Symantec Corp is adding the ability to block network worms to its Norton AntiVirus 2005 software, a beta version of the product reveals. The software appears to also have many components found in personal firewall software.
While Symantec’s consumer antivirus business makes a killing every time a high-profile network worm hit the internet, its software has always previously worked only at the file level. Most antivirus was only good for cleaning up after worms like Code Red.
NAV 2005 will have an Internet Worm Protection feature, however, which looks a lot like its Norton Personal Firewall and rival offerings. NAV will have port blocking, program control, and signature-based worm detection.
The software will be able to block incoming attacks, block programs from listening on certain ports, block Trojan programs from opening ports to listen for instructions from hackers, and block traffic from attacking IP addresses.
It will also allow advanced users to create their own rules, such as the ability to exclude certain signatures from firing, controlling which programs can access the internet, according to product documentation.
The software, in other words, contains most of the functionality you’d expect to find in personal firewall software such as Norton Personal Firewall, or rival products such as Zone Labs’ ZoneAlarm or McAfee’s Personal Firewall Plus.
It’s not yet clear how the upgraded NAV will fit into Symantec’s overall desktop strategy. In its 2004 and earlier editions, the company sells NAV and Personal Firewall separately for $50 each, and bundled as Norton Internet Security for $70.
But the market is changing, largely because Microsoft Corp is going to shortly start giving away a personal firewall freely as a bundled Windows XP component, starting with the release of XP Service Pack 2.
Trend Micro and McAfee also have worm-blocking features in their corporate, though not yet their consumer, desktop anti-virus products. Zone Labs includes Computer Associates’ eTrust AntiVirus with its firewall.
Trend recently launched OfficeScan Corporate Edition 6.5, saying it has worm-blocking features borrowed from its Network VirusWall. McAfee said it will ship VirusScan 8.0i, its office product, later this month, with similar features.