Norton Security Deluxe gives you great malware protection with one of the smallest and simplest interfaces around. It’s not the fastest scanner in the world, or that impacts your computer the least, but you will find that it works hard in the background when you aren’t running a scan.
The downside is that it significantly affects a PC when a full scan is running. It also gives off numerous false flags on harmless software and doesn’t have enough features to match the price tag. One thing it lacks that it should have is parental controls, something found in nearly every mid-range antivirus product.
The Cost and What You Get For It
Norton Security Deluxe has a license cost of $80 and, for that, you protect up to five devices including computers and smartphones. This is at least an improvement on the three devices normally covered by this price tag. If you only have three devices some retailers sell a three-device version for $70. Please keep in mind is that we always have promotions going on. Check our coupon codes at our Norton products section.
You do get a different product on each different device though. The Mac version will encrypt your files, but won’t manage your passwords, while the Windows version manages passwords but doesn’t encrypt files. The Windows version doesn’t have support for the Edge browser either. The iOS app is woefully inadequate when compared to the Android one, though this review will focus on the Windows version.
If you have more than five devices then you should consider using the Norton Security Premium. This covers 10 devices for $90 and comes with parental controls, backup software, and 25GB of cloud storage. If you only have one device to protect then consider the $60 Norton Security Standard, which is just the same as the Deluxe Edition, only for one device.
While Norton do offer a complete money-back guarantee if it fails to remove all of the malware on your computer you do need to let their professionals take a look at it first. Which you may or may not be willing to do.
The malware protection with Norton Security Deluxe includes basic malware-signature matching along with behavioral analysis of unknown code, something Norton calls SONAR (short for Symantec Online Network Response).
The program also features the Community Watch, which collects data on threats from computers that run Norton or Symantec products and distributes updates on an hourly or daily basis. You can choose to opt out of Community Watch when you install your product.
Norton Security Deluxe enables some of the more advanced malware defences that aren’t in older versions of Windows. This includes the Structural Exception Handler Overwrite Prevention (SEHOP) and address space layout randomization (ASLR). It also prevents Java Security Manager from being disabled. You also have a choice between a full scan, a partial scan, or a custom scan where you decide the folders or files to scan.
The software also features a Power Eraser that removes malware hidden deep in your computer, a Facebook Wall scanner, Norton Insight that scans the reputation of files, and a Diagnostic Report that checks your system to find vulnerabilities.
You are able to schedule scans for any time but the option to do this is buried deep in the Custom Scans section. If you’re a traveller you’ll enjoy being able to scan only when your computer is plugged in. Norton Security will also protect you online by flagging suspicious email attachments and phishing scams as well as blocking malicious websites.
Norton also included browser toolbars to protect your web browsers including Internet Explorer, Chrome and Firefox. They can prevent key numbers or character sequences being transmitted to protect you. Unfortunately Norton lacks the ability of software like Bitdefender that protects keyholders from being attacked by encrypting the ransomware. It also doesn’t have the ability to back up files at risk from ransomware that you get with Trend Micro.
Norton performed well at tests by a German independent lab. It managed to detect all the malware it was exposed to, including brand new malware it was dealing with for the first time. Only Bitdefender and Trend Micro achieved the same perfect score.
Unfortunately if you use it with Windows 7 you’ll find it flags a lot of false positives. Though this isn’t a problem in later versions of Windows such as 8 and 8.1.
The firewall included in Norton Security Deluxe will automatically configure itself but you can change it manually. Other defences included in the package lack this customisability. For example you can’t adjust the auto-protection or the Intrusion Prevention.
The password manager for Norton is called Identity Safe and can be downloaded free of charge from the website, and is built in to all versions of Norton Security except for the Mac versions. When you set it up you’ll need to create a master password, and you can also use their built-in password generator. If you lose your master password you won’t be able to recover it, which is to protect against hackers getting in. Identity Safe will store an unlimited number of encrypted passwords in the Vault. If you purchase a premium subscription you can also store up to 25GB of files in this vault.
A downside is that Norton Security Deluxe lacks a number of features you’ll find in competing products. A major problem is the lack of parental controls, especially considering almost every other antivirus package at this level has them. There are also no unique features, such as the Webcam protection you get with Kapersky, or the ability Bitdefender Internet Security has to protect files by encrypting ransomware.
There is also a lack of a specialised browser for online shopping and banking, or even an on-screen keyboard, two features that you will find in cheaper packages from competing brands. Norton also puts the File Shredder in a separate utilities package that will set you back $50.
