“Even if you installed antivirus software a few months ago, you could already be susceptible to new virus attacks.”



Perhaps it's become a cliché, all this talk about the pace of technology, and change as a constant, and the need to stay ahead of the curve. But, clichés develop for a reason--usually because there's truth in them. In the case of computer software, and particularly Internet security software, all the pace-of-technology talk is warranted.

Historically, computer software was a static form of technology. You would buy a program, load it on your machine, and use the software "as is" until the next version came out. However, that model no longer fits. Today's digital world is in constant flux, and in order to make the latest advances available immediately, software has become much more dynamic. Many programs can retrieve updates over the Internet and seamlessly incorporate the new technology into the original software. Of course, not all updates are vital. If we're talking video games or word processing software, there's nothing critical about updating your program between versions. However, if we're talking security software, ignoring updates can have serious consequences.

The Problem: Ever-Evolving Threats

Once loaded, security software is only as good as the information available at the time of development. Meanwhile, virus writers, hackers, and other ill-intentioned individuals are constantly coming up with new and inventive ways to attack their targets. This has critical implications with regard to vulnerability. Even if you installed new antivirus software a few months ago, you could already be susceptible to a host of potential new virus attacks.

Viruses can jam your system resources, infect your data, or even reformat your hard drive. They are a serious, ever-evolving threat, and they aren't the only type of cutting-edge hazard. Security attacks continue to surface in many other shapes and sizes. For example, many individuals now use broadband services to remain online full time. As a result, direct hacks into home computers are on the rise. Hackers love to target "always-on" users, and they are continually developing new ways to infiltrate well-connected home computers. Other new assaults are more subtle, using Internet advertisements to bait consumers and elicit private information--or worse, using the Internet to make inappropriate contact with children.

The Solution: Ever-Evolving Protections

This isn't a no-win situation, however. As threats evolve, so do anti-threat technologies. Security experts like Symantec are constantly working to anticipate and respond to new types of attacks. Once a novel attack method becomes known, it's not long before Symantec finds a way to identify the threat, prevent its spread, and remedy its effects. But, developing new technologies and response strategies is only half the solution. The latest technologies and information have to make their way from the development lab to your desktop. That's where program updates and the Internet come into play.

Software Updates and the Internet

Software makers understand the benefit of developing and delivering program updates. For example, the maker of your operating system likely develops system updates on a regular basis. Most often these updates are delivered to your computer over the Internet. The same goes for your Internet browser software. Sometimes these updates deal with basic functionality and features. Other times, they deal with more critical issues, like security. Whatever the case, you've probably grown accustomed to updating software, and you've likely used the Internet to do so.

The Internet is a particularly important conduit for security software updates. It's perhaps a sweet irony that the very medium used for virus proliferation and other threats is also a delivery mechanism for anti-threat technology. But the reality is security firms can use the Internet just as effectively as hackers. In fact, the Internet has become the primary method for security update delivery.

Symantec Keeps You Ahead of the Curve

Symantec, a pioneer in delivering program updates over the Internet, has long understood the importance of making the latest security protections readily available. That's why you'll always find the most recent software updates and security advisories on the Norton.com website. It's also why Symantec developed LiveUpdate, a patented tool for distributing updates over the Internet. LiveUpdate is a core feature built into every Symantec home security product.

Norton AntiVirus uses LiveUpdate to bring new virus definitions and program revisions to your desktop, a vital step in defending against the latest virus strains. Meanwhile, Norton Internet Security uses LiveUpdate to retrieve the latest spam definitions and Web filter updates. Up-to-date spam definitions help thwart unsolicited advertising schemes, and Web filter updates help prevent your children from stumbling across newly posted websites with inappropriate content. Symantec is committed to developing powerful and innovative security solutions. However, in order to get the best protection from your Symantec software, you have to do your part. Make it a regular habit to check the Norton.com website for security advisories, and take advantage of LiveUpdate's versatility to keep your system up to date. Configure it to alert you when critical updates are available, set it to run automatically on a predefined schedule, or run it manually when your schedule allows. With LiveUpdate, the choice is yours.

Conclusion

Regardless of which method you choose, be sure to check for updates to your Symantec software at least once per week. It's truly the best way to stay safely ahead of the curve, and that's a cliché you can take to heart.