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Software Review: Norton Internet Security 2012 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 can just install and use until you find a new feature that compels you to upgrade, Norton Internet Security 2012 as well as any comparable security program must be continuously kept up to date in light of 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 2012 check out the requirements page.

How does this work? Well, the version of Norton Internet Security 2012 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 2012 also monitors your online activities to keep you safe from potential attacks, protects your online banking and shopping, and monitors your system for problems from hackers, bots, spyware, and Trojan horses.

So with all this, what’s new with Norton Internet Security 2012?

• New interface has been updated and simplified to highlight only the items that are of most concern to the user – checking for updates and starting a scan. Everything else is in a panel called Advanced Settings which really simplifies your ability to navigate the system.

• More powerful antivirus engine has been added to NIS 2012 giving the SONAR detection the ability to track more behaviors and translating that data to identify if something is risky or malicious. It is the same antivirus that is found in the stand-alone version

• Exploit Prevention is meant to protect your system from web-based exploits. What this means is that if and when your system is attacked, Norton will quietly block the attack and provide a notification of what it stopped. If you open the report you can read about what transpired in detail.

• Smart Firewall for NIS 2012 by default assigns internet and network permissions automatically. You have to dig pretty deep into the features to turn it off, but for most users this is just what a firewall is supposed to do – protect the system without bothering the user.

• Antispam within the suite does not need any configuration to run and it integrates nicely into Microsoft Outlook/Outlook Express. It whitelists your contacts from your address books automatically.

• Phishing Protection is provided by the Norton toolbar that is installed as part of this suite. If you happen upon a site that has been identified as a potential problem, you will be redirected to a page that warns you of the problem. It uses real-time analysis to identify new problem sites.

• Improved Identity Safe is a feature that stores your passwords; you need only remember only one strong password, and by using your online Norton account, you can sync your passwords with all of your computers. It can also automate the filling out of Web forms and more.

I like the fact that Norton Internet Security 2012 contains the tools you need to keep your computer running smoothly. I really like the much more simplified dashboard so that you can see everything is running well, but when you need to, you can dig down to what you need and at all times you are the one in control.

The installation is a breeze and you can be up and running in no time. If you are upgrading from a previous version it just handles itself. When you need to renew, everything is right there at your fingertips.

I noticed that there have been improvements to performance speed in 2012 that appear to make the software run much more smoothly. I really never notice that it is running. 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 into background scan mode and there is a little box that appears. As soon as I touch the mouse or keyboard, it vanishes.

There is a little floating gadget in the upper corner of your screen that has buttons for the different menu items to manage your system. If you don’t want to see it just close it and it goes away.

Everything about Norton Internet Security 2012 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 on 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 2012.

About T. Michael Testi

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

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