CUPERTINO, Calif. - Jan. 16, 2001 – Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC) today announced that Symantec Security Check™ has analyzed the levels of Hacker Protection, Privacy Protection and Virus Protection for more than 2.2 million PCs, since this free web-based tool was first launched in March 2000. More than 220,000 of those unique users have submitted their results for an ongoing comparative survey which shows that a large portion of participants are vulnerable to hackers, only half use leading anti-virus protection and a surprising 82% are open to a common privacy leak.
"As Internet use grows exponentially, so does the need for consumers to protect their computers and their privacy against viruses, information theft, and hackers." said Steve Cullen, senior vice president of consumer products, Symantec Corporation. "Using the market-leading technology created for Norton Internet Security™, Symantec Security Check provides PC and Mac users with a free web-hosted tool to identify system vulnerabilities that could otherwise put personal information at risk or even allow the computer to be compromised by malicious code."
Nearly 40% of survey participants have open ports that could be exploited by hackers. Hackers commonly use automated scanning tools to find vulnerable computers across the Internet. Symantec Security Check runs a series of tests to assess vulnerability to this common hacking activity and provides a detailed report to the user of any potential vulnerabilities discovered.
Broadband users are particularly vulnerable because of their "always on" connection. A recent, separate survey of firewall logs from Norton Internet Security users demonstrated that each of the participants had experienced an attempted port scan during a one week period anywhere from 12 to 4300 times. In each case, the participants were using a firewall to protect themselves from hackers investigating for an open port.
Additionally, more than one third of participating Symantec Security Check users report that their computer was releasing sensitive information which could be used by hackers. Information such as the computer name and network user name can be obtained by hackers as part of probing activities or as a means to uniquely identify a computer. Users are often unaware that this information can be obtained from their computers. This particular vulnerability is easily remedied with free instruction on the Symantec Security Check website.
Privacy is a key area of vulnerability and can be compromised through the tracking of an individual's Internet surfing habits. Symantec Security Check found that 82% of those who submitted their results had a web browser that would release information about the site the person last visited. This is a common problem, yet most PC users are unaware that their computer likely has a default setting that allows their surfing habits to be tracked via the Internet.
Symantec Security Check showed that only 52% of participants have a leading anti-virus program running and of those people 24% did not have current virus definitions.
Symantec Security Check also includes a Virus Check tool which scans all of the files on a user's computer for current viruses and Trojan horses. To date, Symantec Security Check has found that of the 140,000 PCs that have submitted their results for comparison, 29% were infected a virus and/or a Trojan horse.
Symantec Internet Security Website
In addition to the Symantec Security Check, Symantec provides an Internet Security Web at www.symantec.com/cecuritycheck for users to obtain valuable information about how to best protect their PC from Internet threats, learn about the risks of using the Internet and access Symantec Security Check tools.
Symantec is the world leader in providing solutions to help individuals and enterprises assure the security, availability, and integrity of their information. Headquartered in Cupertino, Calif., Symantec has operations in more than 40 countries. More information is available at www.symantec.com.
NOTE TO EDITORS: : If you would like additional information on Symantec Corporation and its products, please view the Symantec Press Center at http://www.symantec.com/PressCenter/ on Symantec's Web site. All prices noted are in US dollars and are valid only in the United States.
Symantec, the Symantec logo, VERITAS, and the VERITAS logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Symantec Corporation or its affiliates in the United States and certain other countries. Additional company and product names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of the individual companies and are respectfully acknowledged.