Customer suddenly got a huge increase in internet usage.
Usually, its because the “kids” discover something like limewire.
In this case its 2 elderly ladies, who only use the internet twice a week for emails, internet banking, and minimal web surfing.
They only have a 200Mb download limit (which they never exceeded for 2 years), so they increase it to 400Mb… quite small by todays standards, but it suits them.
But now they are using about 900Mb a month (with Bigpond charging for excess usage).
At first I thought an infection of some kind, but after some detective work, I find its much worse: Norton Internet Security 2009 is downloading a huge amount of data over the month.
How do I know?
Well, there are a few hints:
- The excessive download only started the month after NIS2009 was renewed (and new version is downloaded and installed).
- Nothing else was changed on the PC.
- I manually get NIS to update, then restart the PC, and soon after windows XP restarts, I see network traffic from norton… using the full ADSL bandwidth for a solid 2 minutes.
- I discover NIS2009 has a new “feature”: pulse updates. Basically, NIS checks for new updates every 5 – 15 minutes
I find the pulse updates particularly disturbing:
- You cannot configure how often NIS checks for updates (for your own good!)
- You have little control over how much bandwidth NIS uses
- You have no simple way of disabling pulse updates (eg if you want to play games).
Given that the customer usually leaves the PC running 24/7, then I suggest that they look at a better internet plan.
Also, switching off the modem unless they really need to use the internet (and keeping a log of when they use the internet), shows that some large download happen when the modem is on (but overall, less bandwidth is used).
So, like the Vista and AVG site scanner, pulse updates sound good on paper, but the implementation is either inefficient, or makes some bad assumptions about peoples standard internet connection (ie assume people have powerful PCs, high internet speeds and bandwidth)
Am I the only one that sees many problems with every new version of Norton Internet Security? Or is there a seething mass of unhappy Norton users out there?