Symantec aims to prevent botnets

US-based security firm Symantec has released a free public beta for its new Norton AntiBot software that is designed to identify malware on a user's system by analysing its behaviour.

US-based security firm Symantec has released a free public beta for its new Norton AntiBot software that is designed to identify malware on a user's system by analysing its behaviour.

The stand-alone app is based on existing technology from Sana Security, with a few minor add-ins from Symantec's SONAR behavioral scanning technology, which is now included in Norton products.

Symantec reveals AntiBot is meant as a supplement to anti-virus software, not a replacement, and doesn't use signatures as traditional anti-virus products do. Instead, it examines how a program behaves, where it runs from, what Registry changes it makes, what websites it may attempt to contact, and more.

The company says the sofware won't conflict with other antivirus programs, either its own or those of competitors.

While the SONAR feature runs only during virus scans, Symantec reveals AntiBot stays running in the background to observe all programs' behaviour. Though the name emphasizes its focus on catching the versatile 'bot' malware that can turn infected computers into remote-controlled 'zombie' PCs, the program will look for behaviour associated with a wide range of malicious software, including keystroke logging and phising.

The beta is available as a free download from Symantec here. The company plans to release the final version next month, at which time the beta will expire. Symantec hasn't yet announced a price for the app, however says that it may eventually add the technology to its existing line of anti-virus programs.

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