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New software to shield privacy

Symantec introduces a new product that protects the privacy and PCs of Internet users.

Symantec (SYMC) today introduced new software that protects the privacy and PCs of Internet users.

The company is making a preview release of the product available for free download from its Web site.

Norton Safe on the Web protects against malicious Web content such as hostile Java applets or ActiveX controls and invasions of privacy. It is designed for individuals and companies that use the Net for business but want to guard sensitive data.

Symantec positions the software as offering countermeasures against malicious hacking, data snooping, and downloading of harmful software. It also lets users encrypt email attachments.

A feature called "untouchable data" shields a PC from malicious software that might copy files such as personal financial data. A "browser security settings auditor" helps users make decisions about how much security they need when browsing the Web.

Norton Safe on the Web will be available to customers in phases, with new features added as they are developed. No pricing was announced, and the free preview version will be available for a limited time.