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Symantec Announces Next Generation Intelligent Web Filtering Technology

Dynamic, real-time server-based filtering technology blocks access to objectionable content web sites

CUPERTINO, Calif. August 23, 1999 - Symantec Corporation (Nasdaq: SYMC) announced today that it has received a "Notice of Allowance" from the U.S. Patent Office following the company's application to patent technology that can filter websites and dynamically block objectionable content.

The Notice of Allowance, which precedes the issuance of the patent, underlines Symantec's recently announced strategic focus on Internet security. The technology being patented, which is a component of Symantec's I-Gear product, has been developed by URLabs, the Hampton VA. company that Symantec acquired last month.

Unlike competitive URL filtering technologies, which rely solely on mapping short strings of text against an indexed, pre-categorized database of undesirable web sites, the Symantec Dynamic Document Review (DDR) technology screens the content of a Web page in real time by analyzing the context of a passage of text. By customizing filtering profiles, the technology can make an intelligent decision to allow or deny access to the Web page.

Without having to rely purely on a database of off-limits URLs, the benefit, according to Gary Warren, Symantec vice president and former CEO of URLabs, is that the technology can keep up with the explosion of new sexually explicit, gambling and other undesirable content websites. "The drawback with the database approach is that the database will always be out of date and something will always slip through," he says.

According to PC Dataonline, about 10 percent of websites are sexually explicit. 4.2 million people, approximately nine percent of the total Internet using population, accessed the most popular adult site in July alone. In total, says PC Dataonline, almost 20 million hours a month are spent on sexually explicit websites, roughly the same amount of time spent on news groups. Every month Internet users spend 31 million hours gambling on-line.

"It's a growing issue which parents and educational organizations have been aware of and concerned about for some time," says Warren. "Now companies are beginning to realize the impact in terms of lost productivity as well."

According to market analyst firm, International Data Corporation (IDC), the Internet access control market is one of the fastest growing sectors in Internet security. IDC says the market will grow 53 percent annually and be worth $260 million in 2003.

In commercial environments, the Symantec DDR technology can be configured by systems administrators to suit a company's specific needs. According to Nielsen Media Research, inappropriate use of the Internet to surf news, sports, gambling and shopping websites is costing companies hard cash. In a report, Nielsen says that in one month access to the Penthouse Web site by employees of three Fortune 100 companies cost over $350,000 in lost revenues and productivity.

"Companies rely on the Internet to do business efficiently and productively," says Warren. "But unless measures and policies are put in place, the reality is that companies' productivity levels are impacted leading to lost revenue and reduced competitiveness."

Facts About Inappropriate Web Usage

  • Approximately 10 percent of all websites are pornographic in nature. Pornographic sites are visited by 317,000 unique users every month. Gaming sites average approximately 500,000 unique users per month.
  • The Cybersmuggling Unit of the Department of Customs in Sterling, VA. experienced a 185 percent increase in child pornography cases in a year. (source: FBI).
  • At the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, where monitors follow links from hate-group Web sites, some 2,000 sites surfaced as "problematic." These, for example, offered instructions in bomb-making, or rock music espousing hatred or youth clubs extolling the Ku Klux Klan.
  • According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the number of "problematic" sites has grown by 60 percent in the last year -- from 163 in January 1998 to 254 in January 1999. In 1995, one such site existed.

About Symantec
Symantec is a world leader in Internet security technology and technology solutions that help companies manage and support workforces that use laptop computers and other mobile devices.

The company is a leading provider of software products for the consumer market and is rapidly growing its presence as a provider of solutions to enterprise organizations

NOTE TO EDITORS: If you would like additional information on Symantec Corporation and its products, view the Symantec Press Center at www.symantec.com/PressCenter/ on Symantec's Website.

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