Symantec Norton Internet Security 2008
- Incredibly easy to use, good firewall and Identity Safe
- Doesn't protect against bots, the interface is too simple
NIS remains as good as it ever was. The 2008 edition is a solid choice for family networks -- its antivirus and spyware protection is excellent. Add to this a top-quality firewall, Identity Safe and a simple help system and you have a winner.
Price$ 99.99 (AUD)
The latest version of the ever-popular Norton Internet Security brings some much-needed updates and improvements to a first-rate product that was beginning to groan under its weight of features. As before, it's a good collection of tools and utilities, offering all the usual 'antis' -- virus, spyware and phishing, plus a firewall.
This year's version adds the Norton Identity Safe privacy tool, a network security and management feature, BrowserDefender for browser attacks and improved help and general performance.
Indeed, the NIS 2008 feature list is very similar to that of the more expensive Norton 360, with the principal exception of data backup. Antispam and parental controls can also be added via the optional Add-On Pack. And you can install NIS 2008 on up to three PCs, so it offers good value for money.
One surprising omission, however, is Norton AntiBot, a real-time malware detector. You might think protection against bots is a key element of Internet Security, but it'll cost you $39.95 extra.
Safety in simplicity
The Norton interface has had some cosmetic changes, but the layout of the main screen is just like that of NIS 2007. The suite is simplicity itself to use -- if you don't see a big green tick you simply hit the 'Fix It' button. Some of the fine configuration options seem to have disappeared, however, making NIS harder to fine-tune.
Norton AntiVirus 2008 takes care of antivirus and anti-spyware duties; it does an excellent job of protecting your PC. The firewall is tough and includes intrusion protection. Like most modern firewalls, NIS 2008 does a very good job of controlling inbound and outbound network traffic. It's also tough, in the sense that it's difficult for malware to disable it.
The new Identity Safe replaces the Privacy Control module and is pretty good. Its job is to store password-protected 'cards' containing personal data, contact information and credit-card details. When you connect to a trustworthy Web site, Identity Safe automatically fills out an onscreen form for you. It can also store user-name and password information for Web site log-ins. In fact, you can use this feature to automatically visit and log into any Web page.
The suite now provides far more useful assistance. If you've got a problem, your first port of call should be the AutoFix feature, which can both diagnose and cure ailments. If that fails, you can invoke an online chat session with a technician who can even take control of your PC to identify and fix the problem. Our chat request was answered within a couple of minutes.
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