Pros / This Mac security program comes with more features and tools than the other software we tested.
Cons / Norton struggled a bit recognizing Windows threats on our Mac computer.
Verdict / Norton Security Standard goes beyond antivirus protection to give you the best tools to keep you and your family safe online. Plus it’s compatible with many devices and operating systems.
Norton Security Standard is compatible with both Mac and Windows computers and laptops, and it works on iOS and Android cellphones and tablets. The same tools and features work on all your devices, including the parental controls, which makes this Mac security program a good solution for families with multiple devices. The only negative is you must purchase a license for each device Norton Standard is downloaded to, and it costs about 53 percent more than most Mac internet security software.
During our in-house tests, Norton did a great job protecting our Mac computer from malware. It detected every threat from our malware test folder as each file was opened and before the threat could fully download onto our computer. Most of these were immediately deleted, so we didn’t have to worry about them. A handful of Trojans were placed in the Norton quarantine folder so we could check them out before allowing Norton Standard to securely and permanently delete them. Norton did have some trouble recognizing Windows threats on our Mac computer, though.
Before testing Windows threats, we enabled the safe browser feature since this is needed to detect threats coming in through the internet, and this is where we attempted to download and access threats. We needed to add the browser extensions to all our web browsers. And Norton didn’t make it easy. First you need to get the extensions by selecting which browser to secure under the Safe Web tool in the desktop dashboard. This redirects you to the Norton website to download and install the extension. Upon downloading the extension, you will see a prompt to activate protection the next time the web browser is opened. You have to repeat these steps for each web browser. This whole process is much more complicated than with other Mac internet security solutions we tested.
Before accessing Windows threats, we disabled the security settings in our browsers. This let us know just how well Norton recognizes Windows threats on Macs. Norton struggled to recognize these threats, though it did stop the most dangerous downloads before they could open and infect our computer. We ran the test again with the browser’s security setting turned on and watched as Norton cooperated with it, sharing information and doing a much better job at detecting Windows malware. Overall, Norton blocked 75 percent of the threats. This is one of the worst scores for Windows malware detection in our comparison. Trend Micro Antivirus for Mac earned a respectable 95 percent on this test.
The safe browser extensions also check search results when you use a search engine like Google or Yahoo. An icon next to each site tells you if there is a threat. Norton tagged more malicious sites this way than other Mac security programs. And if you follow the links in the warning messages, Norton gives you several details of the threats, the risk level of continuing to the site and which country the website is located in.
Norton comes with the most security features and tools of any Mac internet security software we tested. The firewall is a great tool that keeps an eye on your internet connection to make sure only devices in your home are using the Wi-Fi, and to make sure hackers and other threats aren’t trying to sneak in through your connection. The Location Awareness feature recognizes when you are connected to a hot spot away from home and automatically bumps up its firewall protection since public internet connections tend to have more risks than home connections.
We really love the parental controls included with Norton Security Standard. The program gives you a list of filter categories, like pornography, gambling, alcohol and online gaming. When you choose one of these filters, Norton blocks kids from visiting sites that have that type of content on them. You can set time limits to restrict how long your kids can be online and at what times of the day it’s OK for them to be online. The only two tools we looked for that Norton Standard doesn’t come with are social network protection features and a VPN. However, both of these are included with other Norton Security programs that are also compatible with Mac computers and mobile devices.
Norton Standard Security is one of our top picks for Mac internet security because it does an excellent job of protecting your computer, laptop and mobile devices from Mac threats, plus it comes with great tools, like a personal firewall and parental controls, to keep you all-around safe while online. It does have a little trouble recognizing Windows threats on Mac devices and is more difficult to install its safe browser extensions compared to other Mac internet security software.