Norton antivirus utility was first launched in 1991 by Symantec. However, the company has since then sold its Symantec name and enterprise to Broadcom and has been rebranded to NortonLifeLock. The Norton Antivirus has worked round the clock to improve its product and has established itself as a leader in the cybersecurity industry over the years.
Norton has created something quite exceptional with its 360 antivirus package that easily tops its competition to be one of the best antivirus software on the market. Here’s an in-depth review of the Norton 360.
Norton 360 Security Features
The Norton 360 comes with 5 core security features to protect its users and they include:
- Device Security
- Cloud Backup
- Secure VPN
- Password Manager
- Parental Control (for 360 Deluxe and 360 Premium only)
Norton utilizes Symantec Online Network for Advanced Response (SONAR) antivirus technology in their software. In addition to the traditional techniques typically employed, SONAR even uses heuristics to analyze file behavior, which means it can detect unknown and emerging malware called “zero-day” threats.
In terms of cybersecurity, Norton consistently ranks as one of the top performers on the market with no doubt on its powerful antivirus application. With perfect results in defending against various types of malware, Norton has made a mark for itself among other big names like Bitdefender and McAfee.
SONAR antivirus engine was able to quickly identify and segregate malicious files to stop any suspicious processes from executing. Norton successfully halted simulated attempts encrypt, transfer, and hijack files for cryptocurrency mining.
In addition to those, Norton’s Full Scan was completed in under 2 hours – a relatively faster time than most, and it even allows other operations to run simultaneously without slowing down. The Full Scan is able to detect and quarantine all malware hiding in your computer.
First-hand testing has worked to double-confirm Norton’s excellent reputation for its antivirus engine that is also lightweight, fast, and easy to use. It is definitely without a doubt that Norton deserves a gold medal in terms of malware protection.
In fact, the company is so confident in its services that if your device somehow goes get infected and Norton is not able to remove it, you will get a complete refund under their “Virus Protection Promise” policy. While this is a generous offer, many other antivirus brands also offer similar guarantees.
Norton employs a Cloud system to securely store all your important files remotely. The storage memory depends on which subscription plan you opt for. The 360 Standards includes 10 GB of Cloud Space, Norton 360 Deluxe has 50 GB, and finally the Norton 360 Premium offers 75 GB of space.
It is well noted that these offers are much more generous than their competition. For example, Comody’s Internet Security Complete plan offers a maximum of 50 GB storage while Kaspersky’s premium Total Security only offers a 2 GB Cloud storage for important files.
With Cloud Backup, users get to enjoy convenient access to files across various devices anywhere in the world, as long as there you have internet access. The best thing about it is that you are not tied down to only one device, and need not worry even if they get damaged, lost or stolen.
Other than extremely convenient, Norton’s cloud storage also works efficiently to protect against ransomware. Hackers these days will encrypt your sensitive files and force you to pay a ransom to decrypt it. This is where the Cloud Backup works to defend against this type of threat. Your files are always securely backed-up on the service provider’s server, so even if the original files get encrypted, you will have a copy of it with Norton.
Furthermore, the Cloud Backup features a very user-friendly interface. During set-up, Norton offers users the option to select files they want to back up, where and how often they want those files backed up. The files that you can choose to backup include pictures, office documents, and emails.
You can set Norton to run weekly or monthly scheduled backups, so you won’t need to manually do it every time. The best part is Norton’s “automatic backup” feature that works to back up all your files when you’re not using the computer. This significantly minimizes the chance of losing any data, without causing a major slowdown in work processes.
While there are other cloud storage spaces available such as Dropbox and Google, Norton’s Backup feature offers a much more superior performance, mostly because of how easy it is to run it. Overall, Norton’s Cloud Backup is one of the most excellent cloud storage services you can find online.
Quality parental control is an essential investment for any parent with young children. Fortunately, Norton’s parental control is one of the best yet. When setting up a profile for your child, Norton provides preset options for four different age groups with much stricter controls for young children and a little more freedom for older kids.
Upon setting up Parental Control, Norton even prompts users to install the “Norton Family” app on your child’s device Unsurprisingly, the app requires a lot of device permissions and Norton even took the effort to explain why each permission is required. This is great as it shows that Norton is very careful and transparent about user privacy.
The Parental Control feature even lets the user limit how much time their children can spend on their device per day. You can even impose a set curfew to disable some of the apps after a certain time of the day.
While this may be a little strict, there’s an option where kids can take a look at the House Rules imposed on them to see how Parental Control monitors and restricts their access. Fortunately, there isn’t a way for the child to disable this function, so you need not worry about them tampering with this feature.
On top of that, Norton will even send a weekly report to the main user on the children’s activity on their devices. The report contains a lot of details on their online activity without spying on your kids’ communications. While there is plenty of software available with this type of function, Norton maintains a respectful approach to monitoring your kids.
