Cupertino, Calif --September 14, 1998-- Symantec Corporation (Nasdaq: SYMC), the world leader in utility software for business and personal computing, today announced that it has integrated a state-of-the-art heuristic detection technology for viruses that infect Microsoft Excel spreadsheets into Norton AntiVirus. Available today with the current set of virus definitions, Bloodhound for Excel detects and safely repairs Excel files infected with unknown macro viruses.
Currently, there are approximately 200 known viruses created specifically for Microsoft Excel, compared to several thousand created specifically for Microsoft Word. While the numbers are not as large, the threat of Excel viruses is beginning to grow. The Symantec AntiVirus Research Center (SARC) reports that there is a new Excel virus every two days. In addition, nearly 20 percent of the virus issues reported into SARC by Norton AntiVirus customers relate to new Excel viruses.
"We work very closely with our customers when we develop new technologies for Norton AntiVirus to make sure we are addressing their most pressing needs," said Enrique Salem, vice president of Symantec's Security and Assistance Business Unit. "With Bloodhound for Excel, only Norton AntiVirus customers have real-time protection against the growing threat of Excel viruses and the security of knowing their documents can be safely repaired if they do get infected."
Proven 95 percent effective, Symantec's exclusive Bloodhound for Excel technology uses code analysis techniques to scrutinize the macro portions of Microsoft Excel documents for viruses. It analyzes the macros of an Excel document in the same way an expert anti-virus researcher would in determining whether or not they are viral. First it will look for properties in the macros that indicate they could possibly contain a virus. For each such indication, Bloodhound will analyze in detail the context of the macro operations. If the context has the characteristics of a virus, Bloodhound will let the user know the document is infected and will start the AutoRepair wizard interface to help the user fix the file.
With Norton AntiVirus 5.0, users now also have the option to send that file to SARC for analysis using the Scan and Deliver feature. SARC will evaluate the potential virus and provide an updated virus definition to the user by e-mail. Through this process, users who submit samples to SARC are protecting Norton AntiVirus customers worldwide.
Bloodhound for Excel comprises a radical departure from the traditional variant detection technologies used by other anti-virus products. Variant detection is based on simple pattern matching techniques and is only capable of detecting new virus strains that are similar to existing "known" viruses. Bloodhound for Excel is able to detect the same simple variants as well as more complex variants and entirely new virus strains. In addition, Bloodhound does not require pattern updates to detect new strains and their variants like the variant detection technique. The biggest advantage of Bloodhound for Excel is that it can safely repair documents infected by new Excel viruses because it understands the virus and how it is comprised. This technology provides Norton AntiVirus users full protection without having to wait for a virus definition update when a new Excel macro virus strain appears.
Pricing and Avaliability
Bloodhound for Excel is available for free to all Norton AntiVirus for Windows and Norton AntiVirus for Mac customers and is compatible with versions 4.0 and above for both the server and workstation products. Customers can update their systems with this new technology by running the program's exclusive LiveUpdate feature or by downloading the latest package of virus definitions and program updates from Symantec's web site at www.symantec.com.
The Norton AntiVirus product line includes a multi-tier strategy that integrates products at the desktop, server, GroupWare server, Internet gateway and firewall levels to provide users with the most comprehensive virus detection and repair. The products provide users the security of knowing they have the most complete protection available whether downloading files from the Internet, opening attached word documents or accessing floppy disks. Norton AntiVirus provides users with 100 percent detection of in-the-wild viruses, according to recent tests by Virus Bulletin.
LiveUpdate Provides Constant, Current Protection
LiveUpdate provides customers an easy, automatic way to keep their anti-virus protection current. LiveUpdate automatically detects an Internet connection or modem and connects to a Symantec server, then downloads and installs the latest virus definitions. Norton AntiVirus users can schedule LiveUpdate to run at regular intervals or can trigger it manually by pressing the LiveUpdate button.
In addition to receiving Symantec's weekly virus definition updates, LiveUpdate also may be used to install software updates and obtain product information. Norton AntiVirus features a modular engine called NAVEX that allows Symantec to ship fundamental changes and updates to the engine technology. LiveUpdate delivers this engine, but NAVEX is what keeps these changes small enough to download over the Internet.
Symantec AntiVirus Research Center
SARC is the industry's largest dedicated team of virus experts. With offices located in the United States, Japan, Australia, and the Netherlands, the sun never sets on SARC. The center's 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.
Symantec is the world leader in utility software for business and personal computing. Symantec products and solutions help 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. Symantec is traded on Nasdaq under the symbol SYMC. More information on the company and its products can be obtained at www.symantec.com.
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