Is This a Scam by Symantec?

Can’t help but think that “Norton by Symantec” is trying to scare the beejeesus out of website owners with something that sure smells like a scam to me…or at least a really spammy marketing effort to bolster their contact lists.

One of my businesses, Innov8Press, recently began rebuilding a long-time client’s new website. Before the rebuild started we moved the client to a new webhost as their existing one wasn’t up to handling what the new site will require for technical resources.

This is a site we had built (but were not managing at the time) and is one we cleaned up after a hack two years ago and it has been clean ever since. FOR THE LAST TWO YEARS Google says it is clean. Sucuri says it is clean. The premium Wordfence security suite says it is clean.

So imagine my surprise that, after we’d moved the site, we saw this at the new webhost’s dashboard:

Then I go back to Sucuri — which again, had shown the site to be clean for TWO YEARS until we just moved it last week — and now this appears:

We’ve now invested a couple of hours:

  • Creating an account at Norton Safe Web
  • Interacting on the community forum (basically to ask, “WTF?”)
  • Downloading the verification file
  • Uploading it to the site’s server
  • Requesting a verification as the “site owner”.

Every fiber in my being tells me this is a spammy attempt to get website “owners”, whether the actual owner or developers like us, to signup for their services. At the very least it’s an attempt to identify website owners so they can email the shit out of us.

If Norton starts spamming us I’ll create a filter in Gmail to instantly set all their emails to “spam.” They’d better not think they can market to us in this fashion like some no-scruples startup, and basically waste the time of website owners like this.


  1. 413admin on November 27, 2017 at 9:39 am

    Same! Mine is clean on everything except Norton.

  2. Steve Borsch on November 27, 2017 at 9:45 am

    It’s my opinion that Symantec’s Norton anti-virus business is in trouble, especially after last year’s discovery of insecurities in their A/V engines.

    In August, this guy’s take on Symantec’s Q1/FY2018 earnings shows that they’re now “hiding” the decline in Norton’s revenues.

    As such, this “blacklisting effort” is an attempt to bolster Norton’s revenues and nothing more.

  3. Alan Geeves on November 27, 2017 at 10:30 pm

    Ive seen this before but it was on email accounts not being able to send to email accounts at certain internet providers. The short term answer was to contact the local provider and prove to them your email was clean before they pass the complaint on to the provider who actually had the problem. The problem was caused by spoofed email addresses and when looking in detail those spoofed accounts were long gone. It was just laziness on the receiving end that left accounts blocked for months or more.
    I wouldnt touch Nortons with a barge pole but the reality is they and other av providers use complaints to honey pot and lists to make these blacklists as well as there own script checks.
    Just as bad possibly worse

  4. Steve Borsch on November 29, 2017 at 11:12 am

    PLEASE NOTE: There may be a comment or two on this post that were lost as I moved to a new server yesterday. Apologize if your comment is missing.

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Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.