Norton’s Parental Control are quite amazing as it is with their user-friendly interface and extremely detailed customization options. However, this feature is only available for the plans that support multiple devices, such as Norton 360 Deluxe and Norton 360 Premium.
A virtual private network (VPN) works efficiently to protect users from cybersecurity when using the internet. It is generally quite crucial to have one especially when your computer is connected to public WiFi networks. It is always best to first connect to a VPN before starting to work in a café or coworking space.
Norton’s Secure VPN employs a strict “no log” policy, which means the company will not record and track your online activity when you’re surfing through their VPN service. This means users get to enjoy a truly private browsing session.
Some VPN companies might claim to be zero-logs but their fine print actually states the many ways the company is actually monitoring your browsing history. Fortunately, Norton does not do that, in fact, all your internet traffic through the Secure VPN is highly encrypted, which makes it nearly impossible for hackers to intercept your activity.
Other than that, the VPN also effectively hides your true location by connecting you to one of their secure servers across the globe, potentially allowing you access to content that is usually unavailable in your location.
Symantec holds one of the largest numbers of servers available in over 30 different countries in its field. In comparison, McAfee has servers across 22 countries and Kaspersky’s VPN servers are in 18 countries.
Furthermore, Norton Secure VPN lets you browse with unlimited data, which means unlike other antivirus companies, you won’t need to worry about throttled internet speed once you hit the quota. Kaspersky allows 300MB a day, Bitdefender 200MB a day, and Panda has a 150MB per day limit.
While you would definitely expect a slowdown in your download speeds when connected through a VPN, the speeds provided through the Secure VPN while connected to nearby servers were still good enough for high-quality 4K HD streaming.
However, the connection speed significantly dropped to a very low download and upload rate when linked through a server that is halfway around the globe. However, despite poor speeds, Norton’s VPN would be more than enough for most home-users with their strict no-logs policy and unlimited browsing data.
Norton antivirus packages include a Password Manager that offers you functions below:
- Securely store usernames, passwords, text notes, contact details, and payment card details with their 256-bit AES encryption system
- Assesses the strength of your existing passwords
- Help users generate strong passwords
- Automatically change multiple passwords
- Autofill login details, addresses, and payment information on web forms
The Password Manager runs as a browser extension. Upon installation, Norton will help create a Password Vault. The Password Vault features a clear and simple interface that can be easily navigated by users. There is even a tool on the dashboard that provides users with an overall score on the strength of their passwords.
Other than your passwords, the password manager even lets users store login credentials, payment card details, addresses, and notes. Next, Norton’s Password Manager even features an “Autochange Password” functionality that will automatically change your passwords on all compatible sites with just one single click.
Such features available on Norton’s Password Manager are quite rarely found in other services available on the market. So far, only Dashlane and LastPass offer users with such features. However, Dashlane can work on over sites which is much more than Norton’s 60.
Norton’s Password Manager also works to automatically detect username and password fields on the internet; however, it will not automatically fill in your passwords immediately. There is an icon within the password field that you’ll need to click on first. Norton mentioned this extra step is required for additional security measures.
When you key in a password that was not previously saved in the Vault, Norton will automatically offer to remember them – a function that is common within most password managers.
Other than that, the service provider also autofill addresses and payment information that you have previously saved in your Password Vault, so you won’t need to manually key them in and be susceptible to other forms of cyber-attack.
If you run out of ideas and find it quite difficult to meet all the annoying password requirements on websites, no worries as Norton’s Password Manager will help do the work for you. It is able to generate a strong password with up to 64 different characters, including a combination of upper and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols.
The Password Manager feature is truly quite impressive. While Norton’s add-on is not quite up to standard as the world’s top password managers such as Dashlane, Norton Password Manager is still definitely worth trying.
Ease of Use
Although Norton once holds a bad reputation for being sluggish and complicated to use, fortunately, that is long in the past. Norton has spent years developing and improving their interface to create an easy-to-use and efficient antivirus application that is pleasing to use.
The installation will only take a few minutes and the service provider even includes a guided tour to help you set everything up with ease. On top of that, users get to even choose between 2 different interfaces: “My Norton” and “Classic” option, depending on individual preferences.
Norton’s software even offers a very high level of customization to let users make the most out of the software. You also have the option to exclude certain folders or files from going through the scan to help you save time. On top of that, users can even arrange for scheduled tasks to run, such as clearing browser history and automatic backup.
However, there is one minor complaint regarding the interface. Norton does not offer a desktop application for its Password Manager – it only works as a browser extension, which should not really bother most users. All-in-all, Norton is very fast and simple to use. It should be able to keep most users, whether you’re a novice home user or cybersecurity geek fairly satisfied.
