Norton Internet Security for Mac Review
Norton has recently redesigned its entire security software suite, including the Mac version. The cost to protect up to five computers or devices is a flat $49.99/year (with NextAdvisor's discount), making it one of the more affordable multi-device security software suites. If you'd like to protect only a single computer, the cost is slightly cheaper at $44.99/year — or you can upgrade to protect up to 10 computers or devices and 25 GB of backup for $69.99/year. The Mac security program has received a full facelift, making it easier to use while maintaining the same level of protection as before.
Although the installation itself is rather quick, Norton does ask you to make a couple of decisions about different program settings and requires a reboot before you can begin using the program. A browser extension is also installed during the process. Once the installation is complete, Norton offers a virtual tour to help you get acquainted with the program before you start. This product tour can easily be skipped.
In previous years, Norton's Mac software has featured a disjointed design that housed each separate program feature in its own separate interface screen. Fortunately, the 2015 redesign shows Symantec coming to its senses and housing all the product features in a single interface. This interface is also an improvement from the old — a stylish, easy-on-the-eyes design with a bright color scheme and simple layout.
The bottom third of the interface separates the program features into five sections with large buttons you can click on to switch from one to the other. The sections include Security, Scans, LiveUpdate, Advanced and Add Devices. The top third of the screen displays the content for whichever area you are viewing. Clicking on Help at the top of each screen pulls down a menu with multiple options, including Help for this window — which directs you to the page in Norton's online help manual with more information about what you are currently viewing.
Security is the traditional interface for antivirus software. It lets you know if your computer is protected, as well as when your last scan and update were run.
Scans houses the three different computer scan options — Quick, Full and File — and lets you schedule scans. The File scan lets you drag and drop a file or folder from your computer for a scan or select from the finder. You can also click "Scan Facebook Wall" in this section and be directed to install Norton Safe Web on your Facebook account. This app scans your wall for infected or dangerous links.
LiveUpdate lets you update your Norton software so that it syncs with the most up-to-date information from Norton.
Advanced houses the remainder of Norton's features and its settings, arranged in a column so you can click through them to access the settings of each. These include: Protect My Mac (scan settings), Firewall, Safe Web (toggle on/off and enable protection for Safari and Firefox), File Guard (password-protect folders and files), Activity (program stats) and Product Settings (turn silent mode on/off).
Turning settings options on or off is simple with a toggle switch that turns green when the setting is on or grey when it is off so you know at-a-glance if it's in use. To make changes to a feature or setting, you can click on a tool-themed icon to the right of each, which pulls up a separate window with your different options.
Historically, the PC version of Norton has done well in independent testing — although it is worth mentioning that Symantec has not entered the program in AV-Comparatives' testing over the past few years. That said, Norton's historical average is a 2.5 out of 3 stars from when it was being tested, and it retains an excellent reputation for protection.
The Firewall for the Mac software offers several different options to keep your computer protected. Location Awareness allows you to set up different protections based on the different networks your Mac might be connected to — which is especially helpful for laptops. Vulnerability Protection helps stop attackers from exploiting flaws in any of the applications you are running, alerting you if anyone is attempting to access your computer without your permission. The DeepSight™ network lets you connect to a constantly-updated list of community-reported attackers, ensuring that you are always protected against identified threats.
File Guard is another great security tool, letting you drag and drop files or whole folders from your computer (or select them using the finder) into Norton. The files are then password protected, and you are notified anytime someone tries to access them.
Norton's Safe Web browser add-on provides protection for both Safari and Firefox, but — sadly — not Chrome. However, it is a powerful feature that provides protection against malicious and fraudulent websites, as well as phishing protection. You can make a choice in the settings whether to have Norton block bad sites outright or offer a warning that lets you click through to the page if you so desire.
Norton doesn't offer anything in the way of performance-enhancing features for its Mac software, but it runs smoothly and quietly in the background. To ensure you aren't disrupted while playing a game or watching a movie, you can set the program to run on "Silent Mode," which suppresses alerts and also suspends background activities to prevent your computer from slowing down.
Overall, Norton for Mac offers quality protection with a number of helpful features that will enhance your web browsing and computer use. It lacks all of the bells and whistles of its PC companion, but the redesigned interface is a breath of fresh air and makes the program far more pleasant to use than in years past.
System Requirements: Mac OS X 10.8-10.10
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.
|Antimalware/Antivirus Tests||Norton Internet Security|
|11/10 Dynamic Test|
|06/11 Dynamic Test|
|12/11 Dynamic Test|
|07/12 Dynamic Test||N/A|
|12/12 Dynamic Test||N/A|
|07/13 Dynamic Test||N/A|
|12/13 Dynamic Test||N/A|
|07/14 Dynamic Test||N/A|
|Price:||$44.99/yr for 1 device or $49.99/yr for up to 5 devices|
|Ease of Use:||Sleek, streamlined interface redesign is a breath of fresh air|
|Special Features:||Firewall, automatic protection, location awareness, antiphishing technology, Safe Web for Facebook, Safe Search, File Guard|
|Personal Information Manager:||Yes|
|System Performance Score**:|
*Averaged 2010/2011 scores for each company's antivirus/anti-malware product by independent testing agency 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.
**Score indicates impact of antivirus product on system performance. Average of performance tests by AV-Comparatives.
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