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Symantec invests in next-gen services

'Identity is key to 'Security 2.0''

With a new generation of consumer security products expected to ship by year's end, Symantec wants to build a line of services that better leverage its 50 million worldwide users, a company executive said yesterday.

"We're making significant investments in something we call Security 2.0, which is ultimately the next generation of consumer security," said Enrique Salem, group president of Symantec's Consumer Products group, speaking at an analyst event in California.

Before the Security 2.0 products ship, however, Symantec plans to refresh its Norton product line and deliver two consumer products that will offer improved identity-theft protection. The products are a security and backup service called Norton 360, as well as an online commerce security product called Norton Confidential.

Based in part on technology Symantec acquired in its 2005 purchase of security vendor WholeSecurity, Norton Confidential will protect users from known phishing sites and malicious software such as the keylogging programs commonly used by criminals. The service will be able to manage confidential information such as passwords and will warn users if they are about to conduct a suspicious online transaction.

Norton 360, which was previously known by the code name "project Genesis", will be a competitor to Microsoft's Windows Live OneCare security and backup software. A beta version of the service will be available in July, and Symantec expects to be able to deliver a final version by year's end. But executives have said that Norton 360's release may be pushed back until early 2007 to avoid competing with a refresh of the Norton security products, expected this September.

A major difference between Norton 360 will be Symantec's online backup capability, which will allow users to back up their files to Symantec's servers. Salem would not say how much storage Norton 360 users would get with the base product, but he implied that this would be in the range of 1GB. "As people move to backup multiple gigabytes, there will be a premium associated with that," he said.

Like Norton 360, Norton Confidential is expected by year's end, Salem said.


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