Download Norton 2012 Beta: Released For Public Now

April 16, 2011 · 0 comments

Today Symantec throws open the public beta for the 2012 editions of Norton AntiVirus and Norton Internet Security, which will continue for several months, with at least a couple of beta refreshes before the final release. If you want a sneak peek at what’s coming, loading up the beta is a great way to get it.

Interface Changes

In general terms, Symantec aims Norton Internet Security at the technically inclined user and Norton 360 at the user who just wants security without fuss. Even so, a fair number of the no-fuss crowd do use Norton Internet Security. For those users, Symantec has given the product a much simpler interface, one that emphasizes the two most common actions—running a scan and checking for updates. Clicking Advanced brings back the familiar detailed user interface.

Both products include an updated staging area across the bottom, catching up with Norton 360 version 5. In particular the staging area now offers information directly from the Norton Cybercrime Index. It also provides direct access to Norton Safe Web, Norton Online Family, and Norton Online Backup.

Browser-specific components like Safe Search and Identity Safe are now compatible with Chrome. They’ve also gotten a makeover to be less “in your face” while providing the same functionality. Identity Safe in particular uses an infobar model rather than popping up notification windows.

Enhanced Technology

Several of the underlying technologies in both products get updates this year. Norton Insight provides statistical and reputation-based detection of brand-new threats. New in Insight 3.0, it uses anonymous information from millions of Norton users to rate downloads on reliability. If a legitimate downloaded file is known to cause stability problems, the user will get a warning.

SONAR, the Symantec Online Network for Advanced Response, detects malware based on behavior. SONAR 4.0 tracks 100 new behaviors, bringing the total to over 500. In particular, it now watches a process’s network components and network-related actions, looking for any hint of malicious activity.

The 2012 beta editions also track the behavior of individual DLLs, which Nadir calls “non-process malware.” This is especially important when cleaning up pre-infected systems. Now if a malicious DLL has injected its code into a legitimate process, SONAR can associate the malicious behaviors with that DLL, not with its victim.

New Features

Norton Internet Security 2012 will include the Startup Manager, previously available only in Norton 360. Nadir observed that this feature is more geared toward the tech-savvy user, so it makes sense to offer it in the product aimed at that user.

Both Norton Internet Security and Norton AntiVirus become sensitive to bandwidth usage. For each network connection the user can request no traffic at all or critical updates only. This is especially important for those using phone tethering or other bandwidth-limited connections. Norton will still contact the online Insight database as needed; to check the status of a new download, for example.

For removing really tough malware, users can resort to Norton Power Eraser or the Norton Bootable Recovery Tool (NBRT). NBRT runs its own operating system, so it can remove threats that have compromised the native operating system. However, some threats are tough to detect when the native OS isn’t active. Norton Power Eraser can detect most of those threats but sometimes can’t remove them. New with the 2012 betas, users can run Norton Power Eraser from within the NBRT environment, getting the best of both worlds.


Symantec works hard to ensure that new updates and new features don’t slow the products or increase their impact on performance. The 2012 betas aim to go beyond just holding the line in two specific areas: scan time and file copy time. That is, they should complete a full scan faster than the previous editions, and their real-time protection should have a smaller impact on file operations.

Nadir noted that engineers are also working in many other performance-related areas. They’re aiming for a smaller footprint, smaller download, and better performance overall. As time goes on they can push more activity and data into the cloud and rely less on a big local file of definitions.


Those interested in evaluating the 2012 Norton betas can obtain them at the Norton beta website, or link directly to the Norton AntiVirus 2012 beta and Norton Internet Security 2012 beta pages. Symantec encourages testers to discuss their impressions in the Norton beta discussion forums.


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He is the Founder and Administrator of Tech and Money Making Blog. He is a tech savvy who loves to explore the world of electronics and gadgets. He is a part time dedicated blogger, coder and designer of Xinz. Subscribe to Tech & Money Making Blog via RSS Feed or Email to receive latest updates.

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