Norton 360 gains new web ratings

The latest version of Symantec's all-in-one security and backup suite can now warn you of danger before you click

A new version of Norton 360 aims to protect users from dodgy websites, which the company claims are responsible for thousands of malware infections every day.

Norton 360 v3.0, due for release later this month, includes the new "Norton Safe Web" feature, which adds safety ratings to search results from Google and other search engines.

The ratings are based on Symantec's own scans, plus reports from Norton users who have agreed to participate in the company's Community Watch network.

Safe Web is similar to competing services offered by the likes of AVG and McAfee, but one feature that distinguishes it is a database of e-commerce sites licensed from independent auditors Buysafe. This enables the software to identify retailers certified as following responsible security and privacy policies.

"For the everyday user, Norton Safe Web provides another layer of reassurance," explained Con Mallon, Symantec's UK marketing manager.

"You now have two lines of defence: the Norton software will protect you should you visit an infected site, but with Safe Web you can make an informed decision about which sites you want to go to in the first place."

Norton 360 v3.0 also sees the antimalware module updated to use the Norton Internet Security 2009 engine, offering better detection rates and lower system overheads than previous versions.

The engine's ability to kick in when the computer is idle has been extended to the backup module, enabling incremental backups to be carried out whenever the computer is not in use.

For existing customers of Norton Internet Security 2009, Symantec plans to make Safe Web available as a free upgrade, and will launch a standalone online backup service at the end of March.

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