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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Norton 360 2014 Review

Norton Anti-Virus used to be synonymous with security software and, although there are now well over 20 rivals to the granddaddy of Internet Security (IS), it is still the best known name. These days, a simple antivirus program is base-level cover and the 2014 version of Symantec's Norton 360 includes a plethora of additional protection technologies.

The feature sets of most IS suites have stabilized over the years, so you can expect to see antivirus, anti-malware and anti-spam provision, a good two-way firewall, and probably a parental control module. The battle between rival products is now largely fought on the extras provided and, increasingly, the number of platforms covered within the same packages.

If you are upgrading from Norton 360 2013. The upgrade will take about two minutes and you don't have to reboot or uninstall the prior version first. It also activates automatically. One thing to note is if you enter a new key from a newly purchased version rather than renewing your current subscription through Symantec, the remaining time on your current subscription does not carry over. Although remaining time does carry over if you renew your current license through Symantec, I've found purchasing new licenses to usually be less expensive. Not only that but you can upgrade to the latest version using your current key by clicking the new version check link under the support tab. If you have a month or more remaining on your current subscription, I'd suggest first upgrading your current program to the newest version and waiting until you're close to the expiration date of your current license before entering the new key.

As for the program itself, other than a minor background color change from dark to light, the main interface is the same. The sub menus remain largely unchanged except for removal of the check vulnerability protection link for checking vulnerable programs you may have installed. Another change I noticed was the reputation scan link missing from the scan sub-menu. Reputation scans are just another scanning option for scanning files and programs based on their reputation in the Norton community. A new feature added is Norton power eraser. Power Eraser will now handle scanning for any grey area programs that don't register as viruses but still cause unwanted pop-ups and other annoyances or leave your system vulnerable. Norton also offers Power Eraser as a free download for anyone, even those without a Norton product installed.

Scanning times seem about the same. So really, Norton 2014 is, at least on the surface, a minor upgrade from Norton 2013. Other than whatever they changed under the hood to possibly improve scanning results, you'll be hard-pressed to notice any differences other than the changes I mentioned. I'm not sure if detection rates have improved but so far I haven't experienced any infections while using Norton 360 for the past year. There have been a few occasions where I almost entered reportedly malicious sites and Norton stopped me in my tracks. I never re-visited the sites to see if they were truly compromised or not. I'll take Norton on its word. As a precaution, I occasionally scan my system with other scanners just to see if Norton may have missed anything and my system so far has remained clean.

Price: $53 ( For 3 PC)

I can honestly say I'm happy with Norton 360. Unfortunately, for those who do frequent sites that have a high likelihood of being compromised, there isn't an antivirus in existence that won't eventually let something slip through or even be overpowered and disabled if you regularly visit risky sites. Norton 360 is great and effective if you browse responsibly but don't expect miracles if you're a high risk taker.

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