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PC World

Symantec bundles safe surfing tools

October 19, 1999
Web posted at: 10:00 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT)

by Alexandra Krasne

(IDG) -- Although your computer is your portal to the Web, it can also connect you with all sorts of miscreants eager to plant a virus on your PC or read your personal data. The newest data-protection software is being unveiled Monday by Symantec, which has bundled virus protection, a custom firewall, and parental controls in one package.

Norton Internet Security 2000 is scheduled to ship at the end of November priced at $59.95. Symantec touts it as "a complete, integrated security solution for home computer users," with its combination of protective software.

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When you install Norton Internet Security 2000, you designate one person as the administrator who controls all the settings for each user. So if your children use your computer, only you can control the sites they visit.

The software includes Symantec's list of objectionable sites, and you can add other sites you consider inappropriate for the impressionable eyes of youngsters.

You also can set the software to block certain information. You can keep your kids from handing out an address or phone number to strangers in chat rooms by blocking that information from release. But watch out: Norton Internet Security 2000 prevents the release of your specified keystrokes by replacing them with Xs. If you enter a blocked phrase into a search engine, this will cause it to retrieve X-rated sites (unless they're on the restricted sites list).

Behind the firewall

Internet Security 2000's firewall, developed by WRQ, has a configurable range of four settings from no security to high security. The firewall essentially acts as a filter to block or accept information based on the rules you set.

"Every time there's a connection to the Net, the firewall looks at the rules," says Laura Garcia, product manager.

Using the firewall, you can reconfigure or entirely turn off cookies, which are identity information files that some sites place in your browser. Most browsers also give you the option of turning your cookies off and on.

The package includes Norton Antivirus, which scans for viruses and keeps Back Orifice, Melissa, and other pesky viruses at bay.

The combination makes for strong safety, Garcia says. "Norton has the only product for home users that integrates all these into one product," she says.

Apparently there is plenty in cyberspace to protect yourself and your kids from. Cybernotes, a publication of the FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center, has identified more than 500 scripts, programs, and Net messages since January that either contain holes or messages.

But plenty of tools and policies can help protect you online.

Type carefully, suggests David Remnitz, chief executive officer of Ifsec, a network security firm. Make sure you've got the site you're seeking; illegitimate or deviant sites often have names that are slight misspellings of well-known sites or companies.

Finally, visit only retail sites through an Internet browser, instead of a third-party Web pages that may direct you to illegitimate sites, Remnitz suggests.

Getting the drop on network intruders
October 11, 1999
German university to offer Net-security degree
August 20, 1999
Government restrictions on encryption pose obstacles for Internet security
May 19, 1998
Is the e-commerce boom fueling security holes?
April 26, 1999

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