PAT PILCHER dives deep into security to check out Norton’s latest offering.
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Norton Security Premium
Witchdoctor rating: 9/10
Critics argue that one of the ironies of computer security is that by using scare tactics to market their wares, cybersecurity companies often achieve the very opposite of their intended goal as security issues become wallpaper, competing for attention in an already crowded online media world.
There may be a small amount of truth to this, but the reality is that online security is a chaotically complex task thanks to the mish-mash of platforms in use in most homes and workplaces.
Adding to this is an increasingly sophisticated array of security threats.
Symantec is well aware of this.
They’ve designed Norton Security Premium to play nice with Windows, macOS, Android and iOS gear. Premium comes with all the bells and whistles of Norton Security, and just for good measure, a cross-platform parental control system and a comprehensive (but Windows only) backup utility.
With Norton Security Premium You get five licenses. This means you can install and use it on all the tablets, PCs, phones likely to be in use throughout your home, with 25GB of cloud storage bundled for online backups.
Norton Security Premium really is excellent value when you do the maths. It usually sells in New Zealand for $169.99, protecting five devices, but is currently on sale for $114.99. On a per-license basis, this works out at less than what most people would spend on coffee a week when all five licenses are used.
Norton Security has a strong track record in independent malware protection tests and its firewall is also highly rated. The only fly in the ointment is a lingering perception that it is a bloated resource hog – however, numerous re-designs and optimisations over recent years have transformed it into a lean, resource efficient option.
The firewall wins points as it seems to operate with some serious smarts. In use, this means it won’t bombard you with annoying popups to verify any system or network activity. Add to this robust integration with the Norton security engine and an industrial-strength spam filter, and there’s a lot to like.
The Android version is surprisingly full-featured. Aside from the expected antivirus capabilities, there is also an anti-theft/lost phone function, and it can scan apps as they install to notify you of any dangers they may pose.
Norton’s backup widget is a pleasant bonus as it is supplied at no additional cost. It’s web-based but only allows backups to the secure cloud drive. Being able to back up to a locally connected NAS (Network Attached Storage) would have been really useful.
Parental controls are also industrial strength. They get managed online while an app on a child’s device does the heavy lifting. Once a profile is created for each child (there are no limits to the number of child profiles), you can set rules to limit internet time and what content can be accessed. Being application-based does mean however that cyber-savvy kids can log into a proxy with an unsupported browser (Microsoft’s Edge for instance) and be free of any content filtering.
Norton Security Premium is an ideal solution for cross-platform multi-device homes. It works well, and thanks to its elegant and uncluttered user interface, you needn’t be a boffin to use it. If you can use all five licenses, its economics are especially compelling.