PROS / This spyware removal software has every detection and removal tool we look for.
CONS / You can only protect a single computer with the program. If you own more than one, you'll have to buy individual licenses for each one of them.
VERDICT / Norton Security ranks in the top tier of our review because of its full feature set, excellent protection and performance. There should be no buyer's remorse when you purchase this product.
Editor’s Note: Top Ten Reviews uses test results from the independent laboratory AV-Test as part of our review process for the best antispyware software. AV-Test looks specifically at protection, performance and usability on multiple versions of Windows operating systems, and it performs these evaluations several times throughout the year. We use the most current AV-Test scores available at the time of our review. It is possible that new AV-Test scores will be released after our review goes live on the site. We will consider these scores during our next review of the best antispyware software.
Norton is one of the biggest names in the antispyware industry. As such, it's not a surprise that its spyware removal software earned one of the top spots on our side-by-side comparison chart. It scored nearly perfectly on the AV-Tests we consider when we evaluate this category. It also has every single detection and removal we look for in the best antispyware software, and it's one of only two products on our lineup to offer weekend phone support. For these reasons and more, Norton Security claimed the Top Ten Review Silver Award for antispyware software.
AV-Test is an independent institute that tests all the spyware removers on our lineup several times a year. At the time of this writing, Norton Security had some of the highest scores we encountered during our research. It scored 100 percent on both the protection and performance tests, which means that it can protect you from all known threats to your computer and yield no false positives. Both of these perfect scores are well above the average for the antispyware software we reviewed.
The performance test is the other AV-Test result we considered when we rated and ranked the best spyware removers. While Norton Security didn't score perfectly in this area, it put up 92 percent – which is about 10 percent above the average score on our lineup. This means it uses your computer's resources rather well. A lower score would mean it causes significant lag in your other activities, such as gaming, downloading and streaming content. If you do happen to experience lag, it will be hardly noticeable.
Detection & Removal
One disappointing thing about this spyware remover is that it only protects a single computer. In a time when many people own more than one computer, buying individual antispyware programs for each one can get expensive fast. Both of the other award winners in this category allow you to install them on up to three computers.
This spyware removal program protects you from far more than just spyware. It's a full-bodied anti-malware solution that can detect and remove all kinds of threats, including data-destroying viruses, rootkits, keyloggers and worms. But maybe the most important protection it has is against ransomware. This is a nasty type of hack attack where your computer is digitally seized, locking you out until you pay the hackers money. Aside from the terrifying aspect of something like this, it opens you up to all sorts of other threats, like stolen data and the extreme risk of identity theft.
Not only does this program scan for and clean your computer of spyware, it also stands guard against it even getting on your computer in the first place. It scans every USB device, like a flash or hard drive, immediately after it's connected to make sure it isn't infected with spyware. Stopping the enemy at the gate is extremely important, so the program also scans every email for threats before they're downloaded onto your computer.
The program's gamer mode allows you to put all antispyware pop-ups and notifications into the background when you go into full-screen mode. Whether it be for gaming, watching a movie or using another application, you can know you won't be disturbed without sacrificing the protection this software gives you.
The last two tools we look for in the best spyware removal software are virtual browsers and rescue CDs. A virtual browser allows you to surf the web and shop without worrying about your personal information like Social Security, credit card and bank account numbers from falling into nefarious hands. A rescue CD is an emergency measure to bring your computer back to life in the event of a catastrophic malware infection or hack attack. Kaspersky has both these features, and they work rather well. If you're new to antivirus software, it may take you a minute or two to find them and figure out how they work. But after that, you'll be glad you have them, because these two features combined can save you a lot of time and hassle by both protecting your information and restoring your computer if it becomes damaged.
Help & Support
Norton Security is one of only two spyware removal applications we reviewed that have every customer and technical support option we look for. If you have a problem with the software or a customer support issue, you can call Norton 24/7. Most of the other programs we reviewed only have phone service on weekdays, and some only offer it during specific hours of the day.
If you don't want to talk on the phone, you can always log in to Norton's website and access its private live chat rooms where you can connect to a customer service representative almost immediately. They should be able to resolve most problems, and if they can't, they open a support ticket in your name for follow-up. We found Norton's customer service staff to be courteous, informed and helpful.
There's a lot to like about Norton Security. It protects your computer from every known spyware and malware threat – even ransomware. It scans every device and email that tries to access your system to keep the chances of infection as low as possible. The only thing it doesn't have is the option for you to use it on more than one computer, which would save customers who own multiple computers money.