Friday, February 12, 2010

Bad site! Bad site!

I recently switched to Norton Internet Security (NIS). I'd been using the free Comodo Personal Firewall and was reasonably happy with that, but ran into some issues and found community forum support to be too time-consuming. So I figured paying a bit might be worth a try. (And, I got one of those 3-user, 1-year packs essentially free from my local Fry's.) I looked at a couple of other packages but wasn't so happy with them, NIS got a PC Magazine Editor's Choice award so looked like a good deal.

My initial impressions of NIS were quite good: it installed cleanly, worked unobtrusively, and didn't seem to take much of a bite out of performance. But I'm beginning to wonder about Norton's support and about some of their design decisions. Here's the deal. provides much of my hosting and email, and their webmail service is at Unfortunately, NIS has decided in its infinite wisdom that is infected with a virus and therefore it refuses to allow access to the mailcluster server. I looked and looked and couldn't find a whitelist feature anywhere so I sent off an email to Norton technical support.

What I got wasn't much in the way of support. Oh... they told me how to get access to the website, but the solution was like taking a sledgehammer to put in a tack. Here's the technician's response:
Hello John,
Thank you for contacting Norton Support.
I understand from your message that you are unable to access a specific website as it is marked by Norton as a non-safe web.
I am glad to help you regarding this.
John, Norton has found that is infected by virus and this is the reason it has not given you the access.
If you still need to access the particular website please disable the firewall and go through.
Steps to disable the firewall in Norton Internet Security 2009.
1.Start Norton Internet Security.
2.In the Internet pane, if the Smart Firewall shows On, click the status indicator to turn it Off.
3.In the Protection Alert dialog box, select Until system restart from the drop-down menu.
4.Click OK.
I hope this resolves your concern.
Turn off my firewall until I restart the system?! How ridiculous is that... you would figure that Norton would be smart enough to: give a simple option for something like this instead of just throwing up their hands and saying: "Well, if you're going to access a Bad Site, then we'll expose your computer to any and all threats."

Oh... and the tech spelled my name wrong (it's "Jon", not "John"). I'm glad they were trained to use it twice as a "personal" touch.

Maybe I should have titled this post "Bad NIS! Bad NIS!".