Norton Antivirus has one of the most recognised name in antivirus software for many years now. Much like McAfee, Norton is typically pre-installed on new computers and laptops. Most people are exposed to Norton for the first time when they turn on their brand new computer and set it up. Norton was once considered to be very intrusive and resource intensive, causing many users to simply uninstall it as soon as they could or after the end of the trial period. Antivirus software has improved quite a lot across the past 10 years, and Norton is a clear example of how things have progressed. The modern antivirus software doesn’t hamper computer resources anymore, nor do they constantly bother you with endless popups. I tested the latest basic Norton Security package to see how the software is performing in 2017. This basic package covers one device (PC, Mac, or mobile) for a year at the cost of $69.99. At the time of writing it was on sale and offered for $29.99. This is a mid-range package offering protection against viruses, malware, and identify theft.
Design and Features
Norton puts all of their useful features into a simple and attractively designed interface. There is a row to the bottom of the app that you can use to navigate around the program, which uses a simple traffic light system to let you know the status of your computer. If everything is green then it means everything is running smoothly. Check a setting by looking at the icon, and adjust anything by clicking on the icon to load up the settings screen.
The advanced settings menu in the program has the “classic” look you would expect from a Norton program, with yellow and grey icons. Clicking on an icon brings up some simple choices for the setting to turn things on and off. You can control things such as the firewall by just turning them on or off as you choose. How deep you want to make changes and adjust the minor details of each program depends entirely on you.
There is plenty of room to adjust settings to ensure that Norton works just how you expect and want it to. There is also a Power Eraser feature built into Norton that can find those hidden malware programs that could be missed by the typical scan. This feature burrows deep to find any potential threat.
Norton still has a few pop ups here and there, but they won’t take over your computer until you acknowledge them which can happen with some other apps, especially antivirus apps. I found myself panicking a little when I received a warning from Norton about the Petyya ransomware attack, which is one of the nastiest pieces of malware that’s been over the news lately. Fortunately it turned out that the notification was just to alert me to the fact that Norton had already taken my computer and protected it against the Petya malware. It was good for the program to let me know that I had nothing to worry about, but it would have been nice to not have that brief heart attack when the message first popped up!
Norton has a lot of tools to protect your PC and keep it safe. Of course there’s the usual scans for viruses and malware, which you can run whenever you want or schedule to happen at a set time. Norton also keeps records of all of your scans and updates, keeping everything in a list within the app that you can search through. There’s a good chance you’ll never feel the need to look through your past antivirus searches, but it could come in handy during an advanced situation where you need to track down particular problems and see when they first popped up.
Norton also comes with a range of tools designed to help you keep your identity safe from fraud and theft. Much like McAfee, Norton comes with password manager tools to make it easier and safer for you to keep track of – and protect – your passwords. You can download this little piece of software for free directly from the Norton website, so you don’t even need to a copy of Norton Antivirus to use it for yourself. Given how the internet works, with almost every new site that opens up needing you to sign in, password managers offer a great way to stop yourself from being complacent and repeating passwords that are simple and easy to guess. If someone breaks into one of your accounts, there’s no telling how many other accounts they could get into.
As well as all of this, there’s an icon that opens up the Norton site in order to generate a random password if you don’t want to bother trying to come up with your own. These randomly generated passwords are practically impossible to guess, and make for great protection to keeping your accounts safe from a brute-force attack. It takes just a few seconds to load up your browser, but I think it would have been great if this password generator had been built directly into the software like the password manager was. Perhaps the two tools could have been combined so that the vault would both create and save a password for you with one button.
Speaking of browsers, Norton Antivirus also offers browser extensions for all of the more popular browsers except for Opera. This extension gives you a small bar beneath the address bar that gives you information about the website you’re on, including if the website is safe. The really odd thing is that it also allows you to share this information with Facebook, which seems pointless. The extension also puts a “Norton OK” icon next to safe links to let you know that you’re headed to safe shores. Both this bar and the OK icon are eye-sores though, and the bar itself will take a few seconds to load up.
There are three pricing tiers when it comes to Norton Security. You can buy the Standard, Deluxe, or Premium edition. The main difference between the three packages is the number of devices you can install the software on – 1, 5, and 10 respectively. There are some additional perks but they aren’t that notable outside of the additional 25GB of cloud storage you get with the premium edition, which is great if you are looking to protect several devices anyway. Outside of this it’s hard to argue that the bigger packages are worth the bigger price tags. The 2 year packages from Norton cost more than getting a license for 1 year because the 1-year packages come at an introductory cost:
Norton Antivirus is clean, simple to use, and very powerful. It offers a great way to keep your PC and mobile devices protected against viruses and malware. While it can take a while for the initial scan to complete, and I got spooked by the self-congratulatory popup about Petya, I found that Norton generally did what it was supposed to pretty quickly without much of a fuss. It’s a great choice for just $29.99.