Norton Anti Virus Security

by Josh Christofferson, Co-Editor
Virus & Spyware Protection: 90%

   MThe Case for Norton
In business 33 years (1982)
Easy installer
Average real-time virus protection
Poor virus removal
30-day money back guarantee
Made in the U.S.A.
India phone tech support
With such a big name like Norton, everyone always expects big things.

This year unfortunately Norton is average at best. Like nearly every recent version, Norton manages to dramatically swing the pendulum from good, to bad, to somewhere in between. This version falls to the middle.

The user interface is easy to use, and Norton’s resource usage is average; however, Norton Security Standard misses the mark with less than optimal antivirus and malware protection.

We saw some very strange behavior from Norton Security Standard 2016 this year during our tests. We expected much better results than we got.

For our realtime protection tests, we tried to download and install a host of malware samples (viruses, trojans, adware, rogueware, etc) to test Norton’s effectiveness against them.

Norton Security Standard only blocked about 50% of the threats we tried to install. The others were given warnings, but we could still install them just fine. None of the ones that slipped through were terribly vicious, but they were obviously adware and pornware.

Even after a reboot, many ads and rogueware (including a fake iTunes app) remained open and running. If that wasn’t bad enough, a new rogue antivirus software, all in Japanese, was actually popping up alerts for our other malware samples. Huh?

Norton Security Standard 2016
Norton Box
SCORE: 90%
Original: $59.99 Discount: $39.99
Yeah, Norton really dropped the ball here for real-time protection.

In another set of tests, we downloaded and pre-installed large malware sets then ran a full-system scan with Norton to see if it could cleanup and/or delete these malicious files.

Even though Norton Security successfully detected and remove 80% of our malware samples, there were still 20% that got through undeterred by Norton.

To add insult to injury, a rogue antivirus program (a program pretending to be legitimate antivirus software) installed itself.

The curious thing is that it looks strikingly similar to Norton with the same colors and similar layout. The first time we saw it, it even took us a minute to realize it wasn’t the real Norton. This type of rogueware could easily steal your money.

Overall, poor performance for Norton Security Standard when it comes to realtime protection and virus/malware removal.

Firewall Protection: 70%

A firewall is your first line of defense against hackers and some types of malware trying to get onto your computer. It’s the moat surrounding your castle where the only way in and out is over a secure drawbridge.

Unfortunately, our firewall tests revealed only average results for Norton Security Standard 2016. During one section of our tests, Norton failed to block 50% of our attempts to bypass it. Then in another series of tests, Norton left vulnerable ports open. Good, but less than ideal.

Resource Usage: 81%

Resource usage was average for Norton, but still within an acceptable range.

Boot time with Norton Security installed was a little on the slow side at a 7% slower rate than its competitors.

When running a full scan, Norton drained about 14% of system resources, which isn’t that bad, but leaves room for improvement. (Last year’s version did better.)

We were still able to perform basic computer tasks like web surfing and file downloading with no negligible drag from Norton.

User Interface: 85%

Click images to enlarge

For the most part, Norton’s user interface is easy to use and simple enough for anyone. The major sections you might need are clearly labeled with modern looking icons and buttons.

For more advanced users, there are enough levers and switches to control just about any aspect of this antivirus software. The downside is: there’s such a thing as too many choices when they’re not presented appropriately.

If you do ever need to venture deeper into Norton’s antivirus software, the overall presentation of things makes it such that the options themselves can get confusing. And worse, it can leave you feeling much less confident about whether you’ve made the best choices for your security or not.

Technical Support: 75%

Norton’s technical support has improved tremendously this year. For starters, Symantec has a searchable knowledgebase that’ll answer most questions, along with chat and phone support.

Here’s the interesting part: they’ve gone the way of VIPRE and ESET and are now offering free help with virus removal if your computer is infected while you’re running their software.

Even more interestingly, they’re even backing it up with a money-back guarantee.

Time—and our survey responses—will tell if Norton’s new-found consumer-oriented posturing is legitimate or if it’s just lip service.

For now the downside to these great promises is that they’re still doing tech support from offshore, which means dealing with a call center in India.

Our first calls to them required talking with multiple reps each time and confusion about what was included and what wasn’t. Presumably, this will get cleared up over time. Our initial impression of this new service is positive but guardedly so.

Conclusion – Overall Score: 90%

Norton Security Standard 2016
Norton Box
SCORE: 90%
Original: $59.99 Discount: $39.99
Improved tech support
Easy to use interface
Average overall protection
Norton continues to evolve every year and with a huge improvement to their tech support offering, they’re making strides in ways most competitors aren’t.

Norton Security Standard 2016 is easy to use and well thought out software, but in our tests it didn’t always have it where it counts: protection from viruses and other malware.

We found the software’s real-time protection and virus and malware removal mid-pack, so despite it’s terrific guarantee, it’s not our top pick this year.