Norton has announced the release of the latest versions of the award-winning Norton core security products, which keep consumers safe from evolving threats in their daily online lives. The latest versions improve on the industry’s leading protection and performance, and are designed for compatibility with the new features of Windows 8.1.

According to Symantec research, Web attacks increased 30% in 2012, driven by the easy availability of malware toolkits and the high frequency of unpatched vulnerabilities on Web sites.

As a result, consumers can be attacked even when they visit a legitimate Web site, an attack that puts their devices and personal information at risk. With the latest Norton releases, we are delivering the comprehensive security required to protect today’s devices against new and evolving threats, without impacting performance.

Although there are some changes to the product user interfaces, the big changes in this release are “under the hood”. Each of our five patented layers of protection saw many improvements to security, performance and usability.

Key enhancements include:
* Advanced repair – an increasingly common by-product of a modern malware infection is damage to critical Windows system files, requiring a time-consuming reinstall of the operating system.

Drawing on Symantec’s Global Intelligence Network, new advanced repair capabilities leverage a broader set of Internet-connected resources to repair Windows system files that have been broken or crippled by malware, faster and with greater consistency.

* Improved SONAR engine – protecting against malware is a cat-and-mouse game in which we are continually challenged to improve our products in response to changes in malware techniques. This year we significantly improved the behavioural-based protection engine called SONAR, which operates on the premise that while the physical nature of malware changes; its behaviour often does not.

As a result, SONAR now allows the latest products to discover and shut down malware that attempts to disguise its bad behaviour by operating inside legitimate Windows processes.

* SONAR-assisted remediation and cleanup – understanding what happened after a malware attack can be as tricky as deconstructing a crime scene. SONAR helps with the removal and cleanup of malware attempts by saving the evidence of the attack for later use by Norton’s repair technologies. This remediation helps to ensure that all traces of a malware attack are removed and a system is returned to its original state.

* Simpler setup and management – for users who prefer to install via Web download or who don’t have a CD/DVD drive, this release improves the installation and setup experience. Users can quickly download and install the latest version of their product for their device type and subsequently ensure that all their devices are protected.

* Faster performance – users don’t want security getting in the way of their normal day-to-day interactions as they use their PC. So each year, we’ve made it a goal to keep improving the speed of our performance while ensuring that we continue to deliver world-class protection.

This release continues to raise the bar. Based on recent testing, compared with last year’s releases, we have improved boot time by 15%, install speed by 10% and memory usage during scan by 100Mbs, resulting in our fastest and lightest performance yet.

* Enhanced Norton Identity Safe – this release brings a whole new look to our password management tool. It also includes improved form filling, with drag-and-drop functionality and full vault searches available directly from the toolbar to help manage passwords even more securely and conveniently.