Cupertino, Calif. --January 21, 1998--Symantec Corporation (NASDAQ: SYMC), the world's leading supplier of anti-virus software, today announced that the Symantec AntiVirus Research Center (SARC) has developed Bloodhound Boot heuristic technology to combat the threat of new and unknown boot-sector viruses. Bloodhound Boot joins Symantec's Bloodhound for Files and Bloodhound-Macro technologies to provide Norton AntiVirus users with the industry's most comprehensive virus protection against new and unknown boot, file and macro viruses.
Bloodhound Boot is included with the January virus definitions at Symantec's Web site (http://www.symantec.com). Norton AntiVirus users can download and install the new technology by simply running the LiveUpdate feature.
While the prevalence of macro viruses has grown exponentially in the last two years, boot-sector viruses still account for four out of the 10 most common computer virus infections. In fact, boot-sector viruses are a leading cause of corruption on computers with the Microsoft Windows NT operating system.
"The risk of infection and damage from viruses is significantly greater today than ever before," said Enrique Salem, vice president of Symantec's Security and Assistance Business Unit. "Boot-sector viruses, like file and macro viruses, can have a profound effect not only on system reliability but on user productivity. Our Bloodhound technology ensures that our customers are protected against today's known viruses as well as tomorrow's new ones."
The Boot-Sector Virus
A boot sector of a diskette or hard drive contains information about the size and organization of the disk and is used by the computer's operating system to determine how to access the diskette or drive. Boot-sector viruses typically invade a PC through an infected floppy disk that is left in a drive while the PC is started. These viruses replace the critical boot sector program used to start the computer with their own malicious program logic.
The most common technique to detect boot-sector viruses is known as signature scanning. Typically, when an anti-virus vendor receives a new virus, it analyzes the virus and extracts a virus fingerprint or a signature. If the anti-virus program locates a virus signature in one or more of your boot sectors, it can identify the virus and take steps to repair the infection. Viruses that have not yet been analyzed are invisible to such anti-virus software. Signature scanning is not only incomplete but, because it requires users to maintain frequent contact with their anti-virus vendor, it can also be costly and time-consuming.
Bloodhound Boot Features
Bloodhound Boot is a complete departure from traditional signature scanning technology to detect virus infections. Rather than using signatures, Bloodhound Boot uses Symantec's exclusive heuristic technology to detect boot-sector viruses by inspecting boot sectors for virus-like behavior. Bloodhound Boot scrutinizes the boot sector's overall structure, its programming logic or computer instructions and a number of other attributes to determine the likelihood that the boot sector is infected by a virus.
Norton AntiVirus will notify users when Bloodhound Boot has found a new or unknown boot-sector virus. If users get this notice, it is critical that they send in a sample of the virus to SARC for comprehensive analysis so that they may receive the most up-to-date anti-virus solution. Because of the varying types of damage boot-sector viruses can cause, they cannot be repaired in a generic fashion and must be submitted to SARC for analysis. Users can find instructions on how to submit virus samples to SARC on the Symantec Web site (http://www.symantec.com/avcenter/submit.html) or by calling Symantec's technical support.
About Norton AntiVirus
The Norton AntiVirus product line includes a multi-tier strategy that integrates products at the desktop, server, Internet gateway and firewall to provide users with the most comprehensive virus detection and repair. The products provide users the security of knowing thay have the most complete protection available whether downloading files from the Internet, opening attached word documents or accessing flopping disks.
About Symantec AntiVirus Research Center (SARC)
SARC comprises a dedicated team of virus experts whose sole mission is to provide swift, global responses to computer virus threats, proactively research and develop technologies that eliminate such threats, and educate the public on safe computing practices. As new computer viruses appear, SARC develops identification and detection for these viruses, and provides either a repair or delete operation, thus keeping users protected against the latest virus threats. These virus definitions updates are available to users of Norton AntiVirus, and are easily obtained by using LiveUpdate or Intelligent Updater.
LiveUpdate provides one-button access to the latest virus definition updates, free of charge (other than normal phone and Internet access charges) to registered users. Symantec is the only anti-virus company that provides its users virus definitions that are free of charge, easy to obtain and install, and updated monthly by SARC. SARC's global offices provide customers with round-the-clock virus protection through fully staff SARC research centers in Santa Monica, Calif.; Tokyo, Japan; Sydney, Australia; and Leiden, The Netherlands. SARC's web site is located at http://www.SARC.com.
Symantec Corporation helps make users productive and keep their computers safe and reliable anywhere and anytime. Symantec offers a broad range of solutions and is acclaimed as a leader in both customer satisfaction and product brand recognition. The company is focused on addressing customer needs in three main application areas: the Norton product line of anti-virus and PC-assistance products; the pcANYWHERE, WinFax and ACT! product lines that cater to remote user productivity; and the Cafe product lines in Internet development tools.
Founded in 1982, the company's global operations span North America, Europe, Japan and several fast growing markets throughout Asia Pacific and Latin America. Traded on Nasdaq under the symbol SYMC, Symantec Corporation is based in Cupertino, California and employs more than 2,000 people. Information on the company and its products can be obtained by calling (800) 441-7234 toll free, (541) 334-6054 or accessed on the World Wide Web at http://www.symantec.com.
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