How do you convince normal people to worry about internet security?

For most people, the only time they ever consider buying internet security software is when something goes wrong, or at the point of purchase when some spotty 'erbert in PC World or Currys tries to upsell them to whichever security suite he is incentivised to punt that day.

Beyond that, the most interaction yer average punter has with an ISS is batting away pop-up reminders from the expired security software trial bundled with their PC.

Despite the honorable but expensive efforts of agencies such as Get Safe Online, most non-technical PC users are simply not sufficiently aware of their need for up to date anti-virus, -spyware and firewall.

Which is why Symantec is to be applauded for attempting to do something about this ignorance - regardless of the commercial imperative behind the action.

Symantec's 'Norton Heroes' marketing campaign is aimed at a wide consumer audience (so, not you). The idea is to educate such people about the importance of internet security. Education is, of course, boring, so the Norton Heroes live in an interactive web environment, and educate through the medium of fun and games.

The Norton Heroes themselves are fictional characters who reside on the web. They fight ‘bad guys' in the online world of 'Netropolis'.

In the best traditions of cartoon superheroes, the Norton Heroes have been genetically modified at Norton HQ, given specific powers to protect people from internet villains - each one representing a genuine security attack: spam, ID theft or phishing, say. The stylings are very much of the film noir, Sin City variety.

The idea is to engage people, getting them to visualise the genuine threats that surround them, but may seem a little esoteric to the non-geek. Ultimately, I suppose, the idea is to get them to buy security software. And yes, that probably means more sales for Symantec - but we all inhabit the same internet, people, and more secured users are A GOOD THING.

Norton Heroes