Symantec Puts Up a Firewall

For months, Symantec (800/441-7234, www.symantec.com ) has been hinting that it planned to expand its Mac platform offerings. Wednesday, the utility company stopped hinting.

Symantec announced it would release an Internet security product, Personal Firewall 1.0, and a suite of Internet utilities, called Internet Security 1.0, later this month. With the move, Symantec now offers two distinct Mac product categories -- Internet security, made up of the two newly announced products, and problem-solving utilities, comprised of Norton Utilities, Norton AntiVirus, and the upcoming Norton SystemWorks suite.

Symantec bills Personal Firewall as an easy-to-use Internet security utility that protects users from hackers and security breaches. Symantec built its latest offering on DoorStop, the Internet firewall utility from Open Door Networks (541/488-4127, www.opendoor.com ).

Chief among the features touted by Symantec is Personal Firewall's ease of use. The utility installs in active mode; default settings provide complete firewall protection via TCP or UDP. That kind of simplicity is key in the consumer-oriented Mac market where 70 percent of Mac customers are on the Internet, says David Loomstein, group product manager for Symantec's consumer product division.

Symantec also added features to appeal to more advanced users, who can set additional rules or exceptions in Personal Firewall to allow for customizable access to their Macs.

"It's one-size-fits-all essentially," Loomstein says.

Personal Firewall can restrict access by Client IP address or by port number. The utility also provides exceptions and rules for commonly used Mac Internet access methods such as Macster.

Other Personal Firewall features include

  • a notifications and access history that logs info when someone attempts to access your computer;
  • AppleTalk awareness that alerts users when AppleTalk is active and your Mac is vulnerable to attacks;
  • a self-test mode that checks to ensure firewall protection is on;
  • a Learn More feature that provides information about Internet attacks;
  • access from your Mac's control strip; and
  • Sigma Live Update capabilities.
  • One feature missing from Personal Firewall is full OS X support. Firewall does run in Classic mode of the public beta, however, protecting the OS 9 portion of your drive. Symantec plans on releasing a Carbon version in the future.

    Personal Firewall will be available later this month for $70. Current Doorstop users will be able to upgrade for $40.

    "We want to make sure that as the preeminent Mac utility company that we have a parity of solutions for Internet customers," Loomstein says.

    Symantec plans to include Personal Firewall in a new utility suite, Norton Internet Security for Macintosh 1.0. The suite also includes Aladdin System's iClean, and the latest version of Norton AntiVirus. (Symantec announced Norton AntiVirus 7.0 and Norton Utilities 6.0 upgrades last week.)

    Symantec is charging $100 for the new Internet Security suite. Current AntiVirus and iClean users can upgrade for $70.

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