Norton Security Review

Norton Security does an outstanding job protecting against malware and phishing threats, thanks to its comprehensive malware database and advanced heuristics detection of threats; in real world protection tests conducted by AV-Comparatives it scored 9 false positives!

I particularly admire its intuitive, user-friendly UI and central dashboard that enable control of settings and features such as Privacy Cleaner. Furthermore, its recently relaunched online safety tool, Smart Talk focuses on inclusivity to reach more families.

Virus Protection

Norton antivirus programs are designed to safeguard your computer from viruses and malware, using AI and machine learning technology. Their algorithms monitor all forms of online threats as well as your hardware; any issues are sent for analysis on Norton servers for assessment; this allows them to identify and remove over 99% of known viruses upon initial scan.

Antivirus software provides a user-friendly experience. You can access your security status and settings via an aspirational-looking home screen that provides an instantaneous snapshot of what’s going on with your device and the internet, with more comprehensive information revealed by tapping a cog icon at the top-right corner.

Norton Security Suite boasts many extra features in addition to virus protection. For example, its suite comes equipped with password manager, VPN access, automated cloud backups and Dark Web monitoring – however these might take a hit during scans on PCs with modest hardware specs.

Norton stands apart from traditional antivirus programs in that it will actually halt your computer if it detects an infection within memory or the boot sector. This feature can come in handy should any viruses slip past their definitions and into partition tables or CMOS settings of your system disk; then rebooting can restore all files from it using rescue disks.

Norton did an outstanding job in AV-Test’s zero-day malware and attack tests, catching all samples for prevalent and widespread malware while nearly identifying all zero-day attacks (those not yet in an AV database). Furthermore, it performed very well in file detection tests – scanning over 1.4 million files within its test period and correctly identifying almost all.

Norton 360 Deluxe is one of the leading all-in-one security plans, with strong anti-malware and virus protection, an effective firewall, password manager, 2 GB cloud storage space, mobile security features that include malware/app protection for Androids/iOS devices as well as browser and identity protection to keep all online activities protected.

Malware Protection

Norton’s malware protection utilizes both signature-based detection and behavior-based analysis. With an expansive malware database and advanced heuristics that quickly adapt to emerging threats, this suite detects and blocks both old and newer forms of malware such as ransomware, cryptojackers, rootkits, adware spyware Trojans. Furthermore, PUPs that download without user consent often cause annoying popup ads or slow PC performance can also be detected and removed automatically by Norton.

Norton Security features a password vault to safely store and backup passwords, antitracking protection, dark web monitoring capabilities, as well as alerts that notify you if any personal information (email addresses or personal data such as credit card numbers, bank accounts, home addresses or gamer tags) posted to dark marketplaces or the deep web.

Norton Security excelled in our testing, detecting every malware file we threw its way. Smart and quick scans completed within 40 seconds while CPU load never exceeded 25%. While its full system scan took 11 minutes longer to complete than any of the other antivirus solutions we reviewed.

The suite’s centralized dashboard is simple and easy to navigate, with all main features accessible from its home screen. While more aspirational images might add some flair, its functionality remains clear. Furthermore, its main interface displays your computer’s current CPU usage so you can more effectively track and manage its resources.

As with other Norton products, this suite contains additional tools, but most are simply duplications of existing Windows functions. For example, Norton Disk Optimizer works similarly to the defragmenter in Windows; and Norton Cleanup acts much like WinUtilities’ Delete Files function.

Norton recently joined forces with the National PTA to relaunch The Smart Talk tool, an initiative that helps families establish healthy tech limits together. This effort will reach more families from diverse backgrounds, beliefs and abilities than previous versions of this program; its new tool will be offered both in English and Spanish versions with a strong emphasis on inclusivity and accessibility.

Privacy Monitor

Norton Security has an outstanding selection of privacy features. One such feature, App Advisor, stands out as our favorite: it scans apps you are about to download as well as those already running on your device for potential privacy risks and battery usage information, helping conserve power usage. Similar services exist from Bitdefender App Anomaly Detection feature as well. However, with Norton we like that you can view the history and frequency of app downloads/runs over time compared to Bitdefender Anomaly Detection feature.

Norton Identity Protection, which alerts you if any of your personal information has been breached and posted online (available on select devices), is another great feature. You can purchase it separately or add it as part of a Norton 360 Deluxe plan, though its stand-in service DeleteMe offers similar features at a cheaper cost.

Norton provides the option of using its Norton Secure Browser, built on Chromium and designed to protect online privacy by blocking data collection and malware infections. We found it one of the least taxing programs when running in the background, having minimal effect on PCMark 10 scores.

Only thing we would change about this service would be providing stronger guarantees that personal information could be removed from people search websites and dark web. At present, opting out is no guarantee and may take months before results appear; additionally it would be prudent to rescan every three months, since data can easily reaggregated and posted back onto these sites.

Although Norton performed admirably overall, in AV-Comparative’s November 2023 Advanced Threat Protection Test it did not score as highly. Still, we strongly endorse and recommend Norton 360 Deluxe and 360 with LifeLock bundle plans; all come equipped with Privacy Monitor as an added feature that stands out.

Cloud Backup

Norton’s cloud backup may seem like an unusual feature of its feature set, but it serves a vital function. Ransomware attacks involve cybercriminals locking users out of their files through encryption and demanding payment for recovery; by backing up critical documents to the cloud you can recover them at will without paying the criminals’ ransom demand. It also protects from accidental deletion which occurs on any computer system.

Backing up files with Norton is simple; all it requires is selecting which folders or file types you’d like backed up and whether to automatically back certain file types like photos and videos. Backups are encrypted during transmission and storage to protect against theft or loss, and retention of previous versions lasts 90 days for easy rollback should anything go amiss. Unfortunately, Norton does not include image-based backup or block-level backup options which are standard among leading cloud backup services.

Restoring files is just as effortless, allowing you to choose whether all or part of your backed-up data should be restored. Files can either be restored back into their original location on your computer or to an “restored folder,” although we wish there were an advanced restore tool which allowed us to choose specific dates and times when we restore files – something this service does not currently offer.

Norton Security also contains a few other tools, including the capability of monitoring YouTube and Hulu usage and an optimization feature to optimize disk drives on PCs, but most are simply redundant with existing Windows functions and don’t add anything unique. Furthermore, PC optimization features often involve heavy disk scans which may reduce system performance by as much as 10 percent during a full scan and 6 percent when your computer is idle.

The program also features numerous customer support options, including live chat and a 24/7 helpline. There’s also a community forum and extensive knowledge base with search bar and library of articles covering multiple topics.

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