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.

Would you buy this?

In limited testing, Symantec Norton Internet Security 2010 misses a threat

Although we did not put Symantec Norton Internet Security 2010 through full laboratory testing, we did test it using the EICAR Standard Anti-Virus Test File, which was developed by the European Institute for Computer Antivirus Research as a way to allow antivirus software to be tested. The test file acts like a virus, even though it does no harm to your system.

We tested Symantec Norton Internet Security 2010 using two versions of the EICAR file: a .com file (a type of executable file), and a .com file embedded in a zip file. Norton said that the .com file might be dangerous. However, it allowed the .zip file through without any notice.

Note that these were only two test files and Symantec Norton Internet Security 2010 is still in beta, so this is not a true test of how much protection the software will give when it is released.

Symantec Norton Internet Security 2010: other new stuff

Besides Norton's new reputation-based security strategy, there are some new features. One is what Symantec calls "Autopsy," which gives more information about threats on your system than previous versions.

The anti-spam component has a new engine from Brightmail, which powers many large enterprises' anti-spam efforts. Symantec claims that this significantly increases the efficiency of its spam killing.

In addition, Norton Internet Security 2010 users get a free subscription to OnlineFamily.Norton, a Web-based service that lets parents control what their kids do on the web. However, that subscription offer is good only from when the product is released until December 2009.

There are other minor changes as well, not all of them good. For example, there is a new Vulnerability Protection link on the main screen, but the link just takes you to another screen that doesn't appear to do anything — at least, not in this beta. It merely lists programs that Norton has found to have vulnerabilities and which you are protected against, whether or not you have those applications on your PC. It feels like a bit of marketing thrown into the middle of the program.

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