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24 11 2009

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Norton AntiVirus 2010 Review

21 11 2009
Symantec's Norton AntiVirus 2010

Review of Norton AntiVirus 2010:

Norton AntiVirus is the world’s best-selling security program. However, its performance has been scrutinized over the years – especially from those in the tech community. Symantec began to address these performance concerns with their 2009 version last year – let’s see if this trend continues with Norton AntiVirus 2010…
1) Installation: (4.5 of 5)

Norton AntiVirus 2010 quickly installs in only 54 seconds and requires no system reboots. With its Download Manager and Installation Wizard, Norton is now one of the easiest Anti Virus programs to install. Long gone are the days when Norton used to take 20+ minutes to install and required multiple reboots to install (4-5 years ago).

2) Features & Ease of Use: (4.5)

Norton 2010’s user-interface has a similar look & feel to last year’s version. However, it builds upon previous versions with several new features such as Norton Download Insight and Norton File Insight which warn of dangerous downloads and files which may be threats.
Norton System Insight offers details of your computer’s resource usage so its performance can be improved. While Norton’s scheduler automatically delays updates, scans and other tasks until your computer is idle – this idle time usage should make Norton Antivirus 2010 even
less noticeable to users than it was before.

Also new this year, laptop battery life is conserved by delaying many tasks until the laptop
is once again plugged in. On top of this are the many graphs and reports that Norton 2010 has added this year – allowing it to better inform its users of their computer’s performance than previous
versions did. In many ways Norton has moved closer to the feel of Kaspersky Antivirus with its abundance of charts and graphs that clearly show users
their computer’s performance in an easily understood visual format. Overall, a great improvement to Norton’s feature-set this year.

New Features:

new! Norton Download Insight, File Insight, Threat Insight, System Insight,
and Norton Insight Network

new! SONAR™ 2 Behavioral Protection

Features Checklist:

Anti-Spyware

Anti-Rootkit

Bot Protection

Email Scanning

IM Protection

Trojan Protection

Worm Protection

Anti-Phishing (available with
Internet Security)

3) PERFORMANCE

3a) Virus Scanner: (4.5 of 5)

Norton has 3 scanning options: Quick Scan, Full System Scan, and Custom Scan. On our test computer with 70GB of used space on its hard-drive it took Norton 2010 just
27 seconds to perform its Quick Scan, while the Full System Scan took 42 minutes making it one of the fastest virus scanners on the market.

New scanning technologies this year include Norton Insight Network (based on Quorum technology) and SONAR 2 (Symantec Online Network for
Advanced Response
). These features are designed to detect whether a file is trustworthy or not based on behavioral and cloud-based data. This should result in
Norton being better able to identify files as being trustworthy or untrustworthy that would have previously fallen into the grey/unknown category. Only time will
tell how these new features perform.

Updates:

New last year (Norton 2009) was Norton’s new Pulse Update feature that automatically downloads new Virus Definitions
every 6 minutes on average (over 200 updates per day). This new feature gives you the most up-to-date protection of any antivirus program available – over
10 times more updates than its nearest competitor.

3b) Performance Testing: (4.5 of 5)

Last year marked the beginning of a new era for Norton, as they finally began to take the performance of their Antivirus software seriously. View the results below of the Antivirus tests we performed this year to see how well the 2010 version of Norton fared against its competition…

3c) Effectiveness: (4 of 5)

AV Comparatives has 2 major Virus/Malware tests each year. In the most recent test in August, the On Demand Detection Test, Norton was rated 3 out of 3 Stars. In the 2nd test, the Proactive Test, Norton didn’t perform as well – receiving a 2-Star rating.


(*AV Comparatives is an independent Antivirus testing lab in Austria
providing some of the most trusted Virus detection tests in the industry.)

ICSA Labs Certified. ICSA is an independent organization that sets standards for security products and certifies anti-virus software.
Virus Bulletin’s VB 100% Certified. Norton passed the most recent VB100 test (Oct./09), however they did fail the previous test. Of the last 46 tests (going back to November 1999) Norton has passed an impressive 45 of them. The VB 100% award is given to antivirus software that detects all viruses “in the wild.”
West Coast Labs’ Checkmark Anti-Virus Desktop Certification. WCL specializes in functionality testing, performance validation and Checkmark Certification of security products.

4) Help & Support: (4 of 5)

Symantec’s support has gotten better over the last few years. Previously the only good support was through their paid support systems. Now Symantec offers many
good free support options. The Norton support website is comprehensive and easy to use. The in-program Help Files are informative and also offer step-by-step Tutorials for major issues. The “One Click Support” within Norton 2010 automatically scans your Norton software for known issues and offers suggestions. If this doesn’t help you can use their free Chat, Email or Phone support – however, free phone support is only offered for limited program issues (virus removal and other PC problems require paid support). We tested their Email support and received a thorough response 9 hours later. Overall, despite negative opinions of Nortons support in the past, it has transformed itself into a top-tier support system.

CONCLUSION:

Norton Antivirus 2010 continues on its revitalization path that began last year towards becoming a better performing Antivirus program. Norton 2010 does have a larger installation size and requires slightly more memory than last year’s version, but Norton Antivirus 2010 is still the top of its class in terms of performance. It is now apparent that Symantec is taking the performance of its Antivirus software seriously now as shown by 2 consecutive top-rated versions.

Norton 2010 has several new weapons in its virus-scanning arsenal (Norton Insight Network and SONAR 2) which should better protect against rogue downloads and malicious files. Norton has moved over the last few years to a multi-layered approach to computer security, and its new features this year add yet another layer to your computer’s protection.

Our only real concern with Norton this year is that it did not perform as well in Malware testing as it has in previous years. Norton Antivirus passed all the major tests this year, but it received only 2 out of 3 stars in AV-Comparatives’ May testing (it did receive 3 stars in the August test). Still, despite this result,
Norton is overall the best Antivirus program that we tested.

Norton Antivirus 2010 is a good choice for computer novices and intermediates – for more advanced users we would recommend Norton Internet Security 2010
due to its added Firewall, Anti-Spam, Anti-Phishing, and other capabilities not included in Norton Antivirus – plus it can be installed on 3 computers unlike Norton Antivirus (1 computer).

Overall Rating: Excellent! (4.5 of 5)


Misc Info:

• Version Tested:
NAV 17.0.0.136