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Norton Internet Security 2015
VERSION:  Windows 7 / Vista / XP, 1-3 Users

PRICE:  $69.99

Other Norton Software:
Norton AntiVirus 2015 download
Rating: Excellent

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Information Below:  Review, Screenshots, System Requirements

Review of Norton Internet Security 2011

    By Jay Andrew Allen

Symantec Over the past several years, Norton's combination of spectacular performance and solid features has never failed to impress. Norton Internet Security 2011 builds on this history with several modifications to existing features, as well as a new feature that scans user's Facebook profiles for malicious links.

UPDATE: The new Norton 2012 Beta has been released. Read our review to see the features of this 2012 offering.

1) Features & Ease of Use:  11/15

The Norton Dashboard feels less like an anti-virus platform and more like a high-tech defense interface developed for NORAD. The upper portion of the Dashboard provides quick links for launching scans and accessing Norton's rich feature set, including Parental Controls and Network Protection. Also included are 12 toggles for enabling and disabling Norton's rich suite of security protections. Clicking on the name of one of these features activates a handy tooltip window that explains the protection in more detail.

Norton 2011 Dashboard:

View Larger Norton Screenshots

The bottom portion of the Dashboard consists of four enhanced features, which users can cycle through using the buttons on the bottom right corner. By default, Norton Internet Security displays the Activity Map, an up-to-date picture of worldwide virus activity. While intriguing, it's hard to see how this provides value to the majority of users. Fortunately, the other features available from the lower-right panel (discussed below in "Existing Features") provide more bang for the buck.

New Features:
Most of Norton Internet Security 2011's new features are enhancements to existing functionality. The exception is Norton Safe Web for Facebook, available from the Scan menu off of the Dashboard. With a single click, Norton scans your Facebook Wall for any links that lead to malicious Web sites, and removes them on your behalf. Given the prevalence of Facebook-based scams, this is a welcome addition to Norton's suite of protections.

Several other features have received major upgrades. In its previous version, Norton Internet Security kept track of the reputation score of files, which it calculated based on the file's trust level, its age, and its prevalence on other computers. Norton Internet Security 2011 adds Reputation Scan, which can provide a reputation report for either your full system hard drive, or select files and folders on your local disks.

Finally, Norton has greatly increased the scope of Download Insight, which scans file downloads for malware. Download Insight now supports every major browser (including Chrome, Safari and Opera), most chat/Instant Messaging platforms (Google, MSN, Yahoo, etc.), major e-mail clients, and the most popular peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing clients.

Existing Features:
Besides its bevy of automatic protections against both known and unknown threats, Norton provides a number of utilities to safeguard against malicious data and Web sites. The Safe Web feature (available by clicking Safe Web on the bottom right of the Dashboard) enables users to review safety reports on Web sites prior to visiting them.

Norton places a premium on system performance. Its Performance tab displays how many resources it is using relative to the rest of the system, and also measures spikes in CPU and memory usage caused by other applications. If an application starts hogging too many resources, Norton will produce a System Tray pop-up.

One feature we found disappointing was Norton's Online Family, which is available from the Dashboard by selecting the Parental Controls link. In order to monitor family Internet activity, you must sign up for Online Family on the Norton Web site using your log in, and then download the Norton Safety Minder application. This seemed senseless, especially considering that Norton's rival Kaspersky includes a rich set of parental controls directly in Kaspersky Internet Security 2011.

Sandbox execution is a feature offered by Norton's competitors, but lacking in Norton itself. Kaspersky's Safe Run or Avast's Sandbox can both execute potentially malicious applications in a limited execution environment, which limits the damage they can inflict. Norton seems to rely more on a combination of quarantining dangerous files, performing pro-active scanning, and providing reputation reports to users.

2) Virus Scanner:  4/5

Norton provides a wide variety of scan types, including Full Scan, Quick Scan, and Custom Scan. Facebook Wall Scan extends virus scanning into the world's most popular social media network, while Reputation Scan provides users with information for making sound judgments about the applications installed on their system.

Norton Virus Scanner:

View Larger Norton Screenshots

Speed: On our reference system*, Norton scanned our 1GB test file matrix in a speedy 32.5 seconds, which comes out to around 31.5MB scanned per second. This places Norton in the top four applications in this market class. Other metrics - such as Reboot Time, Memory Use, and MP3 File Conversion Time - showed Norton places a relatively light burden on the performance of the operating system (discussed in the next section). (See Scan Speed Comparison)

Updates: When it comes to keeping its virus definition database updated, Norton is the undisputed champion: Internet Security 2011 updates its definitions an average of 257 times per day! (See Updates Per Day Comparison)

*Reference Computer:  Windows 7 Home Premium running on a Toshiba Pentium Dual-Core T4200 (64 bit), with 3GB of RAM and a 210GB hard drive.

