Though we're only a few months into 2010, Symantec is already offering a preview of its 2011 security lineup.
The company launched on Monday beta releases of its 2011 Norton Internet Security suite and Norton AntiVirus, along with new, free security tools. They are all available for download.
Norton Internet Security 2011 is the company's full suite, offering antivirus, antispyware, firewall, and antispam tools. In past years, Norton's security software has been dinged by some for being slow and chewing up too much memory. But Symantec said it is sought to improve its 2011 versions to coax them to install and scan faster and use up less memory.
The company added that it's moving beyond security by offering a new feature called System Insight 2.0, which can alert users when other applications are grabbing too much memory and system resources. Also new to the 2011 Internet Security and AntiVirus products is Download Insight 2.0, which will scan downloads delivered through your browser, e-mail, or instant messaging program.
Features revamped for 2011 include Norton Identity Safe, which is designed to help create and manage all of your passwords, and Norton Safe Web, which analyzes and rates search results from Google, Yahoo, and Bing to make sure sites are free of malware.
Symantec is also debuting a few free security tools. Norton Safe Web Lite is a free version of the aforementioned tool designed to alert people to unsafe Web sites among search results. Norton Safe Web for Facebook is geared toward combating Koobface and other malware specifically targeted toward social-networking sites.
The free Norton Rescue Tools provides two individual utilities designed to clean up malware, according to Symantec. Cybercriminals are increasingly employing one popular scam: sending people phony messages telling them they've caught a virus and then offering to install antivirus software. Of course, the "antivirus software" is actually malware that itself infects PCs.
The Norton Power Eraser attempts to remove malware that conventional security software may not be able to eliminate. And the Norton Bootable Recovery Tool helps you create a rescue disc that you can use in the event your system is so badly compromised that it's unusable.