Symantec finally released an antispyware program, filling an embarrassing hole in its lineup of security products. The Norton Spyware Protection program will be free and downloadable separately for the next couple of months; after June 1, it will only be available as part of the $70 “Norton Internet Security Antispyware Edition.”

Now as it happens, Norton Internet Security makes me crazy. I’ve seen it break perfectly nice computers. On three different occasions I’ve been completely unable to make a network connection function for any purpose, to get online or to access another computer, until I removed the entire Internet Security suite. It has slowed systems and crashed programs. Its “Parental Controls” are nearly impossible to work with.

I still prefer Norton Antivirus to any other antivirus program, but I can’t recommend the Internet Security suite. And Symantec has been so slow to react to the adware/spyware threats that I’ll need a lot of convincing about their Spyware Protection program.

Microsoft Antispyware will continue to be free for consumers and has been troublefree and effective in my experience. I recommend it for all computer users. Symantec has a long way to go to earn trust for its program.

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