Yahoo, Symantec offer security bundle

Internet security suite protects online users from threats like viruses and spyware

Yahoo, in partnership with Symantec, launched an Internet security software suite dubbed Norton Internet Security and designed to protect online users from threats like viruses and spyware, the companies said Tuesday.

The suite includes Symantec's Norton AntiVirus and Norton Personal Firewall products. Yahoo users can try it out for free for 30 days, after which they can purchase a 12-month subscription for $49.99, which the vendors described as a "special, promotional" price.

Users can download the suite at Yahoo will promote the suite on its Web sites, like its search engine, and on its products, like its browser toolbar.

Yahoo and Symantec have collaborated for years. For example, Yahoo uses Symantec security technology in Yahoo Mail and the companies offer a co-branded browser toolbar.

With this new deal, Yahoo is responding to a similar suite that rival AOL is now testing called Total Care, which includes technology from McAfee, a Symantec competitor.

The deal also increases distribution for Symantec, a timely boost after Microsoft launched its OneCare PC security suite in June. OneCare, which includes antivirus, backup, firewall, antispyware, and PC tuning features, costs $49.95 for an annual subscription covering up to three Windows XP PCs.

Consumers need and want all the help they can get to protect themselves from the dizzying and ever-expanding variety of online dangers. Companies like Yahoo know that providing security services and products helps them retain users and attract new ones. It also encourages users to spend more time online, which is critical to Yahoo's online-advertising based business.