Symantec Norton Internet Security 2010 (beta)

Symantec's Norton Internet Security 2010 is more notable for what's under the hood, boasting reputation-based protection as an extra layer.

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Symantec Norton Internet Security 2010
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Pros

  • New reputation-based security technology from Quorum, interface is simple and straightforward, lets you dig into security details, doesn't take up too much RAM or system resources

Cons

  • In our beta tests we had hiccups with our installation, had to find virus updates before it would perform a scan

Bottom Line

If you're a user of Norton Internet Security 2009, it's certainly worth going to the newer version, because Quorum will most likely make you safer, and the new features are worthy additions. Not only that, but the upgrade is free. As for whether to switch to NIS 2010 from a different internet protection program, that's a tougher call. The interface is certainly simple and straightforward, and also lets you dig into security details. There's no way to evaluate yet whether the new tools will be more effective than the old ones; only widespread use and exposure to many malware threats will tell.

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Norton Internet Security 2010: Welcome to the familiar interface

As we mentioned before, Norton Internet Security 2010 looks very much like the 2009 version, so there will be very little learning curve for those who have already used the product.

The main screen is now divided into three sections entitled Computer, Network and Web (rather than the previous Computer, Web and Identity). It tells you at a glance the state of your security, notes whether any actions need to be taken, and lets you turn features on and off. As with the previous version, there are monitors on the left-hand side of the screen that show your CPU's current usage and how much of that Norton is taking up.

If you want a quick glimpse of the state of your security, you'll just use the main screen. But if you're the kind of person who likes to dig deep, you'll find plenty of links here that will lead you to additional data. For example, click the Performance link on the left-hand side, and you'll see a new feature: a page that offers in-depth detail about CPU and RAM use over the last ten minutes, the last half hour, hour-and-a-half, day, week, and month.

Better yet, another new link on the main page gives you access to detailed information from the suite's System Insight feature. This display shows, over time, any events related to your PC's security, such as virus scans and their results, and new software that you've installed. Using this info, you may be able to track down PC problems yourself — for example, if you notice unusual behaviour, you can check this screen to see if that behaviour started after you installed a particular piece of software.

Another useful feature accessible from the main screen is the Network Security Map. It shows you all of the devices attached to your network, and includes information such as the IP address, MAC address, whether they're online, and so on.

Another feature, the Vulnerability Protection link, is less than useful. It lists programs that Norton has found to have vulnerabilities — but not necessarily those you have on your PC. The list is generic and lists all software against which Norton offers protection. There's no need ever to check it.

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