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Symantec Norton Internet Security 2010 review

Kat Orphanides
14 Jan 2010
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
33
inc VAT

A powerful but unobtrusive internet security suite with excellent protection and plenty of features to make your online experience more secure.

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The latest version of Norton Internet Security is easy to install - no configuration was required and we didn't even have to reboot our PC.

The clearly laid-out interface provides access to Norton's key features, such as on-demand scanning, vulnerability detection and web tools that store and protect your online passwords and card details.

A settings menu provides more control over security options such as instant messenger scanning for Yahoo!, AIM, Windows Live Messenger and Trillian, along with POP and SMTP mail scanning, configuration options for the firewall and parental controls provided by Norton's OnlineFamily web filtering service. A web security plug-in integrates with Firefox and Internet Explorer to report the safety of websites and search results. Firefox users have encountered occasional problems with the toolbars disappearing after browser updates, but Symantec has resolved this with all Firefox versions up to 3.5.5 at the time of going to press.

To combat claims that the product has a heavy impact on system resources, Symantec has included monitoring tools that track your system load and Norton's footprint on it. Like most of the latest suites, Norton had a low system load, even when we carried out a full scan. As well as heuristic scanning, which identifies malicious files by analysing instructions in their code, and signature scanning, which compares files against a list of known malware, Norton 2010 uses a cloud-based reputation system called Insight to judge the safety of programs based on the experiences of other Norton users. Uncommon programs aren't blocked, but Norton will warn you if it has insufficient information on a program to guarantee its safety.

Norton was among the top performers in our tests. At no point was our system compromised, although two malicious programs left behind orphaned files that were no longer a direct threat.

A one-year three-computer licence costs £50 directly from Symantec, but the program can be bought on disc for much less. This comprehensive anti-malware suite is one of the best around, although it's not quite as cheap as Kaspersky's Internet Security 2010 .

See page 2 for benchmark results.