The long tail
Security software giant Symantec has released the latest versions of its headline product: Norton Internet Security 2010.
While Symantec has capitalised on having the most recognised brand in cyber security for years, it's facing increasing pressure in a highly competitive and commoditised market. Put simply, how do you differentiate yourself in the security software market when most products more or less get the job done?
As ever, the best way is through innovation, and Symantec thinks it has a differentiator in the form of Quorum, which is new to Norton 2010 and which Symantec describes as "reputation-based technology".
The problem, says Symantec, is that while major viruses can be tackled by the traditional signature and behavoiur-based techniques, there is a growing trend towards ‘server-side polymorphism' in which the malware server delivers a slightly different piece of malevolent software each time it's visited.
Just as your immune system can't develop permanent immunity to viruses like influenza, precisely because they constantly mutate and thus are not recognized, this ‘long tail' of millions of unique pieces of malware is apparently not being detected by the traditional methods.