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Symantec updates Norton products

New 2007 editions of products promise improved protection and better use of computing resources.

Symantec on Tuesday announced Norton AntiVirus 2007 and Norton Internet Security 2007, updated versions of the company's widely used security software for consumers.

Slated to be available later this month, both products have been updated to provide better protection and system performance, Symantec said in a statement. Norton AntiVirus 2007 protects against viruses, spyware and related risks. Norton Internet Security 2007 is a suite that includes antivirus and anti-spyware protection and adds a firewall, intrusion prevention, and for the first time includes a phishing shield.

Among the technology updates is protection against entire families of malicious software without the need for signature updates, Symantec said. Also, the antivirus technology can now detect malicious software that tries to hide using stealth technology known as rootkits, the company said.

Symantec has also worked to make its software nimble. The new versions are better in memory usage, boot time, scan speed, user interface launch speed, and download speed, the company said. An improved system scan feature now requires less processing power, for example, Symantec said. Performance is often criticized when it comes to Symantec products.

The updates to Symantec's traditional Norton products precede the launch of a next-generation security product called Norton 360, which is due by the end of March. Symantec has pitched Norton 360 as a complete overhaul of its security products and as a formidable rival to Microsoft's Windows Live OneCare, which launched in late May.

McAfee, Symantec's chief rival in the consumer security space, launched revamped products last month.

Norton AntiVirus 2007 is priced at $39.99 and Norton Internet Security 2007 at $69.99. Both products include a year of updates and are slated to be available later this month. Current users will be offered upgrades, Symantec said.