Norton Security Review
- 24/7 Protection- real-time scanning
- Protection against: malware, adware, spyware and Phishing scams
- Local firewall protection
$32.99 per year per device
$44.99 per year for five device
$59.99 per year for ten device
Norton, aka Norton by Symantec, is without a doubt one of the most widely known and used antivirus and security software distributors. It’s a division of Symantec and serves the world out of Mountain View, California. The Symantec Corporation acquired Norton back in 1990, and since then Norton has offered a wide range of digital security-related products and services. In 2014, Symantec announced it would split its business into a unit focused on security and another one focused on information management. Norton has been part of the Symantec unit focused on security ever since.
Norton released its first product, Norton AntiVirus 1.0 for PC and compatible computers, back in 1991. Norton’s line of products, including its AntiVirus software, has been updated and diversified frequently over the years, and is nowadays combined in a product suite known as Norton Security.
Norton Security offers a range of options, including its patented SONAR protection that comes on top of the real-time auto-protection feature. SONAR (Symantec Online Network for Advanced Response) proactively detects unknown security risks on your computer in real time, based on the behavior of applications. Other features include a Smart firewall that detects and blocks online threats and risks, Intrusion Prevention (blocking internet attacks aimed at taking advantage of vulnerable programs) and Download Intelligence, which helps you decide whether or not downloads are safe to install with the goal to protect against malware.
Norton has been a reputable player on the security software market for a long time and has won several awards over the years, including the 2018 PC Mag Editors’ Choice Award for cross-platform multi-device security with its Premium version of Norton Security. An award that proves Norton is as strong as ever and continues to be a major player on the market.
During our research on antivirus software, we’ve identified five key criteria for you to consider when choosing an antivirus software: 1. Threat Protection 2. Resource consumption 3. 24/7 protection/real-time scanning 4. Extra must-have features 5. Platforms/Devices accessibility. Our reviews will examine each antivirus software in accordance with how well it delivers on these five criteria.
How Norton Security meets the 5 criteria?
1. Threat Protection
Boot Time Protection
Boot Time Protection increases security when starting your computer. A boot-time scan is a virus scan that runs before the operating system fully loads. This allows Norton to scan files before they are used by another program or the operating system.
Real-Time Protection is the name for a bundle of options that control the scanning and monitoring of your computer. You can use these options to determine what is being scanned and the purpose of a specific scan. You can also choose what will be the course of action when you encounter a security risk or risk-like activity.
Real-Time Protection provides ongoing protection for your computer by checking for viruses and other security risks.
Symantec Online Network for Advanced Response (SONAR) is Norton Security’s most unique feature, providing real-time protection against threats and proactively detecting unknown security risks on your computer by monitoring the behavior of applications and identifying emerging threats. SONAR Advanced Mode settings assist with the removal of a potential threat.
Spyware finds its way onto your computer without your permission. It runs in the background, collecting information or monitoring your activities. It usually also affects the performance of your computer, so good reason to make sure your computer is free from spyware. Norton Security includes the tools to detect, block and/or remove spyware.
Phishing Websites Protection
Norton Security is an all-in-one security solution that protects you against all kinds of threats, including phishing attacks that try to persuade you to share personal info, passwords, bank info, et cetera. Norton Security protects you from this type of attack by blocking phishing content, both emails and websites.
Adware’s goal is to display advertising content on your computer, usually in the form of pop-up windows with flash ads offering links to other sites. Although commonly regarded as relatively harmless, Norton Security constantly scans your system to keep it adware free.
Network Drive Protection (NDP)
The Network Drive Protection feature scans all the network drives connected to your computer. The scan is automatically scheduled as part of a Full System Scan and/or a Custom Scan. The Network Drive Protection is active by default; turning it off means the network drives will not be scanned.
Early Launch Anti-Malware Protection (Windows 8 or higher only)
The Early Launch Anti-Malware Protection feature provides an enhanced security level during the boot time, directly after starting your computer, offering better protection by running all the necessary Norton Security components required to block any malware from functioning during boot time.
The Auto-Protect option is working in the background all the time, constantly scanning for viruses and other threats.
2. Resource Consumption
Norton Security comes with a feature to make sure your computer keeps running smoothly without any performance issues. The so-called Background Task feature postpones certain tasks and only performs them when you are not using your computer or when the computer is running on external power. This extends the battery life and improves the performance of your computer. The Power Saving Mode is on by default and makes sure no background tasks are performed while the computer runs on battery power. As soon as the computer runs on external power again, the suspended background processes will resume.
Norton Security also checks the system resource usage of other programs and notifies you when a program uses more than the configured profile threshold.
Norton Security offers several tools to improve your computer’s performance: a Disk Optimizer, a File Cleanup tool, and a Startup Manager. Not what you would call groundbreaking, but definitely comfortable to have at hand and easy to use.
In general, Norton doesn’t use a lot of the available CPU power.
