How good is Norton Security antivirus?
Following up our little series (Trend Micro, McAfee, Kaspersky) we’d like to offer Norton antivirus review. It is one of the most popular antivirus and antimalware products, protecting millions of computers globally and used by corporate entities, so clearly we couldn’t skip it.
Norton Security is owned by the public company NortonLifeLock Inc. (formerly known as Symantec, HQ in California, USA). As one of the biggest independent software producers, with thousands of employees in 40 countries, they spend a great chunk of revenue on R&D, cybersecurity, etc.
So, as usual, we begin with Norton specifications: installer file size – 3.4 Mb, VirusTotal check – 0/72, version – 188.8.131.52, size after installation – 770 Mb, trial – 30 days. And let’s follow it up with a few basic Norton antivirus plans to compare.
|Norton Security plans|
|Number of devices||1||1||5||5|
|Online threat protection||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Cloud backup||2 GB||10 GB||50 GB||100 GB|
|Secure VPN||–||1 device||Up to 5 devices||Up to 5 devices|
|Dark web monitoring||–||✓||✓||✓|
|LifeLock identity alert||–||–||–||✓|
|Lost wallet protection||–||–||–||✓|
|SSN & credit alerts||–||–||–||✓|
|Data breach notifications||–||–||–||✓|
This list of subscriptions is incomplete and may have several more variations, for example, you can separately purchase Norton Secure VPN or Norton Security + Norton Secure VPN at a discount. Visit norton.com for more information.
Norton Security options
- Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) – analyzes information coming from the network/Internet and blocks potential threats before they reach a computer.
- Behavioral Protection (SONAR) – uses Artificial Intelligence to classify applications by behavior and block the suspicious ones.
- Advanced antivirus – scans and removes malicious files via emulation and machine learning (PC, Mac, Android).
- Proactive Exploit Prevention (PEP) – protects against zero-day attacks that exploit vulnerabilities in applications or operating systems.
- Reputation Protection (Insight) – applies reputation information obtained from the Symantec Global Intelligence Network to classify files by attributes.
- Power Eraser – detects and allows to remove dangerous applications and malicious programs.
As with all our in-house testing, for Norton antivirus review we used the same test stand. It was a PC with 16 GB RAM (Kingston HyperX), Intel Core i5-9400 (4.1 GHz), MSI B360M motherboard, Microsoft Windows 10 Pro x64.
The goal of the first test was detection capability. So we utilized EICAR files of different formats (com, txt, zip, zip inside another zip). We are glad to report that all types were detected and blocked by Norton.
|Eicar testing for Norton Security|
Part 2 of this test was to try Norton out on real virus files. The same ZIP pack with 3,700 infected files, as in all previous reviews was used for fair and same conditions. We scanned the archive with Norton antivirus and got the following results:
2,460 viruses out of 3,732 total found (65.94%)
Sadly, during the scan Norton crashed twice and we were forced to start over. Also, Norton couldn’t delete certain files and suggested to download Norton Power Eraser (NPE). Overall, in order to achieve this simple test result it took us 30 minutes and a bunch of manual manipulations, while CPU peaked frequently.
As for the archive with malicious files, after the scan Norton simply deleted the entire ZIP not allowing any options otherwise. In case of Eicar tests, only the infected files were deleted.
Performance tests for Norton antivirus
To test the speed of performance and PC resource consumption, we ran 2 common types of scanning – fast and full. As we can see, the load on the CPU is quite big during a full scan via Norton. Find figures in the table.
|Scan results of Norton Security|
|Scanning type||Time||Scanned files||CPU load (avg)|
|Full||*2 min 47 sec||194,232||~48%|
* Scan time without taking into account the report generation, which requires several extra seconds.
Finally, we ran PCMark 10 test twice: with Norton Security on and off. With antivirus enabled we got the 4341 score, and when disabled we had the 4403 score. This means (though is not an ultimate figure for all setups) the loss of overall PC productivity because of Norton is only -1.4%.
Norton Security support
|Phone||Web chat||App form||Web form|
Tech support is available in these following languages: Português, English, Canada Français, Español (LAM), العربية ,עברית, Türkçe, Čeština, Dansk, Nederlands, Suomi, Français, Deutsch, Ελληνικά, Magyar, Italiano, Norsk, Polski, Română, Русский, Español (EMEA), Svenska, Slovenčina, 简体中文, 日本語, 한국어.
In general, Norton pays a lot of attention to customer support. There are a number of additional resources that assist users, e.g. technical documentation, forum, video tutorials, etc.
|Minimum (Windows)||Minimum (Mac)|
|RAM||1-2 GB||2 GB|
|HDD space||300 MB||300 MB|
|CPU||1 GHz||Core 2 Duo, i3, i5, i7, or Xeon|
|OS||Windows 7/8/10||Mac OS X 10.7.5 or newer|
Support for Windows XP is also available, but there is no support for new protection components. Also, a minimum of 512 Mb RAM is required for Recovery Tool. There is also Norton Mobile Security antivirus both for Android and iOS devices.
Norton antivirus review: Summary
Norton is an interesting product to consider when looking for comprehensive protection. The company cares about customers and their needs. In addition to protecting your data from theft and damage, you can purchase software to monitor children (Norton Family Premier) or a VPN (Norton Secure VPN) to bypass locks and/or to obtain anonymity.
