Norton AntiVirus, developed and distributed by Symantec Corporation, provides malware prevention and removal during a subscription period. It uses signatures and heuristics to identify viruses. Other features include e-mail spam filtering and phishing protection.
Symantec distributes the product as a download, a box copy, and as OEM software. Norton AntiVirus and Norton Internet Security, a related product, held a 61% US retail market share for security suites as of the first half of 2007. Competitors, in terms of market share in this study, include antivirus products from CA, Trend Micro, and Kaspersky Lab.
Norton AntiVirus runs on Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. Version 188.8.131.52 is the latest Windows build. Windows 7 support is in development for versions 2006 through 2008. Version 2009 has Windows 7 supported update already. Version 2010 natively supports Windows 7, without needing an update. Version 11.1.1 is the latest Mac build.
In May 1989, Symantec launched Symantec Antivirus for the Macintosh (SAM). SAM 2.0, released March 1990, incorporated technology allowing users to easily update SAM to intercept and eliminate new viruses, including many that didn’t exist at the time of the program’s release.
In August 1990 Symantec acquired Peter Norton Computing from Peter Norton. Norton and his company developed various DOS utilities including the Norton Utilities, which did not include antivirus features. Symantec continued the development of acquired technologies. The technologies are marketed under the name of “Norton”, with the tagline “from Symantec”. Norton’s crossed-arm pose, a registered U.S. trademark, was traditionally featured on Norton product packaging. However, his pose was later moved to the spine of the packaging, and eventually dropped altogether.
By early 1991, U.S. computers were invaded by hundreds of foreign virus strains and corporate PC infection was becoming a serious problem. Symantec’s Norton Group launched Norton AntiVirus 1.0 (NAV) for PC and compatible computers. Ads for the product, with suggested retail $129, featured Norton in his crossed-arm pose, wearing a pink shirt and surgical mask covering his nose and mouth. With the 1998 version 5.0 update, SAM was renamed Norton AntiVirus (NAV) for Macintosh.
Product activation was introduced in Norton AntiVirus 2004, addressing the estimated 3.6 million counterfeit Norton products sold. An alphanumeric code is generated to identify a computer’s configuration, which ties in with the product key. Users are allowed to activate their product five times with the same product key. Spyware and adware detection and removal was introduced to the 2005 version, with the tagline “Antispyware Edition”. The tagline was dropped in later releases. However, Norton AntiVirus 2009 Classic does not include spyware or adware detection. The Classic edition is marketed alongside Norton AntiVirus 2009, which does include spyware and adware detection.
Existing users of the 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 versions can upgrade to the latest 2010 version without buying a new subscription. Upgrading will preserve the number of days left on a user’s subscription.
Norton AntiVirus 2011 Beta was released on April 21, 2010. Changes include a new user interface and improved scanning of internet sites for malware. With the 2011 version, Symantec also released an application that “scans” the user’s Facebook feed for any malware links. This application does not require a valid subscription. The final version of Norton AntiVirus 2011 was released on August 31, 2010.
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