Virus writers keep cranking out new malicious code, and Symantec keeps cranking out new versions of its popular Norton AntiVirus program to stop them.
On Monday the company announced Version 2003, due on September 1, which it says will automatically protect a PC from evolving threats such as advanced e-mail worms and infected instant messaging attachments.
Norton AntiVirus 2003 will sell for $US50, the professional version will carry a $70 price tag, and an upgrade for current users of any antivirus software will cost $30.
Worms in particular have evolved to become one of the biggest threats and annoyances on the Internet today, said Laura Garcia, product manager for Norton AntiVirus.
Early worms often commandeered Microsoft's Outlook program to mail themselves to other PCs. But after Microsoft changed Outlook to prevent this, virus writers started creating worms capable of e-mailing themselves, she said.
Norton AntiVirus 2003 works to stop these malicious buggers with a new technology called Worm Blocking, Garcia said. The technology looks for these types of worms by monitoring a PC's outbound e-mail traffic. If it sees something that looks like a worm, the program stops the message and alerts the user, she said.
"We're excited because of the number of infections it will catch. We've filed for a patent on this concept."
Another major improvement to this version of Antivirus: it leaves you alone. Previous versions have a habit of popping up alerts when they detect something nasty, whereas Version 2003 takes it upon itself to take care of things without bugging the user first, Garcia said.