Symantec's Norton Internet Security 2013 Review: Internet Security Software
|Visit Symantec's Norton Internet Security 2013 Website|
|The best at protecting you and your computer. Updates include a vastly improved performance and several features to make things easier on the user.|
[Editor's note: Norton is currently offering NextAdvisor visitors an exclusive 25% off discount on their 2013 software. Click any of the Norton links from NextAdvisor and use the coupon code SYMANTEC25US when checking out.]
Norton continues its dominance of the security software world with the release of its 2013 security suite. Its simplified interface and enhancement of features make it the top security software suite that we reviewed.
Installation is still a breeze, especially for the faster PCs. There is no need to restart your computer; the software is ready to go once installed.
Let's be clear, the sheer number of features that Norton offers can make their interface confusing, but Norton does its best to organize and explain features as thoroughly as possible.
The main screen has been simplified this year, which is a nice break from the flashy main screen from the past couple of years. There are 4 large buttons to choose from: Threat Level, Scan, LiveUpdate and Advanced. The threat level isn't so much a button as a way for Norton to let you know whether your computer is secure or not. Scan takes you to Norton's scan options. LiveUpdate lets you update your Norton software (and will notify you if it needs to be updated.) And Advanced takes you to most of the advanced features that Norton offers, although some of those are already listed on the side of the main screen.
The side navigation lists all the extra features that Norton offers, including Manage, Mobile, Online Family, Safe Web and Backup, which you need to scroll down to see. Manage helps you manage the Norton coverage on all the computers that the software is on. Mobile allows you to immediately download Norton for your phone by scanning a QR code. Online Family is the parental control section of the Norton software. Safe Web lets you enter URLs or search terms into a secure window to test if they are safe or not. And Backup is the online backup feature for Norton.
Lastly, the navigation at the top of the main screen is mostly behind-the-scenes features, including setting, performance statistics, feedback, support and your account information.
Overall, the interface is well organized and attempts to explain any features that you may be confused about. The only issue we found is that there are a few glitches when it comes to using the interface, including buttons not working and navigation cues being misleading. It was impossible for us to get back on the main screen once we started clicking on features, which is an unfortunate glitch that hopefully Norton can fix with their next update.
Antimalware and Antivirus
Norton Internet Security 2012 keeps many of the same high-performing protections that were included in previous models, but added a few small updates that help round out their protection offerings. Here's a quick list of the top protections that Norton offers:
Insight Network: Collects data from all the computers that Norton is installed on to stay ahead of any new viruses or malware that may pop up.
Smart Firewall: Remembers sites that you've visited before so that you don't get those annoying "Is it ok to download from this site?" or "Is it ok to run this program?" pop-ups.
Identity Safe: Basically keeps your passwords and login information secure.
Download Intelligence: Based on the data from the Insight Network, it can detect if a download is safe or not, most of the time.
Vulnerability Protection: Helps block any attacks that use vulnerable programs on your computer.
Historically, Norton's antivirus product has done very well in testing from AV-Comparatives. Although they were not included in the most recent round of testing, Norton has done particularly well in the Whole-Product Dynamic Test which measures how well the program's various security components work together to protect the PC.
Norton has one of the most elaborate performance trackers that we've seen. It tracks everything from how many CPUs to how much memory you are using. It also tracks how much of each that Norton uses up, so you can see just how efficient it is. It also gives you performance data on installs, downloads, detections, alerts and scans. Norton includes a Application Rating system that shows you which applications might be slowing down your computer, as well as a Startup Manager that lets you know which applications are taking up the most memory while your computer is booting up.
Norton always does well when it comes to independent testing of its performance, historically scoring 3 out 3 stars in testing from AV-Comparatives, an independent antivirus testing organization. Norton was one of the only systems to score "very fast" in every test category and had the highest overall score for the variety of tests.
If you are looking for protection with all the bells and whistles, then Norton Internet Security 2013 is for you. Between its Insight Network, its smart Firewall and its upgraded Facebook scanner, Norton has pulled out all the stops for 2013, and is our favorite of the 2013 security software products.
System Requirements: Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7
* AV-Comparatives ratings on a variety of tasks related to the antivirus and anti-malware product. "Known Malware" refers to a product's ability to catch pre-identified viruses, while "Unknown Malware" refers to its ability to detect brand new viruses. Older scores may reflect previous software versions.
AV-Comparatives. Score indicates overall effectiveness in a variety of tests over time. † indicates that company did not take part in all tests. See reviews for details.*Averaged 2010/2011 scores for each company's antivirus/anti-malware product by independent testing agency
**Score indicates impact of antivirus product on system performance. Average of performance tests by AV-Comparatives.
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