Norton 360 version 5Â introduces some useful new features, bringing recent improvements to Norton Internet Security 2011Â and improving the program’s features.
Version 5 of Norton 360 includes the real-time threat map along with all the features that were introduced in Norton’s 2011 consumer suites last fall. These include updates to Norton’s Insight engine, which instantly checks a file’s origins and how long it’s existed to determine how safe it is. The new version of System Insight also profiles your programs to determine if any of them are slowing down system performance, and automatically alerts you when a program is eating up too many resources.
There’s also the Norton Bootable Recovery Tool, which will clean heavily infected systems enough to get Norton 360 installed, and can create a rescue tool on disc or USB so that your computer can be resuscitated. The backup features in Norton 360 have been improved, too, adding in automatic file encryption to the backup process. Lastly, Norton Safe Web’s social-media scanner has been imported from Norton Internet Security 2011. Currently, it still only supports Facebook, though that’s a good start: it will check your Facebook wall and news feeds from within Norton. There’s also a link in the threat map to Norton’s new Cybercrime Index, a free online service which summarizes the real-time threatscape in a Body Mass Index-style number and provides a lot of threat-related data.
Norton has a smooth and fast installation operation. Once you run the installer, the program is ready to operate in about a minute–impressively fast. The installation process is also the first time that you will interact with Quorum, Norton’s behavior-based detection engine. You’ll be asked to participate by sending anonymous data to Symantec’s cloud. Opting out of the data submission, according to Symantec, will not affect your security.
Norton 360 contains some changes to its interface. It has an attractive dark theme, punctuated by yellow text, and the large graphic security status indicator is in the taskbar and system tray icons.
Security controls have been condensed into three sections in the main window: computer protection, network protection, and Web protection. To the right of each category is a series of controls, which by default are all active. Click on one, and its gold indicator moves to the right and changes color to red to show that it’s been deactivated. A window then pops up, asking for how long you’d like to deactivate the service.Â Click on the name of a control, such as Antivirus, and a pop-up appears summarizing what the feature does.
Features and support
The reputation-based security checks where your programs were installed from and when they were installed, and compares that data against the 58 million users participating in the crowdsourced Norton Community Watch to see if any of your programs should be red-flagged.
The Download Insight applies the same reputation-based logic to new downloads, and the third version of Norton SONAR (Symantec Online Network for Automatic Response) looks for suspicious software behavior and automatically chooses protective actions. You can toggle how aggressive SONAR is in the Settings window.
Along with the quick scan, full system scan, and custom scan for viruses and malware, you can now have Norton scan your Facebook wall for malicious links. There are also on-demand reputation-based quick scans, full scans, and custom scans for those who want Norton to immediately scan their installed programs. After completing a scan, Norton provides you with a summary report. More detailed information, including scan duration and a deeper dive into threats discovered, can be read under the History option from the main window.
Norton also offers free add-ons, including the Norton Online Family parental controls, the “lite” version of Norton Safe Web, and the new Norton Power Eraser. Power Eraser is a tool that will aggressively clean your computer of fake antivirus programs and other malware that prevents legitimate security tools from being installed.
Norton 360 v.5 is one of the best security suites available.