All Norton 360 plans come with a Norton Mobile Security. Norton offers a free trial on their mobile app for you to try out for 30 days. The Mobile Security offers some great features which include:
- Malware scanning and real-time malware protection
- WiFi Scan
- Web Protection
- Link Guard
- Safe Search
- App Advisor
Norton also has other features available for mobile devices, but users will need to download separate apps for them:
- Norton Password Manager
- Norton Parental Control
- Norton Secure VPN
First thing’s first, the mobile app features a very straight forward interface that displays all the available functions in the app itself. The scanning function on the mobile app would easily detect viruses on your phone and the App Advisor feature recognizes virus-containing apps and warns users against installing it.
The mobile app also works against phishing scams and malicious websites by scanning and checking site destinations when you open a link outside of your browser. The LinkGuard feature can even be integrated with all the browsers installed on your device to verify all the sites you go to.
Norton also has an Anti-Theft feature; however, it is not available on iOS devices. Some of the tools included in the app are:
- Scream to emit a loud noise
- Sneak Peek to remotely activate your front camera
- Sim Card Lock
Overall, the Norton Mobile Security is one of the fastest, most user-friendly, and full-feature app available. However, it is worth noting that the Android app fares better than the iOS app.
Norton antivirus comes with a few modes of customer support to assist users facing difficulty, which includes:
- 24/7 phone support
- Live chat
- Community support forum
The FAQ section on Norton’s website is very comprehensive and well-organized that users can look through for help. Unlike most companies, it is noted that Norton does not an email support option. While it is not the best format for support, the email support option is still one of the most favored modes of communication by users.
The live chat section immediately directed me to an agent online who was extremely helpful. Norton’s technician will offer to take the remote access of your computer to help resolve your issues. However, if you decide against it, they will be more than happy to give you a step-by-step guide to walk you through your problem.
Their 24/7 phone support is handled by a helpful and polite technician that was able to answer any questions you have. Overall, Norton offers plenty of great support channels to assist customers through any difficulties.
Norton 360 Plans and Pricing
In terms of pricing, Norton comes in three different plants with pretty much every feature available in all of them. However, the two more expensive plans include more licenses, such as Cloud Storage space and access to the Parental Control feature.
This pricing structure also means that every customer gets to enjoy the best that Norton has to offer without having to suffer through the annoying upsells that most other brands have. However, it is worth noting that Norton does not offer a free option; instead, all of their 360 plans include a 60-day money-back guarantee if you do find that their services are not up to your satisfaction.
Norton 360 Standard
Norton’s most basic plan offers the following features that work on PC< Mac, smartphones, or tablets:
- Can work on 1 device
- Protection against all types of malware (viruses, spyware, and ransomware)
- Customizable, on-demand scans and real-time protection
- Up to 10 GB of PC Cloud Backup
- Secure VPN
- Norton Password Manager
- Norton Firewall for PC and Mac
- 100% Virus Protection Promise
- SafeCam for PC to prevent unauthorized access to your webcam
Norton’s most basic plan offers complete internet security and is much more generous than many bottom-tiered antivirus products available now. Most competitors offer only the very basic functions, but Norton includes a lot of valuable extras in their cheapest plan.
If you only work on one device, this is the best plan you can choose that could save you plenty of money.
Norton 360 Deluxe
The 360 Deluxe is the next plan offered after the basic standard package. It offers the same features as the Standard with additional other features:
- 5 licenses for multiple devices
- 50 GB of Cloud Storage with Cloud Backup feature
- Parental Control
Smaller families should make the upgrade as there is the 360 Deluxe offers a large increase in value with 5 more times of licenses and 5 times more storage space. The Deluxe package even provides users with access to one of the best parental control software on the market.
Norton 360 Premium
Norton’s 360 Premium package is the most expensive plan on offer, and it includes all the features in Norton 360 Standard and Deluxe, plus
- 10 licenses for multiple devices
- 75 GB of Cloud Storage with Cloud Backup feature
This package is the best option if you have a large family. So if you were to have a family of five, with Norton 360 Premium, each person could protect up to 2 different devices.
The bottom line is the Norton Antivirus scores impressively in independent lab tests and our hands-on tests. It offers a wealth of useful features that work smoothly and efficiently. There is certainly a lot to like about Norton’s accurate, lightweight, fast, and feature-packed antivirus package.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a free version of Norton antivirus?
There are some free Norton cybersecurity tools available for download for PC users, but unfortunately, none for Mac users. These tools include a virus scanner and password manager. However, none of their popular products come with free versions.
Is Norton compatible with my operating system?
Norton is compatible with major operating systems to suit Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android users. However, you’ll need to have the versions below to be able to use the app:
Windows version: Windows XP (32-bit) Home/Professional with Service Pack 3 or above
Mac: OS X 10.7.5(Lion) or above
Android: Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) or above
iOS: iOS 8 or above
Does Norton scan external hard drives for viruses?
Norton’s antivirus software does scan external hard drives for viruses. Just make sure that your external hard disk is connected to your computer during the Full System Scan.