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Symantec Identifies "Dirtiest Web Sites of Summer 2009"

Norton Safe Web Uncovers the Top 100 Infected Web Sites
TORONTO, ON – Aug. 19, 2009 – For many of us, being online is simply a part of everyday life—whether shopping, banking, or connecting with family and friends. But with the seemingly endless reach of the Internet, how can you tell which sites are safe to visit and which may try to deceive you, steal your personal information or crash your computer? Symantec (Nasdaq: SYMC) has identified the "Dirtiest Web Sites of Summer 2009," the 100 sites with the most threats detected by site ratings service Norton Safe Web as of August 2009. These sites represent the "worst of the worst" based on the number of threats detected by Norton Safe Web.

It comes as no surprise that 48 percent of the Dirtiest Web Sites are, well, dirty— sites that feature adult content. However, the remainder of the list runs the gamut of subject matter, including sites dedicated to deer hunting, catering, figure skating, legal services, and buying electronics. Malware is the most common threat represented on the Dirtiest list, followed by security risks and browser exploits. Simply visiting one of these sites, without downloading or clicking on anything in particular, could put you at risk of exposing your computer to infection, and worse, put your identity, personal and financial information into the hands of cybercriminals.

"This list underscores what our research shows— there has been exponential growth in the number of online threats that are constantly evolving as cybercriminals look for new ways to target your money, identity or assets. In 2008, most new infections occurred while people were surfing the Web[¹]," said Rowan Trollope, senior vice president, Consumer Business Unit, Symantec. "Norton Safe Web provides visual ratings that let consumers know about potential risks before visiting a site. Armed with this information, consumers are empowered to make informed decisions about which sites to visit."

What makes these sites so dirty? For starters, the average number of threats per malicious site rated by Norton Safe Web is 23. Compare that with the average number of threats on the Dirtiest Web Sites list—a staggering 18,000 per site. In fact, 40 of the 100 Dirtiest Web Sites have more than 20,000 threats per site. Being dirty is nothing new for 75 percent of sites on the list, which have distributed malware for more than six months.

To find the dirt, Norton Safe Web crawls the Web and performs analysis of millions of Web sites, and benefits from a network of more than 20 million Norton Community Watch members that automatically submit suspicious URLs for analysis in real-time. Norton Safe Web analyzes websites using signature-based file scanning, intrusion detection engines, behavioral detection and install/uninstall analysis to identify security risks including phishing sites, malicious downloads, browser exploits and links to unsafe external sites. In other words – dirty stuff you don't want on your computer.

See more of the top 100 Dirtiest Web Sites and learn how you can clean up the Web by joining the Norton Safe Web community here.

About Norton Safe Web
Norton Safe Web is a site rating service that makes it easy to differentiate safe Websites from potentially malicious ones, before visiting a site. Norton Safe Web provides visual site ratings within search results as well as when a user navigates directly to a particular site. In addition to analyzing suspicious sites submitted by more than 20 million Norton Community Watch members, Norton Safe Web also actively crawls the Internet and performs thorough analysis on millions of sites. Norton Safe Web also delivers ecommerce safety ratings to help consumers shop safely online. Additionally, users are encouraged to become active participants in the community by creating an account and submitting user reviews based on their experience with any site on the Web.

About Norton From Symantec
Symantec's Norton products protect consumers from traditional threats with antivirus, antispam, anti-spyware and phishing protection, as well as bots, drive-by downloads and identity theft-- while also being light on system resources. The company also provides services such as online backup and PC tuneup, and is a trusted source for family online safety.

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.

Symantec's Canadian operations are headquartered in Toronto with offices in Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary and Vancouver. For more information on Symantec products or current promotions, access Symantec's Canadian Web site at www.symantec.ca. Symantec is an active member of the Business Software Alliance (BSA).

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¹ Symantec Internet Security Threat Report Volume XIV, April 2009