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Norton Security with Backup Review

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PROS / One Norton Security with Backup license protects up to five devices – any combination of PCs, Macs, Android smartphones and tablets, and iPhones and iPads.

CONS / In an independent test, Norton did not achieve above-average detection rates for Mac malware.

 VERDICT / Norton Security has advanced security features for more devices than any competitor. Its Mac malware detection rate, however, is lower than the best competitors.

Norton Security with Backup consolidates nine previous security software products into one, which is why it is more than basic Mac virus protection. While its competitors continue with complicated product lines with slight differentiation, Norton Security with Backup combines many security software products into one. One license protects up to five devices, including Macs.

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In September 2014, AV-Test checked detection rates and impact on host computers for 18 Mac internet security products. One test examined how effective Norton was at discovering 117 Mac malware samples during scanning routines. Another test measured how well Norton’s background mode noticed the copying of 84 infected files from one folder to another. While the total combined score for Mac malware detection was 54.7 percent, some of Norton’s competitors demonstrated 100 percent detection rates.

  1. Test results from AV-Test, August 2014
    Higher is Better
  2. 9 Norton Security with Backup
  3. 98.3%
  4. 100%
  5. 99.1%
  6. Category Average

The test to observe effect on host Mac system performance started with timing how long it took to copy 7.3GB of data on a computer without Mac security software. It took 17.2 seconds. Then after installing Norton and copying the same 7.3GB of files, the lab found that Norton took only 17.8 seconds. Unfortunately it failed to detect about half of the Mac malware samples. It did not slow down the Mac that it was installed on to any noticeable degree, but it failed to achieve excellent Mac malware detection rates. Norton Security is not just for Mac malware, however – it also does Windows.

What does it matter if internet security for Mac also intercepts Windows malware? Well, you don’t want to infect friends and associates who use Windows machines. Norton excels at detecting Windows malware. When AV-Test ran Norton through Windows tests along with two dozen competitors a few months prior to the Mac malware tests in 2014, Norton excelled on the Windows 8.1 platform. In fact, during website visits and software downloads, Norton took only a second longer than the industry average, a small price to pay for excellent scores in protection and usability tests. Norton’s Windows competitors that produced faster performances could not match Norton’s scores in tests against Windows malware.

Even the best internet security for Macs sometimes allows a threat, which is why Norton includes a 100 percent virus protection guarantee. Most Mac security publishers charge for malware removal, but not Norton. It will refund the purchase price if it fails to remove infections.

This software also maintains privacy and protects from phishing attempts. You can manage all devices under protection from an online account where you can add new devices or move protections to different devices. The subscription includes 24/7 customer support.


Norton Security with Backup protects as many as five devices, including Macs. With one license you can manage them all from an online account. This Mac software bundle protects against malware as well as phishing. But its detection of Mac malware is not as good as its performance against Windows malware. It has so many useful features and the support features are excellent, however because of its middling malware detection rates, Norton isn't the best internet security for Mac.

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