layer protection, according to the company. Botnet detection prevents PCs from turning rogue or spewing out private information. Deep-cleaning and recovery tools can repair heavily infected computers, even those so ravaged by malware that they’re unbootable, according to Symantec.

Scheduling tools make sure the software doesn’t interrupt other tasks by, for example, trying to run a scan while a game or movie is playing.

Security firm AV-Test GmbH tested the Norton 2009 suite with 33 other protection packages, and says Norton detected 98 per cent of malware and 95 per cent of spyware without producing any false positives.

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