Symantec has unveiled its all-in-one Norton 360 consumer security suite, bundling antivirus, anti-spyware, firewall, intrusion detection, anti-phishing, back-up and system tune-up technology into a single application.
The vendor claimed that the new suite will restore user confidence in online transactions.
Norton 360 is designed to provide a high level of automation, performing security scans in the background without affecting overall system performance.
Analyst firm Current Analysis describes the suite as a next-generation security application because it switches from signature-based malware scanning to a proactive security shield that blocks viruses based on their behaviour.
Norton 360 is also an important tool for Symantec in its battle with Microsoft, which entered the consumer security market last year.
"Antivirus technology is becoming a commodity, and the additional features are important," said Charlotte Dunlap, a senior analyst covering enterprise security at Current Analysis.
Dunlap added that consumer security suites are currently on the rise as users rely more heavily on computers to process payments and store irreplaceable digital media such as family photos.
Microsoft started shipping an updated version of its OneCare security suite last month that offers back-up, firewall and unified virus and spyware scanning.
Dunlap pointed to Symantec's and McAfee's anti-phishing technologies as the most important differentiators with OneCare.
"This is relevant because a lot of consumer concerns have to do with online transactions and worries about information theft," Dunlap told vnunet.com.
Microsoft offers anti-phishing built into its Internet Explorer 7 browser, but this does not have the mind share of dedicated consumer security products, Dunlap said.
A one-year subscription to Norton 360 costs $79.99. The software is for sale on Symantec's website starting today and will be in retail stores by March.
Microsoft charges $50 for a one-year subscription to OneCare. McAfee offers four different consumer security suites, ranging in price from $39.99 for a bare virus scanner to $79.99 for its Total Protection suite.
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