Norton Security Deluxe does at least have a performance section you can use to sort out your computer. You can defragment disks, clean up temp files, and a Startup Manager that can speed up the boot speed of your computer. You can also find graphs there, but they only tell you about the processor and shows nothing on the disk or network. It does, however, show historical downloads and installations, along with optimizations and several other key events.
If your system becomes so infected with malware that it stops working altogether Norton offers two free methods through their website to fix this.
The Power Eraser scan digs deep in the computer and gets rid of problems like adware. You do need to restart your system so it can check for rootkit malware. If you have no luck with the Power Eraser then the Bootable Recovery Tool is your next stop. This program works like a Rescue Disk that lets you fix Windows without loading it and running into the malware.
Impact on Performance
Norton Security Deluxe was tested using ASUS X555LA notebook running Windows 8.1 with 6GB of RAM and 36GB of files on a 500GB hard drive.
When the program is installed, but not running any scans, then OpenOffice can match 20,000 names and addresses on a spreadsheet in 6 minutes and 50 seconds, which is two seconds slower than it would take with no antivirus installed. This is a pretty good score that ESET Smart Security, McAfee Internet Security, and Trend Micro Internet Security also achieved.
The first scan run by Norton Security Deluxe took 39 minutes 36 seconds to perform, including indexing system. The time to do a full system scan dropped to 16:29 by the time the third scan was run, during which Norton went from scanning 371, 306 files to 281,236 items. This is about three minutes less than a scan by McAfee or Kapersky would take, and over an hour less than it would take for Bitdefender to do a full scan, though the Bitdefender one doesn’t affect the computer much.
A quick scan by Norton Security took 7:26, and looked at 6,671 files. This is quicker than the 8:18 McAfee scored but very slow compared to the 44 second scan Trend Micro has and way more than that the 4 second scan of Bitdefender.
A full system scan also significantly affects your computer. The ASUS laptop took just under 11 minutes to do the OpenOffice test from before while Norton was running a full scan. This was over four minutes longer than the baseline. The only antivirus slower was McAfee, which took just under 12 and a half minutes.
There was nowhere near as much impact with a quick-scan and the test was finished in 7:21, only 8% slower than the baseline and on par with the 7:19 you’d get with Bitdefender. It’s also not something you’d notice unless you were really challenging your processor. Most other antivirus programs have a much bigger impact running quick-scans.
Setting up and Installing the Software
Instead of using a small beachhead installer the full 138mb program is downloaded from the Norton servers, which can speed up setting up the software.
You will need to create an account with Norton and decide if you want to take part in the Norton Community Watch program which automatically informs Norton about security threats on your computer. If you use a home broadband connection it takes about 12 and a half minutes to install everything.
A good thing is that Norton has stopped trying to get you to auto-renew when the license expires. Most screens on the program will show you how long you have left and will provide you with a link to renew if you feel like it.
The interface for Norton Security uses a yellow theme to match the branding of Norton. The main page is also colored depending on your threat level; green for safe and red for unsafe. You can’t open the main window as a full screen but you can for scans.
The bottom of the main window features boxes for Security, Identity, Performance, and More Norton. Each box tells you if it is protected or at risk. The default screen is the security one, which shows you the time of your last scan and when the library was last updated. You can run scans, access LiveUpdate, History, and open more advanced options. The advanced features let you choose which defences are employed.
The Identity section will send you to the Safe Web, Antiphishing and Identity Safe features, and give you the chance to install the toolbar for Internet Explorer. This screen is also where you find the Identity Safe, ID Settings, Statistics, and a Password Generator to allow Norton to generate passwords for you, though this isn’t linked to the Password Manager.
The Performance tab shows you when you last optimised and cleaned up your computer, and has options for defragmenting your hard drive, cleaning up files, and making your computer boot up faster. If you’re unsure about what a function does just hover over it with your mouse and get a handy help popup.
Norton Security Deluxe gives you great protection against the cyber-threats you face today and in the future at a good price. It can remove any threat thrown at it, but it is a little trigger happy and creates false positives and burdens the system during a full scan.
However it also lacks several features you will find in other products in this price range, such as a file shredder, a secure browser, and parental controls. You can pay an extra $10 for the Norton Security Premium package to give you parental controls, along with backup software and online storage. These two features have almost nothing to do with protecting your computer, hence the cost.
Norton Security Deluxe is a great choice for people who want to protect up to five devices in a simple way. But if you want a little more then you’re going to have to find another piece of software that delivers it.