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Security software Reviews
15,670 Reviews PC Advisor Best Buy Award

Symantec Norton Internet Security 2011 review

£49.99 inc VAT for a three PC licence

Manufacturer: Symantec

Our Rating: We rate this 4.5 out of 5

No longer the bloated, slow, and crash-prone monstrosity of yore, Symantec Norton Internet Security 2011’s security suite is now a streamlined and extremely effective antimalware application that continues to update and advance its interface and its detection rates incrementally. Updated 18 January 2011

Symantec Norton Internet Security 2011 handles unsafe Facebook links and scareware. We tested the public beta of Symantec's latest internet security suite.

Symantec Norton Internet Security 2011: Other useful changes

The earliest versions of Norton AntiVirus and Norton's security suites were notorious hogs of system resources and RAM (as were many similar security suites). However, Symantec licked that problem, especially with Norton Internet Security 2010, which is relatively lightweight.

Norton's System Insight, which reports on how Norton's suite generally affects system performance, has been improved in the latest version. It now watches individual applications as they're being used, and creates profiles of their use. It also warns users when a program is using too many system resources and slowing the system down.

There are other useful changes as well, notably to the Norton Bootable Recovery Tool, which cleans your PC of really nasty infections without booting into your operating system. Think of it as the nuclear option of PC protection, to be used only when your system and operating system are thoroughly compromised.

The previous version of the Norton Bootable Recovery Tool wasn't particularly easy to use and required that you burn an .ISO image to create a boot disc. Doing that was beyond the capability of many users, so in NIS 2011, a wizard walks you through the process of creating the boot media. No understanding of .ISO files is needed. And the boot disc can now be created on a USB flash drive - particularly important for netbook users who don't have a CD or DVD drive.

As with previous versions of the software, Symantec Norton Internet Security 2011 also includes Norton Safe Web, a browser toolbar that tells you when search results turn up any potentially dangerous sites and alerts you when you visit one. As with earlier releases, a free version of the toolbar will be available, and there is a free beta available for download now.

In addition, Symantec Norton Internet Security 2011 now includes a Reputation Scan feature that not only scans all the applications on your system and tells you their trust level, but also compares the overall trust level of the applications on your PC against the average trust level of other users of the software. (Trust level is based on a variety of factors, including the number of people who have the application installed and whether people have reported that the application is malware.) This is gives you a quick snapshot of the general overall safety of the applications on your PC.

The beta is available for free from the Norton Beta Center. Once it's downloaded, you have seven days to activate it for free by filling in a registration form. You'll get a 14-day registration period, then another 14-day registration period. After those periods end, you'll have to reinstall the beta to keep testing it. Norton does that because it expects a new version of the beta to be available by then and wants to make sure that only the newest versions of the beta are being tested. Symantec Norton Internet Security 2011 offers some solid incremental improvements over the previous version of the suite, notably the ability to scan Facebook links and protect against scareware. When the final version of the program is ready, probably sometime in September, anyone using the previous version of Norton will be able to upgrade without additional cost, as long as they have a current subscription. And those who use other security programs would do well to consider it too. Remember: download the Symantec Norton Internet Security 2011 beta only if you are comfortable using beta software, and you are aware of the risks entailed.

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

Download Norton Internet Security 2011

See also: Group test: 13 internet security suites compared

No longer the bloated, slow and crash-prone monstrosity of yore, Symantec’s security suite is now a streamlined and extremely effective antimalware application that continues to incrementally update and advance its interface and its detection rates.
Delving into the Norton Command Centre at first feels a bit like wandering into a jumbo jet’s flight deck, with all manner of toggles that let you control what’s up and running. Acronyms are used liberally; hovering over each item gives you a clue as to what each one means, but you needn’t bother yourself with much of it. Norton Internet Security turns on just about everything by default, leaving you with cast-iron protection. Under those default settings, it was one of the most secure and effective programs we tested.
Norton’s test results are solid across the board: it fully blocked
24 of 25 real-world attacks, tying it top, and it detected 98.7 percent of samples of known malware, another excellent result.
False positives were almost non-existent, and the suite’s overall speed, while not exemplary, was acceptable. Norton tied for the top score in removing active malware components (at 80 percent) and its combined rating for security and performance put it in first place. In no single technical area did Norton show anything other than very good results, and its overall combined rating for security and performance put it at the very top of all the products we reviewed.
An especially impressive add-on is the Norton Identity Safe password manager, which is part of the suite’s web browser toolbar and installed by default. Identity Safe is one of those utilities that you’ll quickly find you can’t live without.

Verdict: With solid protection across the board and some impressive test results, Norton easily earned our Best Buy crown.
Symantec Norton Internet Security 2011 Expert Verdict »

Microsoft Windows XP/Vista/7
300MHz or faster processor
256MB RAM
300MB of available hard disk space
CD-ROM or DVD drive
  • Overall: We give this item 9 of 10 overall

With solid protection across the board and some impressive test results, Norton easily earned our Best Buy crown.

  • Symantec Norton Internet Security 2010 review

    Symantec Norton Internet Security 2010

    Symantec's Norton Internet Security 2010 has a comprehensive set of features, top-notch malware detection, and reasonable speed. Updated, 9 April 2010.

  • Symantec Norton Internet Security 2008

    Symantec Norton Internet Security 2008

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

  • Kaspersky Internet Security 2011 review

    Kaspersky Internet Security 2011

    Known for being a power user's anti-malware tool, Kaspersky has quietly developed its internet security suite into a somewhat kinder, gentler application. Kaspersky Internet Security 2011 is rather more suitable for the masses.

  • Symantec Norton Internet Security 2012 review

    Symantec Norton Internet Security 2012

    Norton Internet Security 2012 is in internet security suite that works lightly and efficiently.

  • Symantec Norton Internet Security 2009 review

    Symantec Norton Internet Security 2009

    The strong Symantec Norton Internet Security 2009 suite may cost a little more than some competitors, but it’s easy to use and good at blocking malicious software. Updated, 16 June 2009.


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