PROS / Norton Internet Security resurrects unbootable computers that seem infected to death.
CONS / This firewall does not receive the highest scores from independent test labs.
VERDICT / Norton Internet Security is a respectable security suite with an average firewall.
Editor's note: Norton Security Deluxe is now available. Clicking the Buy button will take you to this version for purchase. We will evaluate, rank and review Security Deluxe when we next update the Personal Firewall Software reviews. Meanwhile, enjoy our review below about Norton Internet Security.
Norton Internet Security from Symantec Corporation (Mountain View, California) has the same features as Norton 360 minus the backup, restore and PC tune-up capabilities. Norton 360 includes 2GB of online storage, something that is not included in Norton Internet Security. Norton Internet Security is a suite of security modules built around two-way firewall software.
We used Nscan Security Scanner to attempt to uncover any anomalies between vendor claims and actual product performance and we were able to confirm that the firewall works at basic and intermediate levels. The firewall blocks and filters ports, scans for threats and hides IP addresses. Other tests that employ advanced hacker techniques have detected a few esoteric vulnerabilities in the Norton firewall (fewer than BitDefender but more than Outpost). The protection offered by a firewall alone only goes so far. The firewall is one component of a comprehensive security solution and Norton Internet Security is more than a firewall.
Additional Security Features
At the core level of protection, Norton Internet Security goes beyond firewall protection to block bots, rootkits, spyware, Trojan horses, viruses and worms. Every five-to-fifteen minutes, the product refreshes itself with signatures of the latest threats. The threats are gleaned via the Symantec Global Intelligence Network, which is Symantec’s initiative to collect and analyze threats in real time from computers whose owners have volunteered to be part of the threat-detection network. The product authenticates websites that can be trusted and it blocks websites that attempt phishing expeditions.
At the advanced level, Norton Internet Security filters spam and includes parental controls. It is aware of the network environments in which it finds itself. The product can monitor and provide security on the network. It automatically secures a computer detected to have joined a public wireless network. The product also scans instant messages for malware.
In addition to defensive security tactics, Norton Internet Security can also go on the offensive. If a computer is already so badly infected that it will not boot, the Norton Bootable Recovery Tool repairs and resurrects the infected computer.
Ease of Use
It is apparent that Symantec has given a great deal of thought to designing the product to be easy to use. In order to protect without being disruptive to users, Norton Internet Security is sensitive to the modes and states of the computers where it is installed. For example it scans when the PC is idle and suspends alerts and updates if the user is watching a film or playing a game in full-screen mode. It will not update itself if the user is watching TV on the computer or burning a disk. And if the computer is operating on battery power, Norton Internet Security will suspend activities that devour power until the computer is connected to a power source. Another ease-of-use feature is that during the process of uninstalling Norton Internet Security, the user can select whether to completely remove the program or retain preferences, passwords and settings to be picked up by the next installation.
Help & Support
Symantec updates the Norton Internet Security software with new product features and protection updates when they become available during the subscription period. In order to prevent interruption of service, there is an option to renew the yearly subscription automatically.
Symantec provides a good online knowledge base, educational videos and 24/7 support via chat, email or telephone. Symantec also hosts an interactive user forum and makes appropriate use of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in support of the customer base.
Ever since Peter Norton founded Peter Norton Computing in 1982, Norton products have assisted PC users to solve various problems. With the power of Symantec behind the Norton brand, Norton firewalls and security suites enjoy a good share of the market. Although Windows Vista, 7 and 8 include two-way firewalls, Microsoft never intended the firewall to be the only means of protection. Norton Internet Security has the additional security features to defend against spam, malware and phishing. It protects in network and Wi-Fi environments and monitors instant messages for threats. Norton and Windows have evolved in tandem with one of the product results being Norton Internet Security.