3) Performance Testing:  9.5/10

Norton Internet Security's sibling program, Norton Antivirus has consistently been at the top of our Performance Tests over the last few years. Below we see if Norton Internet Security 2011 fares as well performance-wise.

Memory Use: Norton 2011 uses 8 MB of system memory. #1 ranked program of the 15 Internet Security programs we tested.

Reboot Time: Norton added 9.2 seconds to our test computer's reboot time. #3 ranked program.

Installation Size: Norton Internet Security 2011 requires 447 MB of hard-drive space for installation. #8 ranked program.

Initial Scan Speed: Norton Internet Security scans files the first time at a speed of 31.5 MB/s. #4 ranked program.

Subsequent Scan Speed: Norton performs subsequent scans at a speed of 117.7 MB/s. #8 ranked program.

Initial Application Launch: Norton 2011 added 0.385s to launch a web browser for the first time after a reboot. #7 ranked program.

Subsequent Application Launch: Norton added 0.082s on average for subsequent web browser launches. #1 ranked program.

File Conversion Time: Norton added 0.12s on average to convert a MP3 file to four other file types. #1 ranked program.

System Impact Score: The "System Impact Score" is a cumulative score tallied from the above 8 software tests (15 points given for a #1 rating, while 1 point is given for 15th place for each test). Norton Internet Security scored a total of 94 out of 120 points when compared to the other Internet Security programs tested. This placed Norton as the #1 ranked overall program we tested this year. Just like Norton AntiVirus 2011, Norton Internet Security has the least system impact of any program in its class.

View above Internet Security Performance Tests.

4) Effectiveness: (Virus/Malware Detection) 13.5/15

Effectiveness of Norton Internet Security 2011

5) Help & Support:  4/5

»On-Screen Assistance: Norton does an excellent job of providing tooltips and other inline text to explain unfamiliar concepts and cryptic acronyms. As discussed above, clicking on the names of any of the automatic protections provided by Norton unveils a full explanation of the feature.

»Local Help: The local help file supplied by Norton is complete, detailed, and well written. Additionally, Norton features over two dozen task-specific tutorials on its Web site.

»Online Support: The Support->Get Support command unveils a "One-Click Support" dialog that runs an AutoFix scan before opening a chat session with a live support engineer. This scan took 10 minutes to complete on our system. Most users will likely prefer surfing directly to Norton's Customer Support page, where you can initiate a Live Chat session or call a Technical Support specialist without the rigmarole. Norton also supplies a Knowledge Base of information that can be searched directly from the Get Support screen.

»Quick Support Links:

     • Norton Internet Security 2011 Support Home
     • Contact Norton Technical Support


Norton Internet Security 2011 sports some fantastic features, such as System Performance monitoring, Facebook Wall scans, and Reputation Scans. While its decision to forego a full security sandbox is questionable, its expanded Reputation tools help compensate for this short sight. The application's robust performance, light footprint, and up-to-the-minute virus definition updates should ensure that Norton remains the best Internet Security program for at least another year.

Overall Rating: Very Good    (Total Score: 42 / 50 = 4 Stars)

*Installation Time:  43 seconds (excluding time taken for updates)

Misc Info:

    • Version Tested: (2011)
    • Release Date:
    • Review Date:
    • Last Updated:
June 27, 2011
    • Previous Version:
Norton Internet Security 2010
    • Other Norton Software:
Norton AntiVirus 2011, Norton 360 v5.0

Useful Articles:

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Norton Internet Security 2011 Screenshots

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Norton Internet Security 2011 System Requirements:

Windows XP: Home/Professional/Tablet PC/Media Center with Service Pack 2 or later (32-bit).

Windows Vista: Starter/Home Basic/Home Premium/Business/Ultimate (32-bit and 64-bit).

Microsoft Windows 7: Starter/Home Basic/Home Premium/Professional/Ultimate (32-bit and 64-bit).

Minimum Requirements:

    • 300 MHz or better processor for Windows XP, 1 GHz for Windows Vista & Windows 7
    • 256 MB of RAM memory
    • 450 MB available hard-drive space
    • CD-ROM or DVD drive (if not installing via Download)

Browser support for Vulnerability Protection:

    • Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 or newer (32-bit only)
    • Mozilla Firefox 3.0 or newer (32-bit only)

Support for Anti-Spam:

    • Microsoft Outlook 2002 or later
    • Microsoft Outlook Express 6.0 or later
    • Windows Mail (spam filtering only)

Email scanning supported for standard POP3 and SMTP-compatible email clients.

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