3. 24/7 Real-time Scanning
Norton Security’s Auto-Protect feature is constantly scanning your computer, working in the background. It is complemented by the SONAR Protection feature that provides real-time protection against threats and proactively detects unknown security risks, and the Download Intelligence feature that protects you from unsafe files that you download from your browser. Turning off Auto-Protect automatically turns off the other two options as well, which is not a good idea if you value real-time scanning (which you really should).
4. Extra Protection Features
Removable Media Scan
Removable Media Scan checks for viruses upon insertion of any type of removable media. This scan only takes a few seconds to complete.
Smart Firewall monitors network activities between other computers and yours and blocks unauthorized traffic.
Certain viruses and malware are designed to look for vulnerabilities in the operating system or in programs you installed. The Intrusion Prevention functionality scans network traffic to detect and neutralize this kind of attacks.
Threats sent to you in the shape of an email attachment will be blocked by the Email Protection feature. Norton Security automatically configures your email so it is protected against viruses and other security threats
Malware attempting to exploit vulnerabilities in your web browser is blocked by the Browser Protection feature. This option also safeguards your personal info and prevents anyone from accessing your system.
This feature protects you from downloading harmful files. It tells you if it is safe to open/ install a file.
Norton Product Tamper Protection
This feature enables you to password-protect your Norton Security product settings so that it is safe from an attack or unauthorized access. It does mean you can only view or change the settings by entering the password.
Norton Power Eraser
Not actually part of the Norton Security pack, but available as a separate download, the Power Eraser is a free virus removal tool that can be downloaded and run to remove malware and threats from your computer. It actually works as a stand-alone tool – you can use it even if you don’t use Norton Security.
Norton Identity Safe
You want your sensitive information (address, login information, passwords, and credit card details) to be safe at all times. Norton Identity Safe offers multi-layered protection for your personal data by encrypting and storing it a cloud-based vault. To access Norton Identity Safe, you must first use your Norton account credential that is associated with your Norton Internet Security.
Connecting to a public WiFi connection involves a risk. Norton WiFi Privacy encrypts the data you send and receive when using public WiFi. You can mask your online activities and location with Norton’s no-log VPN that encrypts your personal information and doesn’t track or store your online activities or location. With Norton WiFi Privacy you can pay bills, check your mail and interact on social media channels wherever you are, without having to wonder if your WiFi connection is safe or not.
Norton Family is Norton’s answer to the much-debated issue of how to make sure children can safely enjoy the internet. It monitors and manages the online activities of children up to the age of 16.
Norton 100% guarantee
All Norton Security packages come with Norton 100% guarantee – Norton’s quality assurance stamp. If you run into any problems during your subscription, Norton experts will work with you to diagnose and remove viruses. It could even result in a refund, in case Symantec is unable to remove a virus from your device.
5. Platforms/Devices Accessibility
Norton Security is a so-called multi-device cross-platform solution: it secures any device, regardless of the platform or operating system. Depending on the package you purchase, Norton Security offers the option to protect from one (Standard package) up to ten devices (Premium package). The Premium option, to give you an example, is good for protecting a family of five: everyone’s smartphone, the Android tablet, the iPad, the desktop computer, the laptop and the MacBook Pro.
Norton has extensive experience in developing security software, and they use that experience in a very sensible way. Their current Security suites are very easy to use and surprisingly simple in setup. There’s a reason for this: most users don’t go into the settings and the advanced sections, they merely use the sections displayed on the main page. All the advanced sections have default settings that are sensible for most users anyway, the same goes for the settings page. There are plenty of variables to change there, but if you don’t know what they do, then it doesn’t really make sense to start making changes. Most users will love the setup of the Norton Security packages.
Norton Security Standard
$32.99 / Year
- Protects 1 PC, 1 Mac or 1 mobile device
- Defends against viruses, spyware, malware and other online threats
- Safeguards your personal info and online transactions
- Includes Norton’s 100% guarantee
Norton Security Deluxe
$44.99 / Year
- Secures multiple PCs, Macs, smartphones, and tablets
- Helps you manage protection for up to 5 devices
- Safeguards your personal info and online transactions
- Includes Norton’s 100% guarantee
Norton Security Premium
$59.99 / Year
- Includes 25 GB of secure online PC storage
- Provides premium family safety features
- Secures up to 10 PCs, Macs, smartphones and tablets
- Includes Norton’s 100% guarantee
Support and Customer Service
When you’re in need of assistance, you go to the Help center in the Norton Security tool. The Help Center in turn links to the website – the Support section on the website is extensive and covers a lot of ground. There is a large FAQ section, and every FAQ offers a list of related FAQs so people can find specific subject relatively easy. There are video tutorials that show in detail how Norton products work. The Norton Community is also a valuable source of info with its forum, its announcement blog, the ‘Connect to Norton’ section that shows the Norton Support social media accounts. It’s understandable that Norton, like most other companies, wants to try and fix issues with canned responses as much as possible as to not overload the physical Support team on duty. But it can be annoying looking for a way to get in touch with a Support representative. You think it is easy at Norton, but both a chat request and a phone request require you to fill out a form in order for them to get back to you, which seems overly complicated.