Public bets for Norton AntiVirus and Norton Internet Security 2011 are now live. Here's a look at what you'll find in these free testers of the products Symantec will release later this year.
Norton 2011 beta opens its doors
These public beta versions of the well-known Norton consumer security suites, Norton AntiVirus and Norton Internet Security, maintain the dramatically improved speeds of Norton 2009 and 2010, while exposing more Norton Insight data to users than before.
The interface in Norton 2011 remains largely unchanged from the 2010 version. One big difference is that the large, colored icon indicating your security status has been removed. Hopefully that will make it back into the product before the final version, perhaps in the blank space near the bottom of the window.
Tooltips are prevalent, providing concise definitions of various options and functions within the program.
If you're currently using a security program, it's likely that the Norton betas will only turn up tracking cookies if anything at all. That doesn't mean they're not a cause for concern, though, and so the 2011 betas can tell you more about detected threats when you click on their linked names.
The new Reputation scan allows you to focus your security scan solely on the "reputations" of existing files on your system, as compared with other Norton users. This is an efficient way to check if an otherwise-safe file has been corrupted by malware.
The Vulnerability Protection module takes a look at all the programs you've got installed and attempts to seal up security holes in them that their publishers haven't yet patched. This can be an effective stop-gap measure for notoriously risky apps like Adobe Reader.
Norton Insight, first introduced in last year's version, now exposes rating data on how your programs and files compare to the rest of the Norton community. You can also adjust Norton's scans of your trusted files here.
The new Nortons have the identity guarding functions called out in the main window, including credit card numbers.
Two new Norton Rescue Tools, the Bootable Recovery Tool and the Power Eraser, are available separately. The former creates a recovery disk and restoration mechanism, while the latter is a last-ditch option for removing malware.