Norton Internet Security 5 for Mac Review: Internet Security Software
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|Far and away the best security software for the Mac. Full of features and protections other suites don't offer.|
[Editor's note: Norton is currently offering NextAdvisor visitors an exclusive 25% off discount on their 2014 software. Click any of the Norton links from NextAdvisor and use the coupon code SYMANTEC25US when checking out.]
Norton Internet Security 5 for Mac is by far the best, most-equipped security software for the Mac. The sheer number of tools, features and programs that Norton Internet Security 5 for Mac offers is enough to intimidate any virus into steering clear of your computer. All the features and add-ons work seamlessly together to offer the best protection for your Mac.
The installation process for Norton Internet Security 5 for Mac is very easy and user-friendly, but is not the quickest installation we've seen. Like other security software suites, you must shut down your web browser during installation and restart your computer afterwards, which can add a good chunk of time to the installation processes, depending on how fast your computer boots up. Norton also takes you through the task of setting up the preferences for the software before completing the install. It's an informative step-by-step journey through the many features Norton offers, but it can be grating for the impatient who just want the protection without all the choices.
Our one beef with Norton's interface is that it is not all contained in one place. Most security software suites (including Norton's PC version) have one main interface screen that houses all of the tools and features that the software offers. Not so for Norton's Mac version, which has a different interface for each of its tools: LiveUpdate, Norton Antivirus, Norton Firewall and Norton Identity. All the different interfaces live in a Norton icon in the toolbar at the top of your desktop. To activate any of them, just click the icon and then choose which service you want from the drop-down menu that appears.
The LiveUpdate interface simply lets you update your Norton software so that it syncs with the most up-to-date information from Norton. Nothing more, nothing less.
The Antivirus interface is the traditional interface for antivirus software. It lets you know if your computer is protected and houses the different scan options. Norton Internet Security 5 for Mac offers three different scans: the Quick Scan, which scans the places on your computer that Norton believes viruses and malware might like to hide; the System Scan, which scans your entire system; and the File Scan, which will scan individual files.
The Firewall interface is where your firewall options are housed, as well as a few other cool features. First, there is the Location feature, which allows you to set up different protections based on the different networks your Mac might be connected to. This is especially helpful for laptops. Second, there is the Advanced section, which houses the Norton DeepSight Community options as well as a Vulnerability Protection option. Norton DeepSight Community basically allows you to connect to Norton directly and will notify them of any security events that happen on your computer. Since it does the same thing for every computer it is enabled on, it is a great tool for discovering new viruses and quickly adding information about those viruses to all Norton software. This is especially helpful for Macs since they are still mostly new to the virus/malware world. The Vulnerability Protection can stop attackers from exploiting any flaws in any of the applications you have running on your Mac.
The last interface is the Identity interface, which houses the last two features that Norton offers: Safe Surfing and File Guard. Safe Surfing allows you to choose how much protection you want when surfing the web. It offers a wide range, from phishing protection to blocking harmful websites, but gives you the option of choosing how much protection you want. File Guard is basically a Quarantine tool that allows you to section off a file that you think might be corrupted so that it cannot infect your computer while you test it.
Antivirus/Antimalware and Performance
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. Safe Web for Facebook scans your social media wall to protect against bad links and warn your friends against them. Antiphishing Technology blocks fraudulent websites to protect your identity and money.
Historically, Norton's PC version of their antivirus product has done very well in testing from AV-Comparatives. Norton did particularly well in the 2011 Whole-Product Dynamic Test which measures how well the program's various security components work together to protect the PC. It scored the highest overall score, a 99.3% at blocking malware, but failed the "false alarm" test, which tests how many times the software blocks clean domains. For the Mac, it blocked the few test viruses that are available for Mac security software testing. Over the past few years, Symantec has not entered its products for testing, which reduces the amount of comparable data against competitors.
As for performance, Norton was one of the few security software suites for the Mac that didn't slow down our computer. Although it doesn't offer any of the performance enhancing features that its PC counterpart does, it still runs smoothly and quietly in the background, offering quality protection without being annoying.
Taking into account Norton's past reputation as a top-notch security software provider and all the new bells and whistles that they have added to improve performance, we strongly recommend Norton Internet Security 2014. Its simple new interface and performance updates make it quick and easy to use.
System Requirements: Mac OS 10.7, 10.8 or 10.9, Intel- or PowerPc-based Macs running Mac OS 10.4 - 10.6.8
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. All AV-Comparatives scores are based on the PC version of Norton.
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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