In terms of protection, Norton provides defense at all necessary levels, also providing multiple and flexible settings for configuration. Yet at the same time the virus protection could be better. Performance instability, constant crashes and inability to fully remove detected threats, as experienced in our own tests, would rather make us look for other antivirus than use this one. Good or bad, let’s finish this Norton antivirus review with pros/cons and FAQ.
Pros: Comprehensive protection for all types of devices Multiple subscription options Security configuration options Low system resources consumption
Cons: Critical shutdowns Low rate of threat detection (based on tests)
Q: What is Norton Security?
A: It is a computer program that provides malware prevention and removal during a subscription-based period and uses signatures and heuristics to identify viruses.
Q: How does Norton Security antivirus work?
A: Norton uses virus definitions, suspicious behavior, emulation, and a sandbox method to detect viruses that may be on your computer.
Q: How to disable Norton Security?
A: In the notification area on the taskbar, right-click the Norton icon, and then click Disable Auto-Protect.
Q: How to add exceptions in Norton Security?
A: Click the "Settings" link in the Norton Antivirus window to navigate to Settings. The Computer tab is selected by default. Click the "Antivirus and SONAR Exclusions" link and then click the "Configure" link next to "Items to Exclude from Scans." The Scan Exclusions window opens. Click the "Add" button, then the "Browse" button. Select the file you want to exclude from scans and click "OK" twice to add the file to the Exclusions list. You can select an entire folder and all its subfolders, if you want to exclude a group of files. Click "Apply" and then "OK" to apply and save the new settings.
Q: How to change language in Norton?
A: Basically, you have to reinstall the antivirus. Before starting the download again, there is a language option - select English (or preferred) and then perform the installation.
Q: How to enter the product key of Norton Security?
A: To activate subscription, in the Norton main window, click Activate Now. To renew the subscription, in the Norton main window, click Help and then under ACCOUNT INFORMATION, click Enter Product Key. Enter the product key or renewal code that you received from Norton.
Q: How much does Norton Security cost?
A: In a Norton Plans table above we’ve indicated prices. Though as they may differ, one can always find the latest information on Norton website.
Q: How to uninstall Norton Security?
A: In Windows 10, click Start > All apps, and under Windows System, click Control Panel, then click Uninstall a program, click your Norton product, and then click Uninstall/Change.
Q: How long does it take to uninstall Norton Security?
A: It depends on your device performance, but in general, this process does not take more than 5 minutes.
Q: How to transfer Norton Security to another computer?
A: Contact your service provider to cancel the duplicate Norton service. After the duplicate Norton service is inactivated, you will receive the alert, "Your service was cancelled." In the drop-down, select Re-activate, and then click OK.
Q: How do I install Norton on my new computer?
A: Sign in to Norton, in the Get Started page, click Download Norton. If you have a product key, that is not yet registered to your account, click Enter a new product key to continue. Follow the on-screen instructions to activate the product.
Q: Can I use my Norton subscription on multiple computers?
A: Yes, if it is allowed by your subscription (Deluxe or higher), which has the ability to use one subscription for more than one device.
Q: How do I reinstall Norton after system restore?
A: If you want to install the latest version of Norton 360, the best way is to sign into your Norton Account and download/install an activated copy of the program.
Q: How to cancel Norton subscription?
A: Login to Norton Account. In the Norton Subscriptions page, next to the Norton antivirus product, for which you need to disable automatic Renewal, turn the slider to OFF. When you get the confirmation prompt, click Turn Off. Your Norton software prompts you to manually renew the subscription when it expires next time.
Q: What is Norton Secure VPN?
A: Norton Secure VPN encrypts transmitted data when connected to public Wi-Fi points.
Q: What is Norton 360?
A: Norton 360 is a security package developed by Symantec. The package includes a firewall, protection against phishing, antivirus, as well as a set of utilities for system backups and optimization.
Q: What is Norton LifeLock?
A: It is a US software development company working in the field of information protection. It is one of the world’s leaders in the production of software for PCs and data centers.
Q: What is Norton Safe Web?
A: Norton Safe Web is a service, developed by Symantec, that helps users identify malicious websites. Safe Web provides website information, based on automated analysis and user feedback.
Q: What is Norton Mobile Security?
A: It lets you know if apps contain intrusive adware before you download from Google Play. Anti-phishing Web Protection: protects against online scams by blocking fraudulent websites. Malware Protection: scans and removes apps with viruses, spyware, and other threats.
Q: What is Norton Clean?
A: Norton Clean is a cleaner app that will help you reclaim storage space on your Android device by cleaning junk, removing residual files and optimizing memory.
Q: What is Norton Safe Search?
A: Norton Safe Search is a secure Norton search engine that protects users from visiting phishing and other dangerous sites that may appear in the search results. It uses Norton Safe Web technology.
Q: Is Norton Clean free?
A: Yes, you can download and use it for free.
Q: Is Norton slowing down my computer?
A: Yes, it makes it slower, like any similar software, but compared to competitors, it slows down computers the least.
Q: Is Norton owned by Symantec?
A: Norton, also known as Norton by Symantec, is a division of Symantec, and is based out of Mountain View, California. Since being acquired by Symantec Corporation in 1990, Norton has offered a variety of products and services related to digital security.
Q: Are Norton and McAfee owned by the same company?
A: No, Norton is owned by Broadcom, and McAfee is owned by TPG Capital.
Q: Where is Norton Symantec located?
A: HQd in San Jose, California, USA.