Norman Antivirus & Antispyware: Substandard Antivirus Software

Introduction

Norman may not be as well known as their similar sounding competitor Norton, but the Norway-based company have been in the security business for more than a decade. This review will look at their latest anti-malware product: Norman Antivirus and Antispyware (NAA).

Installation and Setup (2 out of 5)

NAA is easy to install, but it's certainly a long(ish) process at the end of which a reboot is required. On my test machine, NAA took about 7 minutes to install. By way of comparison, Norton AntiVirus installed in under a minute and didn't require that the system be restarted.

The product requires no configuration unless you want to alter the default settings, which most people will probably not need to do.

Uninstallation proved to be much more challenging than installation – NAA stubbornly refused to be removed.

Features (3 out of 5)

NAA has most of the features you would expect to find in an antivirus solution: it supports scheduled, on-demand and real-time scanning and also scans email, instant messenger and newsgroups communications for threats. Because NAA works at the protocol level, it will work with any email, IM or NNTP client (which is good news for people who use something other than one of the mainstream products).

There are, however, a couple of rather odd omissions. Like most antivirus solutions, NAA uses heuristic (or behavior-based) detection in addition to signature-based detection. But unlike most solutions, NAA does not enable you to adjust the sensitivity of its heuristic engine. Consequently, you cannot increase sensitivity in order to enhance detection and nor can you decrease it in order to reduce false-positives. NAA also does not offer any form of centralized management to enable you to manage and monitor the installations across your home network.

Performance (2 out of 5)

NAA had a noticeable impact on the performance of the test machine with the time taken to open files, folders and programs all increasing. Boot time was also increased.

Help and Support (1 out of 5)

NAA's help is completely substandard. The Help link in the program simply takes you to the company's support web page where it's far from easy to find information. I didn't get a single hit when I searched on the word "uninstall". Frustratingly, the support web page displayed in a mixture of English and Norwegian (see image below). Go figure!

Price to Value (1 out of 5)

NAA costs $49.95 for a 1 year/user license. According to NAA's website, a 1 year/3 user license costs $149.95 – that's $0.10 more than the cost of 3 individual licenses (most peculiar!). Whatever, the product is pretty darned expensive. By way of comparison, Norton AntiVirus and McAfee VirusScan both cost $39.99 while BitDefender costs only $24.95 for a 1 year/3 user license (to save you doing the math, that's $124.96 less than you'd pay for a comparable NAA license).

The Bottom Line

NAA has little going for it. The product is expensive, impacts performance, has below average detection capabilities and unhelpful Help. My advice: if you're thinking about buying NAA, don't. There are much better solutions on the market. Norton AntiVirus, ESET NOD32, Kaspersky Anti-Virus or even a free product such as AntiVir or Avast! will serve you much better.

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