The computer security firm Symantec announced today it will expand its Norton line of security software to smartphones, tablet computers and other Internet-enabled devices — even to TVs, automobiles and digital picture frames.
“We are entering a new era where non-PC devices are exploding in numbers, which means more opportunity for cybercriminals. It’s becoming more and more critical for consumers to be protected beyond their PCs,” said Janice Chaffin, president of the Consumer Business Unit at Symantec.
Symantec is known mostly for its Norton antivirus software. But over the past three years, the company's work on cloud computing storage, internet parental controls and application reputations (safety ratings for just about any file downloaded online) paved the way for the new push into mobile computing security.
Meanwhile, there are 5 things consumers need to know about the "Norton Everywhere" effort:
Norton Everywhere is more than antivirus. In fact, on the phone-front (iPhone and Android 2.0+ included), Norton will offer much more than just protection from rogue apps and malware. The apps will let user remotely lock and/or wipe the device in the event of theft or loss, prevent unwanted phone calls, and even keep tabs on their roaming status to avoid extra charges.
The Norton Connect App (previously known as ‘Tiki’) will let users sync with their online backup account (available in Norton 360 or Norton Online Backup) to access, manage and share files directly from an iPhone or Android device (Android is the OS for the Droid smartphone and others).
Norton Everywhere is for more than phones. Even Your digital photo frame needs security. Don’t believe it? While the threats are different, any device that connects to the Internet has the potential to be a security risk. Norton intends to help you protect Blu-ray players, TVs, game consoles, tablets, e-readers, and even vehicles. When Norton says everywhere, they mean everywhere.
Content filtering on your PC isn’t enough. Norton has offered content filtering and parental controls for PC and Mac, but children are now accessing the Internet on their phones and even video game consoles. As Norton integrates its databases and infrastructure to provide DNS (Domain Name System) services to internet-enabled devices, users will be able to block their child from inappropriate sites while surfing the web on the Wii, or protect their network from a virus on a guest’s iPad. Norton DNS will be available for free, to deliver another level of security as Norton verifies every URL you visit.
You may not have a choice, Norton will be everywhere. Rather than asking consumers to download Norton, Symantec aims to partner directly with consumer electronics manufacturers (HTC for one), Norton hopes to deliver stable security, updates, remote support and more all “out of the box.”
Expect to see beta tests and releases galore this summer, with Norton Everywhere available on several devices (and unavoidable on others) sometime this year.