What is Norton Internet Security?
Norton Internet security is an advanced set of programs that aim to keep you safe while online. The first is a firewall program, which acts as a physical barrier between your computer and the Internet, and the second is an anti virus program, designed to find and remove any virus threats.
The set of program can be bought for around £50 in high street computer stores. I managed to buy it for half price as part of a package, and there are often special offers which apply to the software. I know a while ago the program came free with a flash drive, and there are always coupons available on the net and in other programs boxes, but I am not sure what is available at the moment.
The program comes on one disk, and takes around 10mins to install from start to finish. It will run on even very basic systems but you may find installation times vary with the speed of your computer. There are helpful instructions throughout the process and you can choose to install with default options or customised.
Once installed, the program automatically connects to the main server to obtain updates for its virus definitions. This is a lengthy process as the files you are downloading can be in excess of 50mb, especially on older versions of the software. You may have to run the update process (called live update) twice, as some of the patches need to be installed in a specific order.
The live update feature can be configured to check automatically for updated, or check on a pre scheduled basis. It can also be run manually, which I would advise you to do if you have a dial up Internet connection, as the update process could take you the best part of half an hour. If you have broadband then you may notice a small drop in connection speed, but your surfing shouldnt be affected.
The firewall software is the main defence against malicious viruses, and prevents any such programs from entering your network. It can be configured using the options menu, where you can change the alerting level, programs allowed to access the Internet and our network settings. You can also configure the general rules for programs and ports, which is a bit beyond me, but is there anyway!
The intrusion detection feature protects and alerts you to any possible attacks by hackers or programs. Internet Security then blocks the attacking computer for 30mins (to make the attacker, get bored and go somewhere else! You can change the type of attacks blocked, and permanently block any ip addresses. You can also trace any intrusions using the intrusion tracker software. Which in theory allows you to report their location to Symantec.
Privacy control allows you to add personal data to the program for it to protect. It will warn you when you are revealing it and warn you if you are sending your details out to an unsecured website. Useful if you do a lot of online shopping. You can add all your personal details under the options tab. You can even stop any of your personal data from being revealed, including tracking cookies and bank details, which means you cant accidentally reveal them!
The add blocker is in my opinion, one of the best features of the program. Not only is it a comprehensive pop up blocker it is also blocks banners and adds. It Is so good, that since I have installed the program 6months ago, I have forgotten what a popup is! Furthermore I never realised how much advertising there is on some sites, when I turned the security off, I found many sites littered with banners which the program had simply blocked! This leads to many sites loading up quicker than ever! The only problem I have found is not with the software, but with the sites I am trying to surf. For example, Norton wont let me open certain site if the sites script is unsafe or is full of advertising. So in some instances it is too safe, as a mistake I the websites design can prevent it from being viewed.
Spam filtering is also included in the program, this acts to scan and block unwanted emails from your inbox if you use programs like outlook. This is now pretty standard with most email providers, but gives you the option to block email with specific words and phrases.
Norton anti virus is also included with the package, and can be accessed through the Internet security panel. This allows you to scan your entire system for any signs of viruses or Trojans, which may undermine your security or be a threat to your system. An entire system scan can take up to half an hour, but a smart scan will only take 10mins and will pick up any threats or suspicious files. Norton will automatically remove the infected files, or if it cannot, it will alert you and give you instructions on how to do this. In many cases this means restarting your computer in safe mode and running the system scan again.
There is also an added security monitor panel, which allows you to test your own computers defences, and provided statistics on the results. You can also block any traffic if you feel you are out of your depth. I have ever had to use this feature, and can only imagine that you would use it in the event of a sustained attack, or in the event of some kind of remote program causing your system damage.
The program comes with a little status bar, which sits at the side of your screen and alerts you to any threats or messages. the quick launch icon also shows the state of the program, and tells you if it on or off, and if there has been any security alerts.
On installation, you can choose to set up parental controls if you wish. I didnt chose to do this but have used the feature before and found that although reliable and accurate. The parental control list takes about 60seconds to load up when you surf the Internet, 60 seconds which I assure you will feel like a life time, and which I am not prepared to wait!
· Running Norton anti virus does take up reasonable amount of processing power, causing your computer to run slower than normal.
· Running both windows firewall and Norton Internet Security will slow your Internet connection down, as in effect the data has to run through 2 programs before it is allowed onto you computer. To solve this, it is a good idea to turn off Windows Firewall using the option in network and internet connections in control panel
· The program is slow to respond and does not run as smoothly as other security software programs. Especially when responding to your commands.
· The remote tracking feature of the program is pretty basic and useless in my opinion! Often if someone is attacking you, they are intelligent enough to
· protect themselves. However in some cases it is funny to see that they are supposedly basing their attack from somewhere like your very house!
However I continue to use the software because when I am using it I feel safe and secure. Something that I doubt I would feel if I was using another companies software.