Overall Score 83%
Norton Box

Norton Security Software Review

The Case for Norton

  • Same virus protection as Norton Security Standard
  • In business 33 years (1982)
  • Average protection
  • Decent resource usage
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Made in the U.S.A.
  • India phone tech support
(1-PC / 1-Year)
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by Josh Christofferson, Co-Editor
Virus & Spyware Protection: 90%

With such a strong reputation, Norton should've done a better job in our tests than it did.

For our first barrage of tests, we infected our testing PCs with multiple malware threats including, spyware, rogueware, viruses, trojans, etc. We then activated Norton Security and ran a full-system scans on each to see how well it'd clean up the mess.

For the most part, Norton tackled everything easily, scoring an 86% success rate.

However, there were some concerning malware that remained on our computers. Some were (mostly) harmless adware, but one striking example was rogue antivirus software called "360 Antivirus" that looks Norton and that Norton didn't catch.

It's so similar that you'd easily mistake it for Norton itself (even we did for a second) and accidentally give the bad guys your credit card number to pay for its "services."

  • Norton Security Deluxe
    Norton Box
  • SCORE: 83%
On top of that, despite doing a decent job at cleanup, our testing PCs—and Norton itself—became buggy and unresponsive. So much so that Norton and our systems became useless.

We know this test is brutal. It's supposed to be. Even still, it wasn't a great ending to an otherwise decent performance.

As for real-time protection Norton Security Deluxe didn't do very well either—and it usually excels here.

With a fresh, fully updated Norton, we tried to download and install multiple malware samples to see how Norton would react in real-time to the threats.

About 50% of the samples were blocked and/or deleted when we tried to run them. The others were given warnings, but we could still install them. Not good. Most that slipped through were a variety of adware geared to take your money.

One of the strangest incidents was when the same rogue antivirus we described above (360 Antivirus) slipped through. But this time, a separate piece of adware changed our testing PCs to be Japanese, including "360 Antivirus."

Norton missed all this.

Overall, not a very strong antivirus and malware protection performance for Norton Security.

Firewall Protection: 70%

A firewall is your first line of defense against new threats trying to infiltrate your PC. It's a virtual moat around your PC with only one way in and out.

Norton had mid-pack results during our firewall tests, scoring an average of 70%.

As far as usability, there's pretty much every conceivable switch and lever to control the firewall. And, while we like that, the average user might be overwhelmed at first.

The good thing is, you'll probably never need to adjust these settings.

Resource Usage: 80%

Norton came up with average scores for our resource usage tests. Boot-up time with Norton Security installed was a bit higher than the competition, but still acceptable.

We saw a bigger system drain when Norton is running a full scan, using up about 14% of our testing computers' resources.

Not bad, but not great compared to how some competitors fared.

User Interface: 85%

Click images to enlarge

Half of the Norton interface we like, half can be a little frustrating.

On the plus side, the basic settings are very clear and easy to understand. Some competitors (we're looking at you McAfee) could learn a thing or six from Norton's interface.

There are easy, clickable sections that are easy to navigate. For most people, this'll be all they need. But for anyone needing to access any of the deeper settings, that's another story.

For deeper access, you'll need to open up a variety of pop-up windows that contain further switches, and there are a lot of switches.

This is the part we weren't thrilled with.

While we like having full control over this Internet Security suite, there is such a thing as too many choices if they're not well organized. For the average user, the sheer number of options can lead one to become less confident that their settings are correct.

All-in-all, they've done a pretty good job of finding a balance between satisfying both the user-friendly and tech-savvy users out there.

Technical Support: 75%

Norton's technical support is a huge, massive, gigantic improvement this year for two reasons:

First, they're now including free virus removal with their software. From a company that used to be one of the worst pay-to-play / charge-for-support offenders, this is a thrill to see.

Apparently, having VIPRE, ESET and Avira all offering this for free, it got as tough for them to stomach as it was their customers.

Secondly, they're also including a money back guarantee with it, too, so if you're infected with malware while you're running their software, and their techs can't remove it, they'll give you a refund.

Given how poorly Norton did this year in our realtime protection tests, we're curious to see how this turns out.

In any case, their support is still done offshore (i.e. India), which in-and-of-itself is frustrating to a lot of consumers.

What do consumers think of the new support and refund policy? Time—and our survey respondents—will tell.

Conclusion - Overall Score: 83%

  • Norton Security Deluxe
    Norton Box
  • SCORE: 83%
  • High price point
  • Average virus and malware protection
  • Acceptable system resource usage
Norton Security Deluxe lands squarely in the middle of our scores this year for good reason. Everything about it is, well, average. According to our tests, Norton is by no means a "bad" Internet Security suite, but for such a big company we expect it to perform better than it does.

They've increased prices this year—no doubt to pay for the new "free" support—and refund policy, but at least there are no hidden charges lurking in the bushes.

Add to that moderate virus and malware protection and average resource use, and Norton Security Deluxe ends up being an acceptable antivirus solution.

Software Version 2019
Supported Operating System (OS) Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, XP
Minimum RAM Required 256 MB
Minimum Space Required 300 MB
Required Processor Speed 300 MHz
Money-back Guarantee 60 Days
Software Manufacturer Symantec
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Multi-device support Protection for PCs, Macs, smartphones and tablets.
Multi-device control Lets you control all of your devices from one web portal.
PC optimization Basic PC clean-up controls such as disk-defraging and start up manager.