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Symantec Announces Encryption Enhancements, File Reputation-Based Anti-Malware

Symantec is introducing removable storage data leak prevention, enhanced performance and laptop anti-theft protection, the first encryption product announcements following the simultaneous acquisition of GuardianEdge and PGP in April. Symantec also unveiled its file reputation-based anti-malware technology, Ubiquity, designed to counter the "long tail" malware distribution model, in which millions of malicious variants are distributed to small numbers of users.

Symantec plans tight integration of GuardianEdge and PGP in the future. GuardianEdge and PGP have some overlapping products and technology, but GuardianEdge, which Symantec sold as Symentec Endpoint Encryption under an OEM partnership, focused primarily on endpoint encryption and device control. One of the prime benefits of the acquisition of PGP, which has a more diverse portfolio, including e-mail and messaging encryption, is its key management technology. Symantec announced several new capabilities in its combined encryption product line.

PGP Whole Disk Encryption now can make use of Intel Anti-Theft technology, a chip-based technology that allows admins to activate a "poison pill" that effectively disables a laptop if it is stolen or lost, or if it fails to connect to the corporate network in a predetermined number of days. Anti-Theft is also an effective way to securely dispose of old laptops.

PGP Whole Disk Encryption leverages another Intel technology, the AES-NI instruction set, which enhances performance by 40 percent. This can be particularly important for the newer solid-state hard drives. Encryption technologies have taken advantage of the inherent latency in traditional drives but with the faster IO available with SSDs, the software encryption would be the bottle neck. Supporting AES-NI makes sense in cases where IT can't install encrypted drives from companies like Seagate and Samsung.

Symantec is bolstering its endpoint software by integrating Endpoint Encryption Removable Storage Edition and Endpoint DLP to allow automated policy-based encryption of information copied to USB drives, DVDs, etc. Symantec Endpoint Encryption Device Control manages the use of portable storage devices by monitoring device usage and file transfer activity, controlling access to ports, devices and wireless networks, and restricting users' ability to copy protected classes of information.

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