Norton Security (2015) review
OS Support: Windows XP SP2, Vista SP1, 7, 8, 8.1, Minimum CPU: 300MHz (XP), 1GHz (others), Minimum GPU: N/A, Minimum RAM: 256MB, Hard disk space: 300MB
Norton Internet Security is one of the most feature-packed security suites we've tested and it’s also one of the best at protecting your PC from danger. In fact, Norton achieved the highest defence score of all the products we've tested this year, batting off 99 out of 100 threats. The one threat that did slip through the net was able to compromise our test system, which is a minor negative mark on an otherwise excellent performance, and it achieved the highest protection rating of all the suites on test, racking up 292 points out of a possible 300.
As well as its top-notch level of protection, Norton Internet Security 2015 has a brand new interface. When you open the program you're presented with four tabs, each of which has four large buttons that cover the main elements of its capabilities. The Security tab lets you run scans, update your software and virus definitions, look at historical data and customise the various constantly running protection services it provides.
The Identity tab, meanwhile, lets you set up Norton's useful password and credit card data tool, Identity Safe. The Performance tab contains the slightly more vague disk optimisation tools which amounts to a defrag program and a tool which is seemingly only capable of finding temporary internet files in Internet Explorer, which rather limits its usefulness. The final tab, More Norton, gives you access to family and mobile tools.
More complex settings are easy to access and are displayed in a clear manner, with green, yellow and red toggle switches letting you know which services are switched on and off.
^ The settings area of Norton Internet Security is simple but intuitive
While malware protection is clearly top-notch, we were slightly bemused by the results of the scan we undertook on our clean PC. While other security software we test often finds outdated software, which could potentially present a security risk, all Norton could find was two cookies that it promptly deleted without asking. Granted, these tracking cookies were for Google's DoubleClick advertising network and we can't say we'll miss them, but it seems slightly overzealous to us.
Fortunately, Norton wasn't too onerous when it came to legitimate software. Of the 100 applications we installed on our test PC, one was blocked completely without giving us a choice, while another required a dialogue box to confirm that we actually wanted to install the program.
^ Running a diagnostic report within Norton Internet Security will give you information about PC problems
The Diagnostic Scan tool allows you to find and eliminate minor problems with your PC such as slow startup speeds and incompatible hardware, although typically Norton just creates a list of your problems and invites you to deal with it yourself. Still, it's a handy way of seeing all your PC woes in one place. Norton also offers to scan your Facebook wall for unsafe links, which is a bit of a gimmick that we wouldn't recommend unless you're concerned your Facebook account has been hijacked.
Norton Internet Security 2015 is a terrific security suite with a wide range of features. With great malware protection and equally good legitimate software recognition, it's our Best Buy for 2015.