Product Type: Symantec virus protection software
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Symantec Norton AntiVirus 2000
Member Name: MichaelR
Symantec Norton AntiVirus 2000
Date: 12/02/01, updated on 12/02/01 (146 review reads)
Advantages: Three level protection. Constantly updated definitions.
Disadvantages: You have to pay a fee to keep using Live Update at the end of the first 12 months.
If you're paranoid like me, then you'll also see the need for such things as personal firewalls and encryption keys, but they aren't really as indispensable as a good virus scanner.
To me, having had bitter experiences with other so-called virus checkers, the Norton range from Symantec has always been the best on the market. Where lesser packages, such as though offered by Trend Micro (PCillin) and McAfee (McAfee V Shield, McAfee Virus Scan et al) have consistently failed me, Norton has saved my bacon on more than one occasion.
The reason that Norton AntiVirus (NAV for short) is so good is that it is backed up by the good people at the Symantec AntiVirus Research Centre (SARC). I have nothing but praise for these people. They work night and day to figure out how the latest viruses work, and to develop fixes for damage they cause, and to work out how to eradicate them.
SARC provide updates to the virus definitions for NAV (these are the code fragments that NAV checks against files on your system when it performs a scan to see whether or not a virus could be present) at least twice a week, and you can also contact them directly if you should ever be unfortunate enough to acquire an as-yet undiscovered virus on your system.
The level of personal care provided by SARC is tremendous. You can send them quarantined files for analysis, and they will keep in contact with you until they have a fix for it, which will often be within 48 hours, and they will send you the fix as soon as they have cracked it.
SARC really is the backbone of the whole NAV package, and it's what allows Symantec's software to stay so far ahead of the competition, and only ever be a small step behind those who are writing viruses.
The NAV software itself provides the most comprehensive protection of any package on the market. A memory resident program stays
active in the tray at all times, unless you switch it off, (bad idea) and this program checks the instructions executed every time you open a program, to see if it could be a virus, or could have a virus linked to it.
This is the top level of the NAV protection. Underneath this, there is a DOS level shell program that can halt Windows if the integrity of the NAV Windows program is ever compromised. (You have to remember that NAV is just like any other program in that viruses can attack it too. Where the DOS program helps is that it runs independently from Windows, so it is never in the same execution thread, and so it is much less prone to being latched onto by a virus)
There is then the main Windows program, where you can perform scans of specific files, drives, or the whole system as well as looking up viruses in the database or running LiveUpdate to retrieve the latest virus definitions.
LiveUpdate is basically a feature that makes it very, very easy to update the definitions. You simply run it every two weeks, and it fetches the latest definitions and installs them automatically. You get to use it free for a year, but then you have to pay if you want to continue using it after that.
I would advise against parting with your cash though, as it is just as easy to go to the Norton website and download the definitions yourself. These come in the form of a small program, which you simply download and run. This program then extracts the latest definitions and installs them automatically. It's just as simple as using LiveUpdate really.
The package also includes a program called Norton Rescue. This is linked to the NAV main program, and can be used to create a set of rescue disks. These disks can be used if NAV loses its battle and the main program as well as the DOS program is compromised and itself infected by a virus.
Norton Rescue allows you to create either a set of five floppy disks, or one zip disk, which w
ill allow you to boot a "clean" copy of the program to examine your system. The floppy version boots your system into DOS and can be very slow, whereas the zip version boots your system into a clean windows environment and is extremely quick. Useful if you have a zip drive then...
The final part of the package is the scheduler. This program is used to schedule routine scans of the system, as well as informing you when your virus definitions are out of date, or when you should update your rescue disks. It can get a bit annoying having it ping at you all the time, but it’s for your own good!
If it really starts annoying you, then you can disable it, or customise it to your liking, so perhaps, for example, so that it only performs routine scans and doesn’t inform you of when you should be updating your definitions.
The best thing about NAV though is definitely it's handling of the situation when a virus is executed on your system. It will tell you what's happening, and you always have complete control of the process... being allowed to chose what action, if any, you wish to take at all times. If you are not sure of what is happening, then NAV will advise you.
If things really start to go pear shaped, then NAV will halt Windows to prevent the spread of the virus through the system, and then you can run your rescue disks.
The great thing is though, that it can deal with viruses that it does not have the definitions for. These are stored in quarantine where they cannot be executed, and then you can send the contents of the quarantine to SARC for analysis.
I just cannot recommend this package highly enough really.
Everyone should have a copy. It really is essential software.
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