When I bought my wife a new laptop (Packard Bell easynote) just over a year ago it came with the Symantec Norton Internet Security package already installed and with a year's antivirus signatures subscription already paid for. I must admit that I had had the impression that this was a good product and, indeed, a number of companies with whom I work use their antivirus product at a corporate level, across their networks.
Sure enough, throughout the entire year that she had been using it she had never had any problems and updates had been regularly delivered and installed. I felt that her machine was being well protected, important from my point of view as it is connected to the Internet via our home network, on which a number of machines co-exist. The prospect of an infection blatting the entire network was not a concept I really wanted to contemplate.
The version that is installed on my wife's machine is 2004. About a month ago the annual subscription ran out and my wife started getting warning messages telling her that she needed to renew her subscription or else her virus signature files would not be kept up to date.
The message also told her that the version she is using is no longer supported. Her options were to renew the version as-is and accept that no support would be provided or else to upgrade to the latest version. To renew without upgrading would cost her £28 plus £5.88 Tax. Now, £5.88 is a very strange amount anyway since it represents 21% whilst UK VAT is 17.5%!!!! The upgrade to the latest 2006 version would cost £44.99 and with this she would get support.
Now, buying a brand new copy of Norton Internet Security 2006 only costs £54.99 so the trade-in value of the old version is only £10. Effectively you are as near as damn it buying a new copy anyway. I suggested that my wife save her money and just renew the old version as never once during the period she had been using it had she ever needed to call Symantec for support.
Her renewal was confirmed by email, which also suggested that to remain protected she needed to run Live Update, manually if necessary, by launching the program from the System Tray icon. I didn't think any more of this as I knew that she knew enough to be able to do this herself.
A couple of weeks later my wife told me that she kept getting ...these strange messages... saying that her computer was not protected because her virus signatures were out-of-date and she needed to run Live Update to update the files. It gave her a choice of delaying the warning if now was not a convenient time. I told her to click the button and do a Live Update.
A few days later she told me she was still getting the same message. It was then that I decided I needed to have a look at this myself and to try and find out what the actual problem was.
Clicking on the Live Update button started the process and clicking the Start button sets it running. The messages that scroll through the window indicate that all of the updates to the programs have either been applied or the files are already up-to-date. However, when it gets to the point where the virus signature files are being updated a strange and very disconcerting message appeared indicating LU1875: This update failed during its preprocessing welcome text phase."
I had no idea what this meant but checking the status of the system sure enough indicated that everything was up-to-date EXCEPT the virus signatures. Running Live Update again produced exactly the same response.
I went on to the Symantec website and did a search for LU1875. It brought me to a page that indicated that You may see the LU1875 error message if your computer is infected by the Trojan.Abwiz.F threat.! As you will realise, I found this somewhat alarming, especially as I had thought that it was Norton's job to prevent exactly this sort of thing happening. Isn't that what antivirus products are for?
Below this message there are two Click here links, one to a description of the Trojan.Abwiz.F virus (it turns out to be one of these new rootkit viruses) and the other to a removal tool. You have to download the removal tool and run it to detect the files the virus installs on your computer and remove them and any registry entries that it adds. You can't just simply run the program, you have first to turn of the System Restore function ( to avoid the virus simply being restored back onto your computer) and then reboot in Safe Mode so that the virus won't be loaded into memory and prevent itself being removed.
I followed the instructions to the letter but was astonished to see the removal tool report that no such virus had been found. I rebooted the machine normally and ran Live Update again. I was astounded to see it report that the update had failed due to the presence of, you've guessed it, condition LU1875.
Norton was refusing to update the virus signature files due to the presence of a virus it was unable to find!
Now I was getting highly suspicious. However, one thing I couldn't do was to contact Symantec to find out what was going on. As you will remember, 2004 is unsupported and you'd better believe Symantec aren't kidding!
A search on the Internet threw up no end of websites with people reporting exactly this situation, all affecting people who had renewed subscriptions for the 2004 version without upgrading! I think you can see where this is leading? What's the betting that if you pay for the upgrade to the 2006 version this condition will mysteriously disappear? I'll leave you to be the judge of that. Rest assured, we are most certainly not going to pay for the upgrade simply to find out.
However, all is not lost it seems. Read on because further on on the LU1875 webpage it then admits that If your computer is not infected, then this error message indicates that there was a problem downloading virus definitions using LiveUpdate. Use the automated download by the Intelligent Updater to fix this problem..
So that's exactly what I did. And it worked. The virus signatures were updated, confirmed by the status information. Live Update still says that LU1875 is present though! Looks like I will have to continue using Intelligent Updater as long as Norton remains on the computer.
It is my opinion that this is Symantec's greed getting the better of them. The only thing I can conclude from this experience is that they are not content to make do with regular annual renewal fees but want to con the gullible into paying upgrade fees by faking virus infection situations. Anyone less experienced with computer systems than myself and who simply want them to work with the minimum of fuss will undoubtedly not investigate the real cause behind the message and will simply shell out the upgrade fee in order to solve the dilemma. In my opinion this is despicable.
One thing is for sure, Symantec's Norton Internet Security will remain on this computer only as long as the current subscription lasts. After that it's for the Trash Bin. I will be installing something else in its place. Rest assured that no Symantec (and don't forget that that now also includes Veritas since they bought that company) product will ever find a place on any computer we own ever again.
