Symantec has finally announced the launch date for its upcoming Norton suite of consumer security software as 2 October for the UK.

Norton faces stiff competition from both its arch rival MacAfee and from Microsoft’s new security offering, Live OneCare, which is currently only available in the US.

Symantec is keen to emphasis the new anti-phishing and firewall tools that are incorporated into Norton Internet Security 2007, as well as the pre-emptive antivirus controls in Norton Anti-Virus 2007.

The Anti-Virus software promises to protect against whole worm and virus families without having to retrieve individual signatures for each new threat, because hackers are increasingly creating variations of malicious code, rather than developing new ones. It also features an option to move system scanning to the background, freeing up processing power so that users can continue to work as normal.

Norton Internet Security incorporates all the features of AntiVirus, but adds support for protection online. Anti-phishing measures include constantly updating lists of known phishing websites to protect users against identity theft.

The new Intrusion Prevention feature makes sure that vulnerabilities in Windows and other applications are shielded from prying code until a security patch is issued from the vendor.

Internet Security also promises an enhanced firewall that automatically configures itself to good applications, but blocks malware. It will be interesting to see what the first testers make of this feature, as presumably toughening up the firewall will make it even more difficult to unblock sites manually if a user needs to open it up.

Norton AntiVirus will be available for £39.99, while Norton Internet Security will be £49.99.