The first and best-known of all Internet Security brands, Norton has several iterations in its range, from Anti-Virus, through Internet Security, to 360 and 360 Multi-Device. 360 includes core modules to cover anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-spam, a two-way firewall and browser protection, but also provides parental control, online storage, online backup, PC tune-up and identity protection. See all software reviews.
The whole suite is controlled from a single window showing four yellow panels on a white background; not the easiest of colour schemes to work with. These four panels are labelled Security, Identity, Backup and Tuneup, with Security covering scans, update and the program’s firewall. See all CD/DVD autoring reviews.
Identity deals with online protection and the Identity Safe, backup offers to create and manage backup sets and to buy more storage, and Tuneup leads to disk optimisation, file cleanup, a diagnostic report and a start-up manager.
A separate Tasks panel makes it easy to drill down and perform individual tasks, although one of the highlights of Norton 360 2014 is that much of its protection is automatic. Once set up with a few parameters, it can be largely left to itself and rarely interrupts with messages or alerts.
There are several extras incorporated into the product and some others that can be downloaded as needed. Safe Web provides guidance on potentially hazardous websites before you reach them and does this making use of the collective experience of its millions of customers.
Online backup is another useful extension to the core features, though a new backup job isn't that intuitive to set up and 2GB of storage between the three devices covered by the license is far from generous. Symantec isn’t the only provider with this limit, though.
Given Symantec’s past as a purveyor of the truly geeky Norton Utilities, the Tuneup module is quite basic. There’s the usual file and Registry cleanup, the ability to limit the applications that start automatically when you power up Windows and a disk optimiser. There's a reasonably useful Performance view, which flips the control panel round to show both disk and memory usage and a log of security-related events.
Quite a bit of the software is not installed by default. Obviously, the Android App needs to be downloaded onto your mobile device, if you want it, but parental control also has to be installed separately. The Facebook check application, which scans through the links your ‘Friends’ send you, is also an optional module.
In our tests, Norton 360 2014 scanned our 50GB basket of files by looking at 175,985 of them in 19 minutes, 53 seconds, giving a scan rate of 148 files/sec. This is fast and the program does a good degree of fingerprinting, as a repeat test looked at just 20,800 files.
We measured a 60 percent increase in file copy time, however, when a scan was running in the background.