Pros / Norton detects and removes viruses without slowing down your computer.
Cons / It tends to tag legitimate sites as possible internet threats.
Verdict / Norton AntiVirus consistently ranks high for its malware detection and blocking abilities, and its additional tools and features make it an all-around powerful internet security program.
Norton AntiVirus produced terrific results on Windows 10 antivirus performance tests run by third-party labs as well as in our own in-house evaluations. As testers visited websites, played games, watched online videos and downloaded software, Norton didn’t cause any significant delay on either our test computers or the home computers we used, which is a big advantage over many other virus protection programs. These are only a couple of the reasons Norton is one of the best antivirus software options and our Top Ten Reviews Silver Award winner.
- Detection & Removal Score
- Loss of Computer Resource Score
- False Positives Score
- Number of Licenses
Norton was tested by independent laboratories AV-Test and AV-Comparatives and found by both to be one of the best at detecting and blocking malware, including both known threats and new threats, also called zero-day threats. Norton AntiVirus recognizes behaviors from past malware and uses it to quickly identify new threats and block them before they can embed themselves in your computer system.
During our testing, we found that the program can detect threats beyond viruses – it also detected, blocked and removed threats like keyloggers and tracking cookies. We also noticed that as we browsed the internet, watched videos online, attached documents and images to email messages, and played games online that there wasn’t any significant lag, at least not enough to really interrupt what we were doing.
Norton AntiVirus didn’t do as well in tests used to evaluate its false positive ratio. Independent tests showed that 5 percent of legitimate files and sites were tagged as being viruses and then blocked. This isn’t the worst showing for false positives, but it is more than the average virus scan software, and it can become a problem if the program blocks or deletes an important file you need to access because it thinks it is malware. You can adjust the settings in the program and not include those files when Norton scans the rest of your computer.
Scanning & Detection
Norton AntiVirus is an easy program to install and use. The dashboard is clean and well organized, so it’s easy to find and select the task you need to perform, the reports you need to read and the quarantine file you need to empty. When you first open Norton Antivirus, the words and icons are green if everything is okay with your system or red if there is a security threat you need to take care of. When you open the program for the first time, Norton gives you a quick tour so you know where each function is and how to use it.
This virus protection program scans incoming emails and instant messages for threats, and those it identifies go into a quarantine area for observation until Notion is sure that they are malware. It also detects whenever you access removable storage, such as a USB drive, in case a virus attempts to sneak through into your system.
In addition to safeguarding your system against viruses, Norton AntiVirus protects you from unsafe websites known to phish for personal information. Phishing schemes look like legitimate requests from friendly sources such as banks, cable companies or internet service providers. However, once you enter your name, address or bank account information, hackers use it to access you accounts or steal your identity. Norton quickly identifies phishing and blocks the request from popping up on your screen or being sent as an email message.
Another one of Norton AntiVirus’ great features is its gamer, or silent, mode. You have to enable this tool yourself, but once turned on, the software suspends scheduled scans, including quick and vulnerability scans, while you play games or watch videos online. This keeps notifications from interrupting your activities and cuts down on any lag the antivirus software may create on your computer as it performs scans so all your computer resources are used for what you’re doing.
No antivirus software can stop every threat. Norton lets you create a bootable rescue CD or USB file in case your PC is infected. This way, you can boot up your computer and Norton will power through any malware to get you to your home screen. It then performs a virus scan using the most recent malware definitions available to take care of the threat and restore your computer.
Norton AntiVirus is a basic antivirus program, and it comes with one license to protect your computer or laptop, or you can use the license to protect a mobile device instead. However, the primary reason most people purchase antivirus software is to protect their home computers, and you must purchase additional licenses to protect both your computer and a mobile device at the same time. Some of Norton’s more inclusive internet security programs come with more than one license and mobile protection.
Privacy & Protection
We ranked Norton AntiVirus as one of the best antivirus programs because it includes several additional tools that go beyond virus protection. One important feature is its password manager. This tool stores your usernames and passwords for all your online accounts, including those for online banks, email and social media, safe in the antivirus program. You log into these accounts through Norton AntiVirus, so if a hacker tries to swipe your password, they will grab the manager tool’s password, which is useless to them.
Norton AntiVirus doesn’t include parental controls. However, you can purchase a higher-tiered internet security program that has both parental controls and virus protection, or you can purchase Norton’s parental control software as a stand-alone program.
Norton lets you manage all your devices and security subscriptions from a single online account, and you can use the dashboard to add new devices or move protection from one device to another. The Norton AntiVirus subscription includes 24/7 customer support by telephone or online chat. Though we connected with support personnel quickly, both via chat and telephone, representatives didn’t directly answer some of our questions and often requested personal information before answering questions, if we got that far.
Norton AntiVirus guards against phishing and both known and newly discovered malware, and it includes a gaming mode and rescue CD. The program scored high for detection and removal and didn’t create enough lag in computer performance to interrupt common functions such as web browsing, game playing or online movie watching.