Norton 360 Now Onto Version 5

In the past one year, I still have friends who are amazed at the misconceptions they have on Norton products after finally giving the products a try.  So, I will do a quick summary here, even though these are old news for the existing Norton users.

Norton security line of products – 360, Internet Security, and Antivirus – battle online threats.  Installing the application from scratch only takes a couple of minutes.  The CPU and memory usage is low and it does not slow your computer down (OK, not that you can feel it).  In fact, they have real time monitoring graphs comparing Norton related tasks and other system tasks and be transparent about it.  Norton uses pulse live update technology.  This means updated security definitions from Norton global site are sent to your computer in real time, as and when they are available.  Full system scan is quietly performed in the background while you are away from your computer.  And it is done incrementally, over the days.  There are little unnecessary notifications from Norton application.  I receive a security summary report at the end of the month, alerts when I am trying to download an executable file that is still relatively new to the global community (Norton uses the community to derive insights), and reminders for PC tune up (because I am using 360).  That is about all the notifications I have got from running Norton.

I value security and online protection.  And I would only go for the best in the market.  Below is an excerpt that may mean more to those who want to read the official results.

In recent third-party testing, Norton 360 version 5.0 achieved a 100 percent protection score for online threat detection from Dennis Technology Labs, whose methodology has received a 100 percent compliance rating from the Anti-Malware Testing Standards Organization (AMTSO).

To be frank, I am not that technologically inclined.  I need something fuss free and yet gives me a peace of mind.  For those of you who are interested in what’s new, under the hood, Norton has now gathered about 175 million contributing Symantec users to study the software adoption patterns anonymously (I too have opted in) that in turn automatically identify and block new threats for the entire Norton user base.  Also, they have packed in SONAR 3, a behavioral protection monitors running applications for suspicious behavior to quickly identify new attacks, crimeware, and other threats designed to evade traditional detection.

Why get a Norton 360 when Norton Internet Security seems sufficient?  360 allows you to perform online backup (2GB or up to 25GB for premium edition), which I seldom use.  Mainly because what is important to me does not fit into a 2GB space.  And whatever I can fit into a 2GB space, there are other online options out there.  Personally, I enjoy using the PC Tuneup tool, which is unique to Norton 360.  It allows me to easily decide which application is allowed to be run during startup and I can now set priority to autostart applications so as to make my computer more responsive.  I also like the option to cleanup the registry, temporary files, and etc. at ease.  Norton 360 comes with a parental control management tool.  I don’t have kids at home.  But I can imagine the stress of having to manage how kids these days use the Internet.  360 can help on that.

People usually ask me how much it costs to install Norton products.  Here is the suggested retail price list for Singapore users.  All prices are for 1 year protection.  S$65 for 1 PC licence.  S$129 for 3 PC licence.  And if you need a larger online backup space of 25GB, the premium edition is S$149 for 3 PC license. It would be good if Norton offers us a more flexible licensing option. Such as a different pricing for 1 PC, 2 PC up to a household worth of PC. Also, having some loyalty programs or a deeper discount for multi-years subscriptions would be good.

There are a couple of things you may wish to know about purchase and installation.  So long as you have an active subscription, you can update the version whenever it is available.  You don’t need to buy a new version when it is out.  Simply make an update within the Norton application.  Some prefer to buy the box instead of renewing online (some claim it is cheaper that way).  By doing so, your number of days remaining for an active subscription will be reset to 366 days.  So, it is best to do it when your license expires.  If you are unable to install the application using the disk (one of my machines is not able to read the disk, for some strange reasons), you can go online chat with the Norton service consultant and have the application downloaded instead.

As always, drop me a comment here if you have more questions.  I hope this entry is useful.

Norton 360 Version 4.0 – Are You Well Protected? Need A Little Tuneup?

Avid readers may recall that not too long ago, I have written an article on Norton Internet Security 2010.  I am happy to hear that Norton continues to be light and secure, does not require much tweaking (“set and forget” is their design philosophy), and in this new Norton 360, it has a new reputation service, improved anti-phishing, improved scanning performance, a new download insight, web-based access to backup files, as well as improved startup manager.  To be honest, my previous Norton installation seems very fast and safe in my book.  I can hardly feel the difference for this new product, which is great of course.  Still fast, still safe.  It better be!

What are improved, I observe, are the PC tuneup function and the online backup option.  For the technologically inclined, PC tuneup may not be crucial.  But for someone like me who is a regular PC user, PC tuneup is a great place for me to (1) decide which are the programs I wish to run at start-up and in what priority, (2) clean up my file system including registry, (3) optimize my hard disk (defragmentation), and (4) run a diagnostic report on everything I wish to know about my computer – from hardware to software.  And I can say it with conviction PC tuneup has helped me a great deal.  My computer startup time has improved.  Seems to run faster too.

Online backup is an interesting feature.  Norton 360 v4.0 comes with a 2 GB online storage.  You can back up your Document directory or any directory in your file system securely online.  And restore if need to.  It does take some time for the first backup to complete, especially if you have a large backup set.  At home, I have a Network-attached Storage and an external backup device permanently attached to my computer so, this online backup service may not be something that I rely solely on (no harm having extra backup, having said that).  I can imagine that if you do not have a regular backup, this online backup can be useful.

Of the many great features that Norton products have, one of my favorite ones is Norton file insight (see below with file name masked).  Whenever I download an executable from the Internet, Norton prompts me on how trusted this file could be.  And based on the insight, I can make an informed decision on whether or not I shall risk running it.  One time, while I was downloading the latest video driver from ATI website, Norton warned me that the file may not be trusted as not many users have downloaded that and it was very new.  It turns out that that version of the file was corrupted.

I have got asked a lot how much the Norton products that featured in my website cost.  For this particular one, the suggested retail price is SGD 129 for the three PC license.