Pioneers in Security

Symantec is on a cyber safety mission

We live in a rapidly evolving connected world. Technology is advancing in ways we never dreamed possible. The entire world is now a tap, swipe, or click away from us and our devices. This digital age is our new frontier, and at Norton LifeLock we believe that everyone has the right to explore it without fear. Everything we do at Norton LifeLock focuses on providing cyber safety solutions so that people can freely explore their connected world.

The Symantec story

In the 1970s, a breakthrough technology emerged: the personal computer. Although supercomputers had been in the workplace for several years, the PC truly made technology personal, bringing computing into our homes. As with many inventions, however, the bad guys soon learned how to exploit the new technology. It didn’t take long for the first computer viruses to appear. Luckily, these first viruses were relatively easy to contain, since many were transmitted via infected floppy disks. But once the Information Superhighway connected every Internet-enabled computer in the world, viruses became legion and began putting computer users at risk.

In the United States, Symantec was one of the earliest tech companies to take up the fight against computer viruses. The company was founded in 1982 by Gary Hendrix, a pioneer in natural-language database technology, and expanded into utility programs and database systems with easy-to-use features for people without advanced computer training. Q&A was Symantec’s first big success, with impressive sales and an extensive list of retail sales contacts. However, Symantec realized it couldn’t sustain growth with a single major product. It soon launched a strategy of buying existing products and companies to quickly deliver the best solutions to its customers. By the end of 1988, Symantec had grown its portfolio to 20 products. With competition increasing, Symantec decided to focus on an as-yet-undeveloped market that could also protect its customer base: antivirus software.

The birth of the Norton brand

Symantec began to develop a DOS-based antivirus program in 1989, but actually released its first antivirus product for Apple computers — Symantec Antivirus for Macintosh (SAM) — that same year. The product sold well from the start, generating sales of $100,000 in its first month. In addition to being Symantec’s first antivirus product, SAM also set a standard that Norton adheres to today: it applied technology that enabled the program to intercept and eliminate new viruses, even ones that did not yet exist.

Motivated by the success of SAM and requests by clients citing the need for more antivirus products, Symantec soon purchased Certus Corporation, the maker of Novi antivirus. With Symantec’s background in utilities software, it was not surprising that the next company Symantec acquired, in 1990, was Peter Norton Computing — best known for its Norton Utilities software. Just one year later, Norton AntiVirus for PCs launched. It was
Symantec’s first antivirus software focused on the consumer market.

In that same decade, with use of the World Wide Web growing exponentially, Symantec made another innovative first with LiveUpdate, a Web-based program that let customers download virus definitions and firewall rules from Symantec’s website to keep related products up to date. With LiveUpdate, Symantec became the first company to enable customers to dynamically add code to a base product without having to reinstall the software itself.

Symantec meets Melissa

The story of Symantec and antivirus didn’t end with the rise of the Norton brand. Even as Norton began to leverage its enterprise technology for consumer products, Symantec continued to build solutions for businesses that wanted to secure all aspects of their enterprise. Then, on March 26, 1999, Symantec — and the rest of the world — met Melissa.

The Melissa email virus, the fastest-spreading infectious program at that time, drew international attention as each infected computer emailed the virus to the accounts of 50 contacts. When thousands of people turned to Symantec for answers, it became clear that the company had established a reputation for being an industry leader in security. And both LiveUpdate and Norton AntiVirus delivered solutions to combat the virus. In the aftermath of Melissa, Symantec realized the critical importance of its antivirus business and continued to add to its antivirus intellectual property.

The evolution of Norton: Beyond antivirus

The challenges in today’s digital world go beyond viruses and malware. Cybercriminals seem determined to steal and sell your personal information by accessing connected devices. As the line between “real life” and “online life” blurs, the bad guys are finding creative new ways to threaten your online security and privacy.

Your home network could be hacked. Or your privacy could be compromised while using public Wi-Fi. That’s why antivirus protection, alone, is not enough anymore.

Symantec understands that. To continue to stay one step ahead of cybercriminals, Symantec has acquired a select few companies that offer some of today’s best online consumer protection products and services. By adding these companies to its portfolio, Symantec continues to build a more secure future with ever more sophisticated and robust security solutions to protect people’s identities, devices, smart home networks, and online privacy.

Public Wi-Fi

What happens when devices are taken outside a home’s secure Wi-Fi network? There is a good chance that people expose their devices to unsecured public Wi-Fi while they’re out and about, and could be at risk of man-in-the-middle attacks that could breach their online privacy. That’s why Symantec acquired SurfEasy, a leading virtual private network (VPN) provider.

With this acquisition, Symantec now has easy-to-use solutions for online privacy and security on smartphones, tablets, and computers. Now called Norton Secure VPN, the product helps users stay safe on public Wi-Fi in cafes and other public places, and even at home. It also helps privacy-conscious users protect their personal data from online eavesdropping.

