Symantec Norton AntiBot £15
19th Sep 2007 | 23:00
Add an extra layer of protection to your PC
The Holy Grail as far as anti-virus vendors are concerned is a tool that can block threats before they've been recognised. Although most anti-virus and anti-spyware tools use heuristic techniques to try to block malware based on its behaviour, Norton's new product goes one step further in basing its diagnosis solely on what an app does, rather than what it is.
Perhaps the strangest thing about Norton AntiBot is that if you believed the hype surrounding Norton Internet Security 2007, it should be redundant. Sadly, it appears all the zero-hour and heuristic protection offered by that suite isn't sufficient on its own. Don't expect this to be magically integrated into the forthcoming NIS 2008 either: apparently the software needs to "mature" first.
Norton AntiBot won't stop malware being installed on your system. Instead, it monitors all running programs for evidence of suspicious behaviour. If enough suspicions are raised by a single process then an alert will pop up. This tells you which program has aroused Norton AntiBot from its watchful slumber and why it considers it a threat.
If you're happy a genuine piece of malware has been detected, click Quarantine and the program will attempt to disable it by killing its processes, then deleting key files and Registry entries. The idea is to cripple the malware until your anti-virus or anti-spyware tool receives the magic update that identifies it and is able to clean up the rest of the mess.
Norton AntiBot is designed to sit alongside existing security software as well as play nicely with non-Symantec security products, helped by a small footprint and simple, unobtrusive interface. Because its purpose is merely to act on suspicious behaviour, it doesn't offer sufficient protection on its own - but it does add a welcome extra layer of security.
Those who are careful about what they download and where they browse can probably survive without this. Yet if you or yours are careless with security then it's a worthwhile addition to your armoury, if a little expensive.