Norton takes a bad idea one step further

By | April 16, 2011
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Over the past couple of weeks we have been receiving emails like this one from Elaine:

“I have this morning downloaded some of your stationery (older Easter stationery) and Norton’s (yes, I know you don’t like it) have sent up a couple warnings regarding it, classing it WS.Reputation.1, which I take to mean there isn’t enough people using it to give it a good reputation? Surely there is no problem with your stationery? Thanks Elaine.”

First of all, we’ll tell you what “WS.Reputation.1” means It means “Web Site Reputation”. If you notice the format of WS.Reputation.1, it’s in the standard format used for naming viruses, Trojans, and other malicious files.

It’s incredible that an anti-virus company which has been around for 20 year would ever stoop to this kind of slick marketing ruse. WS Reputation means the reputation of a file as determined by a community of those who use Norton. If not enough people rate it good, or don’t rate it at all – that file warrants a warning: a WS.Reputation.1 warning.

Why would any anti-virus company rely on a “community” of people who cannot possibly be experts in virus or malware detection to have anything to do with what a security program detects as “dangerous”. It’s just astounding to me that people buy into this “community” ruse. Is there something a “community” of users who have no special credentials does to improve an anti-virus product to make it better? No.

It’s bad enough that WOT gets away with this sort of thing, but when an antivirus starts warning users about download simply because the “community” is not familiar with it, or there’s not enough community postings about it, that’s going way too far. So a software program is guilty until its community deems it innocent? It seems to me that people would want their antivirus/antispyware/antimalware program to detect real threats – threats that can harm their computer, threaten their identity, or subvert their personal information – based on actual unbiased, logical threat detection techniques and scientific data – and not on the consensus of some unseen community of people whose only expertise is that they user Norton products.

Norton, in their magnanimity, does provide a way for companies who make software to have their negative ratings removed: Simply fill out a long form (which would take 30-45 minutes) for each download for which you want the negative removed. In a few weeks, if Norton sees fit, the negative will be removed. And in the meantime the site (our site) loses hundreds, perhaps thousands of visitors who probably won’t ever return because they think (thanks to Norton) that we are distributing infected files. We have over 5000 downloads. Are we guilty because we cannot possibly  fill out 5000 separate forms? We cannot possibly fill out that many forms and wait for weeks while Norton decides if our files should be whitelisted? We have been on the Web for almost 13 years and we served millions of downloads; our files have never harmed a single computer; we never once distributed a single malicious file and we never will.

Norton is pandering to its users, providing them a “say” in its security warnings. Norton has seen its sales drop sharply over the years as new companies with better security software have emerged. Facing stiff competition, Norton, instead of lowering their ridiculously high subscription prices, or improving their program by getting rid of their high-rate of false-positives and lowering the amount of system resources it uses, has stooped to gamesmanship and pandering by enabling its users to have a say in what is dangerous and what is not. It has taken WOT’s silly idea to a new level.

If after learning that Norton has sunken to a new low. Allowing random, anonymous users to contribute to its threat-detection database is dangerous and asinine. If someone still trusts in and chooses to use Norton after learning this,then they deserve what they get. Instead of improving their product, Norton just keeps getting worse. It’s always been an expensive, intrusive, bloated security suite. Norton has always suffered from a very high rate of false positives. And now by relying on millions of users most of whom have no expertise at all in antivirus detection techniques, Norton has become infinitely more inaccurate.

It’s hard to believe that anyone with even a modicum of knowledge of the Internet and the real threats that we all face, would ever use Norton 360 or any other Norton security product to protect their computer.

There are so many good free and less-expensive security programs available; we just don’t understand why anyone would pay $59 a year for a product that – just when we think it couldn’t get any worse-  finds a way to do just that. Norton built its reputation over a decade ago when it and McAfee were the only choices for antivirus protection PC users had. The world has changed and there are many excellent choices for antivirus, antispyware and antimalware – which are better, cheaper, more effective. Norton isn’t a household name because it’s better; it’s a household name because of a reputation it built over a decade ago when the internet was a very different place and there were only two antivirus products available.

It’s bad enough that WOT engages in this community reputation-rating ruse; but it is downright dangerous when an when an antivirus/antispyware security product does it.

We were absolutely shocked when we learned that Norton would stoop to this level of incompetency. Allowing its users to have any say in its threat detection process is not only foolish but dangerous to all its users.

6 thoughts on “Norton takes a bad idea one step further

  1. Hilda Berends

    Dear Sir,
    I had the same experience last year and the year before. I could not download your stationary . I called Norton, they somehow helped me to correct this but to no avail.
    I deleted Norton and have now another program.
    Just so you know. Have a great day . Keep up the good work . I love your news letters.
    Hilda Berends

  2. Rachel Henderson

    It really ticks me off that despicable Symantec can influence an innocent party’s revenue. In this case Cloudeight. I have already posted this to my Facebook account with the warning that none of my friends should ever buy Norton. Many of my co-workers already know how I feel about Norton, even though the place I work at sells Norton in various flavors. Now I will be even more vigilant in preventing others from wasting their hard earned money on this inferior and misleading product. Cloudeight rocks!!!! They have always told the truth of things even when it meant no money in their pockets. In this day and age Cloudeight is truly unique. A sterling example of rare integrity.

  3. lorena m hawes

    norton’s program all but destroyed a pc of mine several years ago. as a result, i tell everyone to NOT get norton. the tech who finally saved my pc said ist worked fine once the “norton invasion” was stopped and removed. and it did, my son is using theat pc now, after 6 years “after norton” and it was thanks to you at info ave that helped. please, keep up the great job you do!
    rena hawes

  4. Brent

    At our office, we use an inhouse program that we provide to our agents ( 2500-3500 total agents ).

    Have had 6-7 calls over the last week regarding this. Including one today where I had to help a co worker with it.

    I guess in theory, it’s fine. But the problem is that most of their customers have no idea of the features or any of that. It’s a horrible idea to simply blacklist programs because not many people have used them.

    Before, we just had to worry about people’s firewalls blocking our program from working. Now, we are having to field calls from people simply trying to install our program.

  5. Nonnee Garvey

    I just got customer support from Norton and they reset my program to allow me to download. It was a pain, but atleast I can download from Cloudeight. Thought you’d like to know. It means contacting their customer support, but it worked.

    1. infoave Post author

      The reason you don’t get warnings on our files anymore from Norton isn’t because of Norton’s support, it’s because we’ve purchased a digital signature that verifies our files were created by us and only us. We have redone most of our files with the digital signature and that’s why you are not getting warnings anymore.




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