Symantec today launched Norton Internet Security 2009, and Norton AntiVirus 2009. The company claims that the updated internet security suite and antimalware software offer enhanced protection with a vastly reduced system overhead and much quicker scan speeds. Symantec is also offering free phone tech support for the first time, along with existing email and chat support.

Click here to download a free trial of Norton Internet Security 2009

Speaking at the launch event here in Madrid today, Rowan Trollope, Symantec's senior vice president of consumer engineering, claimed that Norton Internet Security 2008 had received more than 300 speed tweaks making NIS 2009 the fastest internet security product on the market. The changes follow clamorous complaints from Symantec's userbase, with Trollope admitting that the company had been told repeatedly that security software in general is too slow.

NIS 2009 is unquestionably quick to install - Con Mallon, Symantec's director of regional product marketing, demonstrated live a one-minute, single-click installation of the product.

Trollope showed third-party test results from AV-Test Labs and AV Comparitives that showed Norton Internet Security 2009 to be the fastest security software suite at file scanning and signature updates. According to a Symantec-commissioned PassMark Software report, NIS 2009 has the fastest install, least memory usage and fastest quick scan of any product on the market today.

It has to be pointed out, however, that such tests compare Symantec's updated product with the 2008 versions of competitor products, with their updates following soon. Sources close to Symantec's rival McAffee, for instance, are confident that its updated product will be comfortably faster still. Watch this space.

Symantec intends to utilise its huge userbase to reduce the strain on individual CPUs. Using technology it deems 'Norton Insight', the company shares information between NIS 2009 PCs to create an intelligent whitelist. Software programs are dynamically judged as 'Norton trusted' if the company has fully tested them, 'Commuity trusted' if they are safely scanned on enough of the cloud's PCs, or 'untested'. Only in the latter case does and individual PC need to scan the program using Symantec's signature database.

Describing Norton Insight Mallon said: "White is the new black. Whitelisting has come of age." Trollope concurred, describing the technology as "the wisdom of crowds".

Symantec also drew attention to NIS 2009's 'streamlined user interface (UI)'.The opaque UI displays CPU usage on the fly. And, according to Symantec, the program waits until the PC is deemed 'idle' before carrying out essential maintenance tasks such as malware scanning. Thus, movies, games and presentations should never be interrupted for security alerts.

Symantec Norton Internet Security is available now from It costs £49 for a three-PC licence with 12 months of updates. Norton AntiVirus 2009 costs £39. Existing subscribers are entitled to upgrades.

See also:

Symantec says Ola to faster, lighter online security

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