Symantec will ship a new version of its Norton 360 security and online storage/backup product and announced that free applications for mobile devices are on the way.

An Android smartphone app for Norton 360 is in beta now, and similar applications for the Apple iPad and iPhone are expected out shortly, according to Mimi Hoang, director of consumer products at Symantec. In fact, one of the main changes to this fourth version of Norton 360 is that it gives the user more options to get to files stored in Symantec's online facilities.

"Before, you had to use the client software but now you can access files and data from any Internet browser," Hoang says.

"We're moving forward on the question, 'How do you share and access data with friends and family?"'

With Version 4.0, there is now a hyperlink to Norton 360 backup that can be accessed via a web browser with the same log-in and credentials the user has for use with the Norton 360 desktop software. The idea is to click the link to gain options for viewing or downloading files, with ways to share them.

Norton 360 also includes PC optimisation tools and a "Smart Start-up Manager" intended to eliminate long boot time.

Version 4.0 was designed to enhance web security by protecting users from phishing sites and signaling a site's legitimacy through color-coded indicators of red, green and yellow, through analysis.

The software's "Quorum technology" can detect and block malicious files along with botnets and viruses. Symantec believes about 70% of malware today derives from malicious downloads and scripts, with the remainder originating in email, instant messaging and social-engineering tricks.

Norton 360 Version 4.0 lists at about $80, and $60 as an upgrade.