Symantec's Norton Internet Security 2008 suite offers solid security protection and features, including very good behaviour-based defence against unknown threats.

Symantec's Norton Internet Security 2008 security suite (£49 for up to three PCs) is easy to use and comes with a host of extra security features, such as a separate Security Inspector scan that warns about unsafe browser settings and other potential security holes. It was the only suite in our recent testing that didn't cry wolf by reporting at least one false positive.

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Symantec Norton Internet Security 2008 detected an above-average 91 percent of AV-Test.org's 674,589 malware samples. This results put the Norton suite close behind the Avira Premium Security Suite, BitDefender Internet Security 2008, Checkpoint ZoneAlarm Internet SecuritySuite 7.1, and Kaspersky Internet Security 7.0 packages, each of which detected 95 percent or more of the malware samples.

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Nevertheless, a 4 percent difference in detection rates represents a difference of 26,983 undetected samples. Symantec Norton Internet Security 2008 produced the second-worst showing on AV-Test's heuristic tests, catching only 10 percent of samples when required to use one-month-old signature files to detect unknown malware based on similarities to existing code.

Symantec Norton Internet Security 2008 did outperform the other programs at getting rid of infections. It cleaned up 80 percent of all files and Registry entries added by malware.

In particular, Symantec Norton Internet Security 2008 is a champ at fighting rootkits - malware designed to hide other malware. It detected every active and inactive rootkit sample, and successfully neutralised those infections.

Symantec Norton Internet Security 2008 was one of only two programs we've tested recently to detect and block unidentified malware based solely on the way it behaved, but even so it caught just one sample out of five.

In our tests, on-demand (user-initiated) scans were more than 50 percent faster with Symantec Norton Internet Security 2008 than with the next-fastest suite (Avira Premium), yielding an impressive data-analysis rate of 16.07 megabytes per second. And those on-demand scans look inside file archives, where crooks frequently hide malicious payloads. (On the other hand, Symantec Norton Internet Security 2008's automatic scans, which check files as your system saves them to the hard drive, won't check file archives unless you change the default settings).

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