Since the end of the 1980’s the Symantec Corporation has offered its Norton Antivirus software to help keep unwanted viruses and intruders out of consumers’ computers. Now Symantec Corporation wants to switch its focus to attacks, rather than blocking intrusions.
Antivirus software attention has previously been on stopping viruses and hackers from attacking a consumer’s computer by putting up firewalls and blocking unwanted entry. Now that hackers are becoming more sophisticated the defensive way of thinking is becoming the least effective way to keep a computer safe. Brian Dye, Symantec’s senior vice president for information security, believes that the Norton Antivirus software only stops about 45 percent of cyber-attacks.
Symantec now sees the future of computer protection leading towards tracking suspicious activity in real-time. Blocking entry is no longer easily feasible as there are plenty of ways to gain access to a computer as more and more vulnerabilities are discovered every day. It is felt around the antivirus community that trying to block intrusions is no longer effective. Hackers have found their way around firewalls and other blocking measures and the need to protect against the actual attack has risen.
Antivirus software has moved toward tracking suspicious activity for some time. Symantec and other antivirus developers have created add-ons to web browsers that look for suspicious text and links while also warning when a program tries to alter or delete files crucial to the operating system. Those measures are still a form of blocking and protecting, rather than focusing on where and why the computer is being attacked.
Symantec Corporation is now going to take protection a step further and switch to focusing on the point of attack, attempting to minimize any damage that may occur. Just as hackers have become more sophisticated, so has antivirus software. When security software first started it was unknown what attackers were after. That is why stopping them before they entered the computer was so crucial. After years of monitoring attacks and activity, Symantec is able to predict when an attack is about to occur.
Symantec is now aware that hackers are after personal and financial information. The recent attacks on large corporations have been executed to obtain personal information from the company’s clients. This is one way Norton Antivirus is trying to improve. Knowing what the hackers are after will allow the software to monitor areas of the computer where that information is stored, and alert the user of any suspicious activity.
Currently Symantec does not plan to stop distributing its Norton Antivirus software or attempting to block intrusions. It only hopes to improve the way the software works once that first line of defense has been passed. By switching their focus they are creating a stronger offense to help customers keep their information safe from hackers.
Symantec is also broadening their focus on businesses as the latest attacks have seen customers’ personal information stolen from company databases. In the next six months Symantec will start holding presentations that will educate business on how and why they are being attacked. The hope for these presentations is to allow businesses to better protect themselves and their customers’ information.
Antivirus software is crucial to any computer, and the switch to focusing on attacks rather than trying to stop every intrusion will keep the Symantec Corporation ahead of hackers. Now hackers will have a new obstacle should they succeed in jumping over a computer’s protective wall.
by Raul Hernandez