By John Leyden
22nd February 2007
Symantec has apologised after a glitch with its software resulted in
"small group" of its customers been falsely advised that their software
subscriptions had expired early.
The early renewal alert SNAFU affected an unknown number of users of
2006 versions of Norton products. Users of 2005 and the latest (2007)
versions of Norton-branded security products from Symantec were not
In a statement, Symantec said the glitch was "caused by a technical
problem within the subscription client, which has since been identified
and for which a fix is now available. Norton customers with 2005 or 2007
product versions are not affected by this issue".
Symantec published a patch designed to address the problem in January
( http://service1.symantec.com/SUPPORT/custserv.nsf/docid/2006072017131546 ),
which it has subsequently pushed out to customers via its LiveUpdate
service, the feature of its software packages used to obtain new
anti-virus definition files or program updates.
However, Reg readers who informed us of the problem only began
experiencing problems at the start of February. For Reg reader Tim, for
example, his problems with Norton Internet Security 2006 began when the
software warned him his machine wasn't protected against a Trojan.
"LiveUpdate would not work, just kept coming back and telling me my
machine was not protected and when I tried to manually activate
LiveUpdate it said that LiveUpdate was currently running in the
background and that it should finish the session it went on in a
continuous circle," he told us.
Symantec told Tim how to fix the initial problem, after which the
software worked for a few days before he was confronted by a bogus
subscription expired notice when he had more than five months left to
run on his subscription. "I got on to Symantec, they told me I needed to
synchronise my machine with the Symantec server, they gave me
instructions which I followed, and the machine then returned to the
correct number of unexpired days. The laptop was on auto LiveUpdate and
auto scan," he added.
Tim said he only knew how many days he had left on his license because
he had written it down on his installation CD. He asks: "How many other
people just paid up and renewed without knowing how many days/months
they had left? Will Symantec refund those people who renewed in error?"
Symantec said users with queries about the problem, whether financial or
technical, needed to contact its customer support staff. The security
giant acknowledged that users might still be encountering the issue for
the first time due to synchronisation problems.
"Customers still receiving incorrect notifications that their
subscription is due to expire are advised to run LiveUpdate as soon as
possible, or to check that their product is correctly synchronised with
Symantec's client licensing server to ensure the subscription date is
correct," it said.
More information on synchronisation can be found here .
Symantec explained that Norton 2006 customers with an up to date
subscription are automatically eligible for all features available
within the 2007 versions of the products. This would happen, for
example, where users bought a yearly subscription in June 2006, a few
months before the release of the Norton 2007 line-up. Users in this
category experiencing subscription glitches are able to upgrade to the
2007 version in order to resolve the problem, as explained here .
The early renewal flap is unrelated to a problem some business users
experienced in December that meant they weren't easily able to
repurchase renewed subscriptions once the Symantec licences had expired.
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