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Symantec Solutions Ace Industry Security Tests

Independent security tests highlight Symantec’s best of breed protection capabilities against a growing onslaught of malware in a rapidly changing threat landscape

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – January 20, 2010 – Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC) today announced that its industry-leading security products received top reviews from two respected independent testing bodies, AV-Comparatives and AV-Test.org. Symantec was awarded Best Anti-Virus Product of 2009 by AV-Comparatives, an accolade that honors top results across numerous tests in key protection and performance areas of security. Symantec also received a first place award in a new real-world test of Internet security suites by AV-Test.org, which evaluated leading security products in their ability to protect users during common activities such as surfing the Internet and downloading files. These independent reports continue to reinforce Symantec’s leadership position in providing protection against today’s evolving real-world threats.


“These new tests evaluate each product’s entire set of protection technologies against real malicious programs, just as they would be encountered by actual users,” said Stephen Trilling, senior vice president, Security Technology and Response, Symantec. “Symantec’s double-win in these independent reviews demonstrates how all of our security technologies work together to provide unrivaled effectiveness against today’s Internet threats.”


Over the past few years, the threat landscape distribution model has undergone a fundamental shift away from relatively small numbers of threats that affect many millions of users, toward a distribution model where many millions of new threats are released every month that each target just a handful of users across the globe. To provide some perspective on the size and scope of this issue, our analysis shows that in 2009 Symantec security software blocked more than 2.7 billion attempted attacks across the world. Given this environment, traditional antivirus-only solutions have become less effective. To address this, Symantec has shifted toward a defense-in-depth approach that uses many different security layers to protect users. The AV-Comparatives and AV-Test.org tests reflect a shift in testing methodologies to evaluate the overall holistic protection offered by the latest security products.


AV-Comparatives

AV-Comparatives has awarded Symantec its top Gold award of Best Anti-Virus Product of 2009. The award is based on the results of a series of tests performed throughout 2009 that examined Norton AntiVirus and other vendors’ products across eight different test categories, including: On-Demand Malware Detection, Proactive On-Demand Malware Detection, False Positives, On-Demand Scanning Speed, Overall Performance (Low-System Impact), On-Demand Potentially Unwanted Applications Detection, Malware Removal Capabilities and Whole-Product Dynamic Protection.


“Symantec’s overall excellent results in the 2009 tests demonstrate how its products have done a great job at maintaining the right balance of performance, high detection rates and low false positive rates,” said Andreas Clementi, chief executive officer, AV-Comparatives.


Contributing to the overall top award, were strong results in a number of new test areas introduced by AV Comparatives in 2009:

  • In September 2009, Symantec was awarded the top category result of ADVANCED+ in a new Malware Removal test designed to examine how well malware is removed from a previously infected system.
  • In November 2009, Symantec was awarded the top category result of ADVANCED+ in another new test designed to test a security product’s ability to detect and block Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUA). Such applications, for example fake antivirus products, have become a significant real-world nuisance for many end users.
  • In December 2009, Symantec was awarded the top category result of ADVANCED+ in the Performance test, designed to show the impact on system performance of security software.
  • Also in December 2009, Symantec was awarded the top category result of ADVANCED+ in a new test to examine how well a security product protects users in real-world situations such as surfing the Internet or downloading files.

AV-Test.org

AV-Test.org recently executed a new test to answer the question of how effective antivirus and Internet security suite products are at detecting entirely new malware in real-world situations. Symantec’s Norton AntiVirus scored first place on detection, out of 12 different well-known security products, by detecting 98 percent of all tested threats.


“I believe our new test provides an opportunity for security products to exercise all layers of their protection, and, as such, the resulting protection rates better predict what a typical user will experience in the field,” said Andreas Marx, chief executive officer, AV-Test.org.


Today, the majority of computer users get infected via Internet-based attacks such as drive-by downloads and socially engineered attacks, often cleverly designed to get a user to click on a malicious link. AV-Test.org set about designing the new test to better reflect today’s threat landscape. Over a three-month period ending in December 2009, AV-Test.org tested each product against 10 new unique Internet threats each day. Each sample was run on a clean imaged real machine, and was set up to replicate how an actual user might encounter the threat. This approach facilitated testing all of the different protection layers of each security product rather than targeting a specific layer. Over the course of the test, each product was tested against 600 different threats, as well as 400 clean files to ensure that a product did not falsely convict a clean file – known as a False Positive (FP). In the test, Symantec had the highest detection rate of all tested products, 98 percent detection, and the best awarded category for FP rates.


The Technology behind the Products

The core technologies behind Symantec’s security solutions is delivered by the Security Technology and Response (STAR) organization. Over the course of 2009, STAR developed and delivered a number of highly innovative new security technologies that contributed to the top protection scores in these reviews, including:

  • Reputation-based security: STAR has built new reputation-based security technology that leverages the wisdom of Symantec’s millions of participating customers to derive highly accurate security ratings for virtually every file available on the Internet. This empowers Symantec users to make far better choices about the software they download and install on their computers.
  • Advanced heuristic protection: STAR has introduced a new generation of heuristics to detect unknown malware files before they can run and cause damage. This advanced approach detects entirely new malware, spyware and adware strains without fingerprints, instead searching files for suspicious sequences of instructions typically used by malicious software.
  • Advanced behavioral protection: STAR has completely redesigned Symantec’s behavioral protection, enabling it to recognize and block thousands of new malware variants by analyzing the behaviors of running software, all without traditional fingerprints.
  • Lean and efficient engines: STAR optimized the core security scanning engines, helping to make Symantec products the fastest in the industry.

Additional Resources

For more information on rogueware, see the Symantec Report on Rogue Security Software and the Symantec white paper on Web-Based Attacks. For more information on the new technologies that contributed to these top test results, see the following: Reputation Based Security, SONAR2 (Behavioral Based Security), Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) and Download Insight.


About the Reviewers

AV-Comparatives is an Austrian non-profit organization, which provides independent antivirus software tests to the public. Further details are available from http://www.av-comparatives.org. AV Test.org is a German independent testing organization that conducts regular security tests of products from all major vendors. Further details are available at http://www.av-test.org/. Both AV-Comparatives and AV-Test.org are members of the Anti-Malware Testing Standards Organization (AMTSO) of which Symantec is also a member.


About Security Technology and Response

Symantec’s Security Technology and Response (STAR) organization, which includes Security Response, is a worldwide team of security engineers, threat analysts, and researchers that provides the underlying functionality, content, and support for all Symantec corporate and consumer security products. With response centers located throughout the world, STAR monitors malicious code reports from more than 130 million systems across the Internet, receives data from 40,000 network sensors in more than 200 countries, and tracks more than 25,000 vulnerabilities affecting more than 55,000 technologies from more than 8,000 vendors. The team uses this vast intelligence to develop and deliver the world’s most comprehensive security protection.


About Security Solutions from Symantec

Symantec helps organizations secure and manage their information-driven world with security management, endpoint security, messaging security and application security solutions.


About Symantec

Symantec is a global leader in providing security, storage and systems management solutions to help consumers and organizations secure and manage their information-driven world. Our software and services protect against more risks at more points, more completely and efficiently, enabling confidence wherever information is used or stored. More information is available at www.symantec.com.


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