Bots everywhere, beware. Symantec announced on Tuesday the release of Norton AntiBot, which the company is calling the first targeted security solution for consumers wishing to fight the "growing botnet pandemic."
The security software firm said that Norton AntiBot is a real-time "bot detection and removal solution" that continually monitors PC applications and processes while complementing existing protections.
AntiBot uses behavior-based detection, according to Symantec, which means that the software looks at how files and applications are functioning so that malware can be detected and removed as soon as suspicious behavior shows up.
Six Million Bots
Bots are a growing threat to networked computer users, and are thought to be used in many criminal schemes as hard-to-trace robot workers often controlled by a single botmaster. Symantec said that there were more than six million active bots in the last six months of 2006, about 30 percent more than the previous six months.
Rowan Trollope, a Symantec senior vice president, pointed out that most of those users did not realize that their computers were being hijacked for malicious purposes.
Bots can take over a computer's processes, usually secretly, turning the PC into the computer equivalent of one of those aliens in Invasion of the Body Snatchers. According to Symantec, if bots are improperly removed, sometimes they can simply reinstall themselves.
Protection at a Price
But some observers are resisting the layered, multipackage, multipricetag approach to keeping their computers secure. Networked PCs these days seem to have as many layers of protection as a deli in a neighborhood caught between warring gangs.
AntiBot adds "yet another application to the list of security tools needed by PC users to avoid computer takeover attacks," ZDNet's Ryan Naraine wrote in his blog on Tuesday. Naraine said that computer security products, including antivirus, antispyware, antirootkit, antispam, and others, suck "valuable system resources under the guise of protecting you from hacker attacks."
Symantec, for instance, is suggesting that AntiBot be used in conjunction with its Norton AntiVirus, Norton Internet Security, and Norton 360 packages.
For those who do want to add another layer of protection to their computer security, Norton AntiBot is available for $29.99, which includes a one-year subscription to updates.