The latest version of the ever-popular Norton Internet Security brings some much needed updates and improvements to an otherwise first-rate product that was beginning to groan under its own weight. As before, Norton Internet Security 2008 has a good collection of tools and utilities, offering all the usual ‘antis' - virus, spyware and phishing as well as a firewall. Norton Internet Security 2008 adds the Norton Identity Safe privacy tool, a network security and management tool, BrowserDefender for browser attacks plus improved help and performance.

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All in all, the Norton Internet Security 2008 feature list is very similar to that of the more expensive Norton 360, with the principal exception of the data backup. Antispam and parental controls can also be added, via the optional Add-On Pack. You can install Norton Internet Security 2008 on up to three PCs, so it offers good value for money. One surprising omission from Norton Internet Security 2008, however, is Norton AntiBot, a real-time malware detector - SONAR, for the record, only operates during scans. While you might think this protection against bots is a key element of internet security, it remains a £20 extra.

As with Norton AntiVirus 2008, Norton Internet Security 2008 has had a paint job, though the layout of the main screen is just like that of Norton Internet Security 2007. It's simplicity itself to use - if you don't see a big green tick, hit the Fix It button and Norton Internet Security 2008 will take care of it. As with Norton AntiVirus 2008, fine configuration options seem to have disappeared, making it less easy to fine tune.

Norton Internet Security 2008's antivirus and antispyware programs are taken care of by Norton AntiVirus 2008, which does an excellent job of protecting your PC. The firewall is tough and includes intrusion protection. As with most modern firewalls, Norton Internet Security 2008 does a very good job of controlling inbound and outbound network traffic. Norton Internet Security 2008's firewall is also tougher in the sense that it's very difficult (if not impossible) for malware to disable it.

Norton Internet Security 2008's new Identity Safe replaces the old Privacy Control module and is pretty good. Its job is to store password-protected cards containing personal data, contact information and credit card details. When you connect to a trustworthy web site, Norton Internet Security 2008's Identity Safe can automatically fill out an onscreen form for you. It can also store username and password information for website logins. In fact, you can use the feature to automatically visit a web page and log in for you.

Another much improved feature in Norton Internet Security 2008 is Help. If you have a problem, you should kick off with the AutoFix feature. This is capable of a modicum of self-diagnosis and cures. If that fails, Norton Internet Security 2008 allows you to invoke an online chat session with a technician who can even take control of your PC to diagnose and fix the problem. We tried it and our chat request was answered within a couple of minutes.

Norton Internet Security 2008: Specs

  • Windows XP/Vista
  • 300MHz Intel Pentium or AMD Athlon processor
  • 256MB of RAM
  • 300MB hard drive
  • Windows XP/Vista
  • 300MHz Intel Pentium or AMD Athlon processor
  • 256MB of RAM
  • 300MB hard drive

OUR VERDICT

Norton Internet Security 2008 remains as good as it ever was. A solid choice for small family networks, its antivirus and antispyware protection is very good indeed. Add to this a top quality firewall, the well-designed Identity Safe and an easy to use help system and Norton Internet Security 2008 is a winner.

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