Overall Score 90%
Norton Box

Norton Antivirus Software Review

The 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
(1-PC / 1-Year)
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by Josh Christofferson, Co-Editor
Virus & Spyware Protection: 90%

We saw some very strange behavior from Norton Security Standard 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 Antivirus Basic
    Norton Box
  • SCORE: 90%
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. 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 Antivirus Basic
    Norton Box
  • SCORE: 90%
  • 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 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.

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 1 GHz
Money-back Guarantee 60 Days
Software Manufacturer Symantec
Click images to enlarge
Security Settings
Identity Settings
Performance Settings
Backup Upgrade
Identity Protection
Tasks Scheduling
Admin Settings
Identity protection Helps you stay safe online with antiphishing and other malicious attempts to steal your identity.
Disk optimization Defragments your hard drive for better PC performance.
Password generator A separate piece of software available free that will help you create better, more secure passwords.