These days, keeping your computer protected from a wide variety of security threats can be a full-time job. Malicious code such as viruses, worms, and Trojan horses can infiltrate your personal computer, allowing attackers to compromise the integrity of software or even take control of your computer. Spyware, adware, and malware can track your Internet usage and plague your PC with unwanted advertisements and pop-up windows or enable others to steal your online identity. Any of these could degrade your system performance and bring your computer to its knees. It’s up to you to protect your critical information.
Fortunately, there are a number of different software packages designed to help you safeguard your computer against viruses and malicious code. The problem is determining which one will offer you the most protection. You could install a bunch of different programs to detect, protect, and repair attacks from all of these threats, or you could get an all-in-one protection suite like Norton Internet Security 2007. Having multiple utilities on your PC may help keep you safe, but trying to keep track of all of them and remembering to update and run them frequently can quickly become very unmanageable. Remember, your programs are only as good as their last update and use.
I’ve been using Norton products since their original DOS-based utilities. As a longtime Norton user, I’ve had the opportunity to try a number of their products, including Norton Antivirus, Norton SystemWorks, Norton 360, and Norton Internet Security. Each product comes with a different set of features. Norton Internet Security may not offer the PC tune-up or utility features that come with Norton 360 or Norton SystemWorks, but for pure computer security, there isn’t a better package on the market.
Price to Value (4 out of 5)
For $69.99, Norton Internet Security comes with an impressive suite of products consisting of a high quality firewall and a number of different scanners to protect users from viruses, spyware, malware, and other security threats. If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution to meet your PC security needs, then Norton Internet Security is the product for you.
PC security software isn’t hard to find, and there are a number of excellent utilities available that can meet all of your security needs. If you’re on a tight budget, you may consider purchasing individual products that cost less than Norton Internet Security. However, that means more work for you keeping those products up to date and remembering to run them frequently.
Installation & Setup (3 out of 5)
Symantec has really streamlined the installation process for Norton Internet Security compared to some of its other products. Before the installation begins, Norton will scan your system for potential security threats. This is a useful feature, as it ensures that there are no malicious programs on your PC that could interfere with the setup. Once the initial scan is complete there are very few prompts during the remainder of the installation and all of the options are installed with adequate default settings, so your PC is protected as soon as the setup is complete. At the end of the installation you’ll be prompted to create a new Norton account or sign into an existing account (if you have other Symantec products). This account stores your product key and information in case you have to re-install the product in the future. When the program launches for the first time, it will run LiveUpdate to ensure that you have all of the latest protection definitions and program updates.
It’s slow. With the except of Microsoft Windows, Norton Internet Security has the longest installation time compared to other products I’ve installed. In addition, if you purchased the product from the Symantec website, the download link only contains a 500 KB setup file. The rest of the program, approximately 46 MB, is downloaded from the Internet once you run the setup file. This means that if your Internet connection is slow, the installation process will be much more painful.
Even though Norton’s default configuration is sufficient for most people, I would prefer the choice to run a custom install that allows me to pick and choose which features are installed and how they are configured.
Finally, if you even need to uninstall Norton Internet Security, you may find it more of a challenge than you’d thought. The program is deeply rooted in your operating system and registry, and even a complete uninstall doesn’t seem to remove all of its pieces. When I tried to uninstall it and install Norton 360, I received a number of error messages and problems with the installation. Fortunately, Symantec offers a free removal tool that will completely wipe out all traces of any Symantec program from your PC. I highly recommend using this tool before trying to install any other Norton product. It does beg the question, though: If they have a removal tool that can eradicate all traces of their software, then why isn’t it built into the program uninstall to begin with?
Product Features (5 out of 5)
Norton Internet Security 2007 is a full-featured protection suite that includes Norton AntiVirus, Norton Personal Firewall, intrusion protection, spyware protection, and phishing protection. There are also additional add-on packs that you can download for free, which add additional security features such as Norton AntiSpam, Norton Parental Control, Confidential Information Blocking, and Ad Blocking. Because all of these programs are included in one protection suite, they work well together to help keep your PC secure.
As with all Norton products, Norton AntiVirus is the key component in defending your computer against unwanted attacks and other types of threats. I’ve never found a better program for detecting and removing viruses than Norton. Norton Internet Security can be configured to scan your incoming and outgoing email (to ensure you aren’t passing viruses on to others) as well as your instant messaging programs. You can perform manual scans or configure scheduled scans to run when you aren’t using your PC. When a virus is detected, you can choose to tell Norton what to do or you can allow the program to make its own decision. I’ve always found that the recommended options that are set by default work extremely well.
The next big piece of this suite is the Norton Personal Firewall. High-speed Internet access offers tremendous speed and 24-hour connectivity to the Internet, but it comes with a price. Being continuously connected to the Internet exposes your computer to a wide variety of online threats. Hackers and viruses are constantly “knocking on doors” looking for available targets. The personal firewall that comes with Norton Internet Security is a strong defense in protecting your computer from these threats. The firewall protects you from the hazards of the Internet by monitoring the types of activity or attempted activity between your computer and other networks. If Norton detects suspicious activity, it can refuse attempted connections that aren’t initiated by you (or that appear untrustworthy) unless you tell the program to allow the action.
Included in the product are tools for automatically blocking identity thieves, masking your computer from hackers, blocking spyware and adware threats, and giving you control over all incoming and outgoing Internet traffic.
You can also be certain that you always have the latest updates and current threat definitions through Symantec’s LiveUpdate feature. This can be set to automatically download and install updates without the need for user intervention.
If you choose to download the Norton add-on pack, you can increase your security by filtering out annoying spam from your email program, blocking websites that you don’t think are appropriate for your children, and blocking pop-up advertisements while you’re browsing. You can also protect any sensitive personal information from being transmitted over the Internet with the Confidential Information Blocking add-on.
I’m disappointed that Symantec doesn’t include Norton AntiSpam, Norton Parental Control, Confidential Information Blocking, and Ad Blocking as part of Norton Internet Security by default. Although you can get these in a free add-on pack, if they’re free, then why not just include them up front? The trouble with add-on packs is that many users never go out and download them so they’re missing out on all the additional security features that these programs offer. Also, the user interface doesn’t give you an easy way to find the link to where you can get these extra tools. Not having them as part of the program defeats the purpose of installing an all-in-one security suite.
I’ve noticed that with each new version of Norton, the product takes longer and longer to load once you turn on your PC. Even with a fast machine it takes three to five minutes after Windows boots before you
User Interface (4 out of 5)
If you install Norton Internet Security with its default settings, then the program will automatically scan for, and eliminate, security threats as well as provide automatic updating for you. This means that you may never have the need to access the user interface. The main user interface gives you an overview of your protection status as well as access to the configuration settings and scans that you can run. The interface is designed to be as uncomplicated as possible and it accomplishes that nicely.
If you do have the need to tweak your settings or run manual scans and updates. you may find the user interface to be a little too simplistic. Finding the different settings and configurations isn’t very intuitive and there’s no quick and easy way to get to all of them.
I’d like to see all of the programs that come with the Norton add-on pack included by default, as well as more protection for wireless networking.
For an all-in-one security solution, Norton Internet Security 2007 is a solid product. I like the ease of use and the manageability of having only one program to deal with to meet my security needs. The long boot time can get annoying at times, but the overall benefit of keeping your PC secure far outweighs a few extra minutes waiting for your PC to be ready to use.
McAfee VirusScan Plus, BitDefender AntiVirus, Trend Micro PC-cillin, Microsoft OneCare