Hot on the heels of Microsoft launching their OneCare internet security solution (see New Internet Security Option post on May 31st) both Symantec and McAfee have announced rival solutions. Symantec's product is to be called Norton 360 while McAfee's product is currently using the codename Falcon. Norton 360 will be available before March 2007, possibly later this year while McAfee will be launching a beta version of Falcon in the coming weeks.
How these products will measure up to OneCare remains to be seen. What they all need to work on is simplifying the user experience. The current generation of internet security products still do not take into account that the average home user does not know how a firewall should be configured, what ports need to be open to use an attached webcam, or what IP address and subnet mask should be set to communicate with another PC on a home network and, I would argue, a home user should not need to know this. The ideal internet security product for home users should perform an analysis of the user's PC and then set the appropriate level of security based on the results of that analysis. Thereafter it should remain silent except to notify the user of important information. How many of us have experienced pop-up windows from internet security packages like Norton or McAfee that present cryptic message that are alsmost impossible for the average user to understand? Internet security software needs to get smarter and simpler at the same time. Let's hope that the products that will arrive in the next few months can achieve that.