Norton antivirus, by Symantec, is one of the best known and regarded antivirus systems currently available on the market. Now over 25 years since its initial release, it’s still hard to find much to fault with the program, although it does lack some of the higher-end features found in competing solutions.
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Norton Antivirus Review – Pros & Cons
- Comprehensive antivirus protection with superb detection rates
- Clean, uncluttered user interface that has remained consistent over the years
- Bootable media makes it easy to regain access to corrupted systems
- The entry level plan is only available for PCs and Macs
- High system performance overhead during scanning
- Lacks some ‘icing on the cake’ features such as file shredding and encryption
Norton Antivirus Pricing
Norton offers three choices of antivirus protection based on on the number of devices you want to back up.
Norton Security Standard
The price for the first year is $32.99, and it features protection for one PC or Mac.
Norton Security Deluxe
The price for the first year is $44.99, and it features protection for up to 5 PCs, Macs, Androids, or iOS devices, and its top-tier offering.
Norton Security Premium
The price for the first year is $59.99, which can protect up to 10 devices and features advanced functionalities such as parental control and PC backup.
For users with many devices to secure the top package will represent good value for money. For those with more moderate needs, however, Norton is somewhat pricey.
Rating for Norton Pricing: 8/10
Norton Virus, Spyware, and Malware Protection
Norton’s antivirus is rightly regarded as one of the best in the business, featuring an impressive complement of tools designed to maximize the security of your PC or mobile device. The platform’s anti-phishing filter, which flags emails intended to deceive users into revealing personal information by purporting to be a reputable entity, is considered the industry standard-bearer.
Rating for Norton Protection: 9/10
Norton Detection and Removal Tools
Norton’s core antivirus engine has fared well in independent laboratory testing by both AV-Test and the Austria-based AV-Comparatives. Both praised the programs praised Norton’s ability to thwart a wide variety of security threats including both antiviruses and malware as well as less conventional attack vectors such as key-loggers.
In AV Comparatives’ latest real-world test, the software achieved an over 99% total protection rate – an impressive score even for an established provided such as Norton – and was even successful in removing zero day threats (attacks that are set to run within a certain time-frame)..
Users can also feel certain that the protection they are receiving through the software is up-to-date and accurate. Norton’s protection works by uploading suspicious but previously unknown items to the Symantec Online Network for Advanced Response (SONAR) where they are analyzed. If they are found to be malicious, the system creates unique signatures and pushes updates to all Norton users worldwide through LiveUpdate.
Norton is not the lightest user of system resources on the market, however, making it a questionable choice for those operating older hardware. One benchmark found that it resulted in an over 30 percent decrease in system performance – significantly slower than some competing solutions, which clocked in at less than 20 percent.
Users who want an uncluttered user experience will appreciate that the software moves offending files into quarantine quietly in the background, although both notification type and frequency can be configured according to users’ preferences. In fact, Norton even lets users enter into a ‘gamer’ or ‘silent, mode. When activated the program suspends all scheduled scans, allowing users to play games – or watch a movie – without being interrupted by distracting popups and messages.
On the internet security side of things, all levels of protection include an Identity Safe password manager, a Norton toolbar, and the Norton Safe Web feature which scans millions of websites and offers warnings about potentially insecure pages. Although these together provide a nice set of features, the fact that they exist as separate functionalities detracts a little from the otherwise streamlined user experience.
A particularly nice feature is the bootable rescue CD (or USB) that users can create in case the system becomes inoperable. Using the rescue media, users can safely access the compromised system, run an antivirus scan within the Linux-based environment, and restore it to a usable state.
Despite the plethora of tools available in Norton, some more advanced functionalities are sorely lacking. Although the more expensive packages naturally bundle more features, overall the offering is not as rich as what can be found in alternatives.
These missing functionalities include a virtual keyboard to add additional protection against keylogging attempts, a file shredder, a built-in VPN, and tools for encrypting files and directories. For many users, the lack of these will not be a deal-breaker. But those looking to take their security to the next level may prefer to opt for another provider that includes these tools.
Norton Antivirus Firewall Protection
Norton includes a two way firewall with all its packages except Antivirus Basic.
The Norton firewall features in-depth controls for setting specific traffic rules in addition to implementing basic configurations such as blocking all inbound network traffic.
Rating for Norton Firewall: 8/10
How Easy is Norton Antivirus to Setup
Installing Norton is quick and easy. The latest version of the software offers some impressive backwards compatibility, retaining support for 32 bit machines and capable of operating on systems running Windows Vista. The download to install the software is small and the process is finished in no time.
Rating for Setup: 9/10
Norton Antivirus User Interface
Norton features a clean and easy user interface that is well organized and makes using the program a breeze.
Many basic components of the UI haven’t changed since the ‘old days’. A familiar red x still alerts users when action is required on the main Windows app. However some platforms, such as Android, have had a makeover in recent years, making it significantly more minimalist and sleek that the desktop version. For stability and ease of use, this is one area that Norton doesn’t let down in.
Rating for User Interface: 9/10
Norton Antivirus Support
24/7 technical support is available for all Norton products except the entry-level Norton Antivirus Basic, which only includes support for activation, billing, and subscription related questions.
Those users enjoying full support have access to a comprehensive knowledge-base in addition to the option to contact representatives via both live chat and telephone.
Rating for support: 8/10
To Choose or Not To Choose Norton Antivirus
Norton is still a popular and reliable antivirus provider and justifiably so. However, for those looking for best in class solutions rather than something that has remained reliable and consistent over the years, it has been overtaken by competitors that offer better pricing, richer features, and quicker system performance.
Overall Rating for Norton Antivirus: 8.5/10
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