"Lighter" is the key word Symantec hopes customers will feel when installing Norton 360 version 2.0, which is the company's security and backup system for small business and home users that was launched today.
The Web browser moves to the fore in the release of Norton 360 Version 2.0. Two key features are Identity Protection, which now supports Firefox, and Browser Protection, which Symantec claims will protect against drive-by-downloads delivered by maliciously tampered Web sites.
Symantec has written definitions to automatically detect when exploits against Web application vulnerabilities are being attempted.
"We look at the traffic that's coming in from a Web site and we're looking at the commands that Web site is executing on your computer. We know that particular commands that come in may lead to an exploit on your PC... And when we see those calls that come in, we actually block them," Tom Powledge, Symantec's vice president of product management explained to ZDNet.com.au.
Norton's support for the Firefox browser in Identity Protection acknowledges the popularity of the Internet Explorer alternative. While Firefox contains fewer flaws than Internet Explorer, said Powledge, users should not assume the browser offers complete safety.
"When you're using Firefox, the primary dangers are vulnerabilities in third party applications that plug into Firefox like Quicktime or Adobe Reader. So while in general it is more secure than Internet Explorer, there are other problems they can run in to," he said.
Powledge said that even with its new features, Norton 360 2.0 uses less system resources than the previous version.
"The amount of RAM we use in the background is right about the same [as the previous version of Norton 360]. Scan times are lower, boot times are lower, the UI launch time -- the time it takes IE to launch -- are all better in the order of 10 to 15 percent better," he said.
He claims that compared to alternative products, the resources are significantly lower: "It's a real balance to have as many features inside Norton 360 as you do and keep that memory down to about 7 MB. There are competing applications that have about as many features as Norton 360 2.0 that use about 100MB of RAM in the background".
Beyond storage management features such as automated backup, Symantec is offering two online backup packages aimed at businesses with up to 10 users.
The five user edition will sell locally for AU$199.95 and offers 10 GB online storage, while the 10 user edition goes for AU$349.95, offering 25 GB online storage.
Symantec has not offered guarantees for the time it takes to recover information from its online backup service.