Norton has made available beta downloads for their upcoming security software refreshes. Norton InternetSecurity 2012 Beta and Norton Antivirus2012 Beta are both available for download at the Norton Beta Center. Interested users need to fill out a small registration form before they can download one or both of the applications.
We take a look at the terms and conditions later, but both are time limited unless you have a valid license for the product. Our copy of Norton InternetSecurity 2012 for instance expires after 14 days from the time of installation.
Lets take a look at what’s new in both applications:
The installer needs an Internet connection as it downloads the installation files during installation. The installation itself took less than a minute on a test system and had to be completed with the entering of a product key that was send to the registered email address, and a Norton account registration. No restart of the system was required.
Norton Internet Security 2012
The following modules and components are new, improved or updated in Norton InternetSecurity 2012:
- Interface simplification with options to run scans and updates right from the interface. Advanced users can switch to (and set as default) advanced mode which allows them to enable or disable features with a click.
- Identity Safe 2.0 can now safe data to the cloud so that you can connect to the information from multiple computers. Identity Safe is basically a password manager and form filler.
- Application Stability Ratings are introduced in Norton 2012. Norton scans the running applications on your PC and displays ratings for them. Applications are rated by their resource usage, trust level and reliability.
- Bandwidth Metering is introduced in Norton 2012 products which can limit Norton to only download critical updates or nothing at all.
- Norton Autofix is an automatic tool that tries to fix problems that you may be experiencing with your copy of Norton Internet Security 2012.
- Performance has been approved, according to Norton. This includes a smaller footprint, faster startup and shutdown times and faster scans and file access operations.
- Google Chrome users can now make use of the Identity Safe and Safe Web features, which they previously could not.
- Norton Power Eraser 2.0 and Sonar 4.0 updates introduce new features. Sonar Policy Enforcement uses behavioral analysis of processes to create profiles. The app looks at a processes previous actions and uses them in its analysis of the process. This increases the chance that malicious processes are discovered.
For example, let’s say a particular process tried to access the system folder and tried to call home, but does not have any running UI. Also, it downloaded more than 15 files the previous day. Any one of these things alone may not be “bad,” but taken as a whole, the behavioral profile is bad. The analyst will therefore make a rule that says if we see this string of behaviors, then we should stop the process from executing.
Norton Antivirus 2012
Norton Antivirus 2012 has less features than Norton Internet Security 2012. The program benefits from faster performance and a streamlined interface just as its big brother but lacks many of the advanced features. The key features according to Norton are:
- Norton Protection System includes 4 layers of rock-solid protection designed to proactively protect against the very latest threats – so you can do more on your PC without disruptions.
- Insight Technology protects you from download dangers no matter which browser, instant messenger or file sharing program you use*.
- Customizable Control Center gives you the option to choose your preference between a simplified screen or the traditional detailed view.
- Bandwidth Management limits Norton’s processes and updates when you have limited bandwidth or monthly downloads.
- Download Insight 2.0 now tells you how stable a download is before you put your computer at risk for crashes or other bad things to happen.
- Norton Recovery Tools help remove threats that can be deeply buried in a PC’s operating system.
Keep in mind that both applications are beta versions which means that they may still have bugs or issues that need to be resolved. You should not install them on a productivity system.
Norton’s decision to work on the performance and user interface will make the program more attractive. Sonar Policy Enforcement is in my opinion the biggest new feature in Internet Security 2012.