Since quite some time, Symantec’s Norton set of applications have been known to computer users — particularly the anti virus application. Over the past few years, Symantec has been bundling more and more applications into a single suite for Internet security. Recently I got my hands on a review copy of Norton 360 v6.0 and tested it on my system for a period. Lets’s see how it does.
Norton 360 packs a simplistic UI. The application’s start page is divided into 4 sections; each highlighting the various areas of protection it offers — PC Security ( Virus/Malware Prevention/Firewall), Identity ( Phishing Protection/Password Management), Backup ( file backup) and PC tuneup( general maintenance). Norton 360 also has a separate section for scheduling tasks and looking at the system performance. The start page also has an activity map of cyber-crime activity across the world.
Norton is quite well known for their anti-virus lineup. The PC security section handles tasks related to anti-virus, anti-malware, anti-spyware, intrusion prevention, incoming/outgoing email scanning and firewall.
The PC Security tab allows you to check on previous scan results, run scans on demand & check for updates to definitions. Clicking on “Run Scan” brings up the option to start an anti-virus scan. Like most anti-virus programs, there’s an option of running a quick scan which checks the most essential files, a full scan which performs a through scan and does a backup and a custom scan/task which allows you to customize what to scan and what to backup.
The scan Facebook wall is a nice feature; it goes through your Facebook Wall and checks that the posted links are safe. With additional permissions, you can configure Norton Safe Web to automatically scan links and auto-post them to your if it’s not malicious — a nice way to keep your Facebook account clean.
The identity section manages the features in ensuring your online identity is not compromised. Features included in this section are
- Norton Safe Web
- Identity safe
Norton Safe Web installs an add-on to your browser & uses Norton Safe Web service and looks up the site’s ratings and review, much like Web of Trust. Identify safe is Norton’s solution for a password manager, much like LastPass. In addition to passwords, Identity Safe also allows you to save Notes and Credit Card details — all behind a master password that you’ll need to enter to open the safe.
If you login to a site that you haven’t visited before, Norton will offer to save your credentials, which can be autofilled in when you next visit the site. This is a nice and recommended way of password management since you’ll have to remember only the master password to unlock the safe — the others will be autofilled. You can also configure Identity Safe passwords to be transferred to your Norton account so that you can access it from any computer which has internet access.
For all the nice things about Identity safe, I’m pretty disappointed because of a lack of Generate New Password option. A password manager without the capability to generate passwords is just flawed.
Norton 360 comes with a fairly basic backup solution. The backup section allows you to categorize your backups to different “sets” and further customize them. You can set a specific schedule for each set. You can schedule for a daily, weekly, monthly schedule. Alternatively, you can also set it to an automatic schedule in which case, Norton will start a backup whenever your computer is idle. You can set the destination for backup to be as other drives or to Norton’s Cloud Storage which offers up to 2GB of extra space. Additional space can be purchased as and when required.
Having said that, Norton’s Backup solution cannot perform sync — neither can it perform incremental backups. Also, though the backup can setup individual file inclusion/exclusion — you cannot set exclusions based on extensions or wildcards. I do hope this gets rectified soon.
The final section deals with small tools aiming to tweak your system performance. This section allows you to perform disk defragmentation, remove unwanted files, clear out junk from starting along with your system and view diagnostic reports.
Though the tuneup includes a “File Cleanup”, the tool can only clear out temporary files created by Windows & Internet Explorer — no Registry cleaners or even a basic cleanup the Recycle Bin routine. The Startup manager fares much better — highlighting which applications start up with your Windows installation and their relative use within the Norton 360 community.
The Startup Manager also borrows Soluto’s “Delayed start” feature, which delays the start of programs till your system is idle.
Norton 360 comes with a unique Performance tab – click on it and watch Norton flip over to performance section. The performance section records all installations, threat alerts, and performance notifications since the time you installed Norton. Clicking on the respective icons allows to pull up details the notification.
Norton also allows you to check for ratings of individual files; so if you think a particular file is suspicious, you can check up the rating of the particular file and see if the community trusts the file. You can also mark a particular file as trusted to improve the reputation.
Norton was once infamous for it’s poor performance — so much so people would rather not use anti virus than use Norton. With the recent versions, Norton’s performance has improved by quite a lot. Norton 360 v6.0 continues this, and quite fast. There was no noticeable drop in performance, even when playing performance heavy games or web browsing with loads of tabs and windows open. The real-time antivirus engine performed well and detected injected files within compressed archives and even obfuscated in DLL files.
Norton 360 retails at ₹3,085 for a year’s subscription and for up to 3 PCs. Considering the features that are available, the ease of use of the application and quick performance, Norton 360 is worth the price.
If you’re on the lookout for a complete Internet security suite which is both easy to use & offers deep configuration and customization for multiple devices, Norton 360 will suit you well.
Product Reviewed: Norton 360 Antivirus And Internet Security Suite
We review Symantec's Norton 360 Antivirus.