Thursday , April 18 2024
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Software Review: Norton Internet Security 2011 from Symantec

The Norton name is probably most famous for its security software that has protected both computers and the information stored on those computers for over two decades. Over that time frame, while the products offered have become more diverse, they still have one goal in mind. That is to protect your computer and the well being of both your data, and your security.

Unlike many programs that you buy where you can just install them and use them until you find a new feature that compels you to upgrade, Norton Internet Security 2011 as well as any comparable security program must be continuously updated to keep up to date with new threats. It is for that reason that when you purchase Norton Internet Security you are also purchasing a one-year subscription to their services. To find out what is needed to run Norton Internet Security 2011 check out the requirements page.

How does this work? Well the version of Norton Internet Security 2011 that I am reviewing will protect up to three computers for a period of one year. When you install the software and register it with Symantec, it will automatically connect with and activate its service as well as download the latest updates of the virus signatures. At that point it is best if you go ahead and run a full scan on your system.

Along with making sure that the data on your hard drive is safe and free from viruses, Norton Internet Security 2011 also monitors your online activities to keep you safe from potential attacks, protects your online banking and shopping, as well as monitors your system from problems from hackers, bots, spyware, and Trojan horses.

So with all this, what’s new with Norton Internet Security 2011?

• Norton Reputation Technology instantly checks the reputation of a file (including its prevalence, where it came from and how old it is) to stop new or unique malware faster and more effectively than other, less sophisticated software. It also compares the trust of the application on your system to that of other users of the application.

• Norton Download Insight has been extended by adding support for more browsers now adding Chrome, Opera, AOL, and Safari to the previous list of Internet Explorer and Firefox. What this does is checks files as they are downloaded to see if they are trusted — determined by other peoples downloading experience. It also profiles all of your applications on your computer so that you can tell if a program is slowing you down and will alert you when a program is utilizing resources. You can check the past Performance Alerts in the History window.

• SONAR 3 Behavioral Protection has been improved over the previous SONAR 2 by monitoring your PC for suspicious behavior to quickly detect new online threats.

• Norton Bootable Recovery is a more powerful version that creates an emergency CD/DVD/USB that gets you back up and running even if your PC has become so infected that it won’t even start up. It will help you clean your system when it becomes infected with really nasty stuff and your system won’t boot. This is only for when it is a last resort. The one in 2011 is much easier to use and there is a wizard that will walk you right through the process. It now includes support for netbook computers as well.

• Messaging area on the Norton Internet Security Home screen is now included near the bottom that was designed to bring convenient access and at-a-glance status for a number of Norton’s web-based services (Safe Web, Norton Online Family, Online Backup) as well as a global Internet Protection Map into the main user interface.

• Norton Safe Web has now added the ability to check links on your Facebook Wall and Newsfeed to see if there are any malware links or sites that contain malware. Now this tool is actually a Facebook app and you will have to give it permission to access your stream for this to work. It will also ask you if you want to post results to your Wall, but this is purely optional.

• Norton Power Eraser (NPE) is a free, advanced tool that is separate from Norton Internet Security. It eliminates deeply embedded and difficult to remove malware like fake anti-virus programs that traditional virus scanning can’t always detect, and that may actually be preventing you from installing an anti-virus program in the first place. NPE takes on difficult to detect malware known as “scareware” or “rogueware” that cybercriminals use to trick computer users into unknowingly downloading threats onto their PC. This growing form of crimeware uses bogus pop-up alerts or security messages that hold computers hostage until a user agrees to purchase costly access to a removal tool with their credit card. These rogue security programs can be so stealthy that they automatically download onto a PC without the user even clicking, interacting or acknowledging a download. NPE is specially designed to aggressively target and eliminate this type of crimeware and restore your PC back to good health.

The last couple of versions of Norton Internet Security have been lighter and much more efficient than prior versions. 2011 keeps this streak going with same lightweight foot print, and has very little impact on system performance. In fact it does a very good job of performing background tasks in idle time and when you return, it returns control back to you.

I like the fact that Norton Internet Security 2011 contains the tools you need to keep your computer running smoothly. There is a dashboard that shows you everything from a high level so that you can see everything is running well. When something does go wrong, you are presented with a description of the problem and it will step you through what you need to do to fix it. At all times you are the one in control.

The installation is a breeze and you can be up and running in no time. I like the fact that it is setup in a default mode that you can tweak to your heart’s delight until it works the way you want.

I noticed that there have been slight improvements to performance in 2011. The signatures and updates seem to come in smaller packets and run in the background. For the most part, I like that I hardly ever know that it is running except when it goes in to background scan mode and there is a little box that appears. As soon as I touch the mouse or keyboard, it vanishes.

Everything about Norton Internet Security 2011 is built to be safe, secure, reliable, and most of all, easy to use. From the installation, to the detection, to the clean up, you are not only in control, but you are educated to the implications of your choices. Once you have your initial scan, most everything is really uneventful and runs quietly in the background. And isn’t that why you want a computer security system? If you want security without a lot of complication, I can very highly recommend Norton Internet Security 2011.

About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.

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