The Internet of Things

In addition to acquiring other companies that offer stellar security solutions, Symantec is also continuing its heritage of innovation.

Today it seems like everything is connected to the internet. The Internet of Things continues to become part of our everyday home lives, as we adjust our smart thermostats from our sofas while we watch our smart TVs controlled by our voice or smartphones. But security has rarely been a primary consideration for IoT device developers, and that could create opportunities for cybercriminals.

The need for network-level security in homes became clearer in September 2016, when a group hacked into home networks worldwide to harness the power of connected devices. The cybercriminals used unsecured routers and DVRs to launch DDoS attacks that took popular websites like Twitter and Netflix offline.

Symantec had foreseen that IoT device vulnerabilities could allow cybercriminals to attack home networks, and a team of engineers was already hard at work creating Norton CoreTM, the world’s first secure home Wi-Fi router. When Norton Core launched in 2017, it introduced a new type of connected home security — one that secured smart homes at the network level, leveraging Symantec’s Global Intelligence Network, a technology used by banks and large organizations to foil malware, viruses, and hackers.

For the first time, Symantec created a hardware product that protected all devices connected to the home network, offered parental controls, and could be managed by an easy-to-use app. Norton Core was built with form and function in mind. The beautiful geodesic shape amplified network connectivity over a large area and also made Norton Core a piece of art you wanted to display, unlike standard routers.

Norton LifeLock today and into the future

In 2016, Symantec acquired LifeLock identity theft protection. The two brands, Norton and LifeLock, joined forces to help fight new and evolving threats with multidevice protection and identity theft protection.*

The goal? Create a single brand that provides a complete solution for consumer cyber safety.

Symantec’s Norton LifeLock brand is synonymous with computer security and identity theft protection — providing cyber safety for PCs and Macs, mobile devices, online privacy, internet-connected home networks, and your identity* with products like Norton 360 with LifeLock.

Two key components that support Norton LifeLock are the STAR team and ID Analytics. Both work around the clock to help secure and protect the digital lives of millions of people.

STAR — Symantec’s Security Technology and Response team — includes a global team of security engineers, threat analysts, virus and malware hunters, and researchers.

ID Analytics — the network that helps LifeLock by monitoring for usage of member information — provides companies with insights into identity and fraud-related risks to help identify potential fraudsters.

Thanks to these teams, at Norton LifeLock we’re so confident in our ability to help protect customers that we give them our Virus Protection Promise1 and the Million Dollar ProtectionTM Package.2

Norton LifeLock continues to be a pioneer, blazing a cyber safety trail for people to help navigate their connected lives securely.


*LifeLock identity theft protection is available only in the U.S.
1 Virus Protection Promise: To be eligible for the Virus Protection Promise, you must have a qualifying subscription and unless you have Norton Small Business, you must also have purchased, renewed or upgraded that subscription directly from Symantec, or activate automatic renewal with Symantec. If a Norton agent is unable to remove the virus from your device, then you may receive a refund based on the actual price paid for the current term of your qualifying subscription. If you have a bundle (a qualifying subscription purchased with another Norton or LifeLock offering), your refund will be limited to the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of your qualifying subscription for the current term, not to exceed the total bundled price paid. Or, if your bundled purchase contains a qualifying subscription with a non-Norton or non-LifeLock product, your refund will be limited to the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of only your qualifying subscription for the current term, not to exceed the total bundled price paid. Any refund will be net of any discounts or refunds received and less any shipping, handling and applicable taxes, except in certain states and countries where shipping, handling and taxes are refundable. The refund does not apply to any damages incurred as a result of viruses. See for details including qualifying subscriptions.
2 Reimbursement and Expense Compensation, each with limits of up to $1 million for Ultimate Plus, up to $100,000 for Advantage and up to $25,000 for Standard. And up to $1 million for coverage for lawyers and experts, if needed, for all plans. Benefits under the Master Policy are issued and covered by United Specialty Insurance Company (State National Insurance Company, for NY State members). Policy terms, conditions and exclusions at:

Security Experts

It takes a non-stop operation to stay one step ahead of the more than 80,000 new malware threats that appear every day. Meet the seasoned security experts on our STAR team, who spend their days battling on the frontline of digital crime.

Service & Support

With a team of over 1,700 customer care experts dotted around the globe, Norton ensures easily accessible support no matter your location. In fact, we’re so confident in our award-winning protection and quality support services that we offer a money-back guarantee. 

Technology Leadership

Over the last 25 years, we’ve built a rich and widespread intelligence network, constantly gathering data on threats from over 40 million endpoints in over 150 countries. That data is what drives our protection, enabling it to stop even emerging threats that nobody’s ever seen before.


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