As regards to the reviews by Jonnyho, and anthony horricks, I must agree with their views and their solutions.
I first came into contact with Norton Internet Security two years ago when I brought my computer, it came free with it, at first all was fine, but when I paid to download the latest version, that was when the problems started, computer slowing down software not working properly, I had a lot of problems with hackers, and the computer was constantly playing up, and I was having problems trying to apply the security, then a family member suggested Norton was the source of my problems, and suggested using the free programs on the net I found one I like, and started using it. And ever since the problems have not been as bad, and the computer works better than ever, so my advice do not go near Norton Internet Security, serch on the web for the free ones, and look at the write-ups, they are a great help.
I have been using Norton programs for a good few years now. And everytime a new edition comes out, they get worse. I first started using Norton Anti-virus in 2001, on a relatively fast computer back then. The program was fine, loaded up not too quicky but gave quite good protection and regular updates were easily downloaded (even on a dial up connection) and installed. It was when I got a broadband connection at home when I decided that I required a firewall. So I browsed the internet looking for one. I got Norton personal firewall 2002 in the end, as I had a decent experience with the antivirus. Everything worked fine, slowed down the startup and overall running of the computer slightly, but I sort of expected this anyway.
It was when both the antivirus and the firewall's subscriptions ran out that I decided not to just pay for the extra year subscription but to get the new package, Norton Internet Security 2004. How wrong I was.
Installation was a bit of a bitch, as the old programs had to be removed manually as it would not install properly if you just went over it. After uninstalling the two old programs, I was able to install it. Installation was quite simple, just the same as any other installation. After installation, I had to restart the computer. I noticed that the computer took much longer to boot up, nearly twice the amount of time. I put this down to the new program had just been installed, and didn't think twice about it.
Once my computer started up, Norton got me to run Liveupdate, a program installed with Norton to retreive updates from the symantec website. This was relatively simple, but took quite a long time and the files I noticed were a lot bigger. Maybe because there were more virus definitions or whatever, but you will probably need broadband to do it easily.
After the liveupdate, the computer still seemed like it was slowed down. Start ups always still took much longer than they used to. The program itself I think does work, but it needs to be constantly updated. Norton is also very annoying as it requires you to run a full system scan quite regularly.
Maybe symantec decided to make it like this as it was expected to run on much quicker machines than the older programs, but it still used a lot of system resources. The firewall also has some sort of pop-up blocker, so on certain websites, you must disable the firewall and reload the page. Not very useful.
If anyone is looking for a antivirus and firewall, I suggest that you do not purchase Norton. I have also heard the McAfee is also not too good now. But have heard good things about Panda's suite. Maybe give them a try. I probably will when my subscription for Norton runs out.
Overall, a useful program that helps protect you against viruses and attacks. But slows your computer down too much. Also, very expensive for what it is.
Where can I start with this absolute mock of software. Now I spend at least 40 hours a week on the WWW so I know what I am talking about when I rate any internet software.
I won't mension any names but I was using A FREE anti virus along side a decent FIREWALL which I really recommend (Zone Alarm,Check EBAY).
Anyway with these two programs working along sided each other My PC was running BRILLIANT. Not a bit of trouble for months.
Now there wouldn't have been any trouble at all if I didn't decide to use This terrible package.
There are too many virus's out there for this ridiculous effort at an anti-virus.
It's nothing personal, its just not up to the job.
It took me a while to get my PC fine again, but I am back to my old methods and My PC is ace.
And 1 more thing to add to this review.
Norton want approx £40. WHAT??????
After battling for years with the viruses, spy ware, ad ware and the occasional premium rate diallers the final straw came when I received a bill for over £100 ($130). I decided it was time i got rid of my freeware anti-virus protection and found the cash to protect myself. The package seemed perfect, anti-virus protection, a personal firewall and intrusion detector, privacy control, ad blocking and live update ? this really was the complete package. The antivirus protection was excellent, and since installing the package I have received regular updates through the built in automatic updating program, but perhaps more importantly I have not received any errors, crashes or other virus related phenomenon. This is mainly due to the auto-protect feature as I rarely do a full system scan. The auto-protect will scan every file used by your computer, offering full protection, but unlike other anti-virus protection you computer will only experience minimal slow down, hardly noticeable in many cases. The personal firewall is where I had most of my trouble, yes it did stop any threats from entering my computer over the internet, but this was only because it stopped most things from entering my computer. Even my MSN messenger chat program would not function unless I specifically told Norton Internet Protection to let my messages through. However the problems did not end there, as when I went to access computers over my Local Area Network it came as quite a surprise when I was told there was no network. After spending hours trying to configure the program I was told by a friend how to let all LAN communications through, a partial success but not very secure. The firewall and intrusion detection offers TOO MUCH protection at the expense of ease of use. Ad blocking was a great success and now I receive very few pop-ups and other intrusive ads. Not only does this provide me with the privacy I require but also I can surf the internet a lot quick
er on my slow dial-up modem. The live update which does require a subscription is well worth the cost due to the level of protection you are receiving, even the latest viruses will be kept out of your computer. The live update will automatically tell you when updates are needed and update all areas of your protection package, from the virus definition files to the updating program itself. Over-all I feel this is the best complete package on the internet, and although it can be tricky to set up once you have the program running smoothly it provides the best protection available. I would thoroughly recommend this product for a intermediate to advanced users who want complete protection for their home or business computers.