Norton remains one of the best known names in cybersecurity, just as it's been for the past 15 to 20 years.
These days, their mainline antivirus is Norton 360.
If you're thinking about buying Norton 360, you're probably wondering about the differences between packages like Standard, Deluxe, and so on.
Mostly, these lay in factors like how many licenses and how much PC Cloud Backup space they offer.
However, note that with Norton 360 Standard - the simplest, entry-level plan - you won't get parental controls or advanced features of Norton LifeLock.
Norton LifeLock includes a range of features meant to protect your personal information and even reimburse you in the event of a data breach.
However, the product we'll focus on in this review - Norton 360 Premium - also lacks these advanced features.
Like all Norton 360 products, Norton 360 Premium is available for Windows, macOS, iOS and Android. A subscription costs $99.99 a year.
It's important to note that, in the United States, Norton 360 Premium can only be found in stores like Walmart or Best Buy - you won't be able to purchase it online.
The only US equivalent would be Norton 360 Deluxe, which costs slightly more than Premium, protects fewer devices, and offers less cloud storage space, so Premium can definitely be worth looking for.
Without further ado, let's jump into the meat and bones of the Norton 360 software.
The Norton 360 Premium Package includes:
- Licenses for up to 10 devices
- Data backup allowance of 75 GB
- Password Manager
- A variety of Web extensions to keep your Internet browsing experience safe
- SafeWeb extension available for Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Safari
- Specific anti-phishing protections
- Parental controls
- Webcam monitoring
- Dark Web Monitoring which will alert you if your personal information is at risk
- Remote assistance by a Norton technician if malware gets through
Installation and setup
To install Norton 360 on Windows or Mac, first launch the executable file. You can download this from Norton's website.
To install Norton 360 on iPhone or Android, you can download the Norton app directly from the appropriate app store or send an e-mail to that device.
When installing on a computer Norton will alert you to any incompatible software and uninstall it for you.
On the next page, you can choose whether or not to join Norton Community Watch. This will send information about threats encountered on your computer to the company so that they can update their software accordingly. The box enabling this feature will be checked by default, so uncheck if you wish to opt out.
Finally, press Install and the process will begin.
Once the installation is completed, you'll have to log in with your Norton account - the e-mail address and password you used to purchase the software. If you bought it in a store, you can click "Or create new account" in order to set one up.
After you're logged in, you'll activate Norton 360 with the appropriate license.
Norton also provides a quick tutorial - click "Show Me" to activate it.
Main page features besides Cloud Backup and the Password Manager will be automatically enabled.
To enable these, simply click "Set Up" next to each feature.
"With Cloud Backup you can make copies of up to 75 GB of data"
You'll also want to activate Web Protection - do this by clicking "Open" next to Device Security, clicking Internet Security, selecting the appropriate browser from the drop-down list under "Not Set Up," and then clicking Set Up Now.
At the very least, you'll want to install Norton Safe Search and Norton Safe Web. Safe Search will color code search results based on their trustworthiness, while Safe Web will protect you from phishing sites and offer a special mode when you use financial transaction sites to keep away prying eyes.
On computers, Norton 360's UI is very streamlined, one of the more streamlined we've seen.
Basically, everything is on the default screen, with the features running from top to bottom.
At the very top is "Device Security." From here, you can run quick scans of your system.
Next, you have the Dark Web Monitoring feature, where you can view alerts if any of your personal information is found on the dark web.
Whereas many other developers' VPNs come as separate programs, Norton 360's VPN is integrated into the software. You'll just press "Turn On" next to Secure VPN - the next item on Norton's descending UI - to activate it.
Click the dropdown list and then VPN Region to select any country that you'd like to appear to be browsing from.
Underneath the VPN is the Cloud Backup feature. You can (and should) run backups automatically and secure up to 75 gigabytes of your data.
Next is the Password Manager, which allows you to store your many online passwords in a safe environment. It will even generate hard-to-guess ones for you.
Finally, you have parental controls. Clicking Manage will open a web page where you can log in and then modify settings for your kids' devices.
You can also change your UI to the older setup of "Classic Norton" - do this by clicking on the little gear in the bottom center of the window, underneath the magnifying glass and the question mark (through which you can search for features and get support from Norton, respectively), and selecting "Classic Norton."
This gives you the layout that you'll see when you press "Open" next to "Device Security." It's definitely a bit more old-fashioned and lays out your features horizontally. Which one you use just depends on personal preference.
What Norton 360 Premium offers
Norton 360 Premium offers top-of-the-line antivirus protection - backed up by a solid firewall - for up to ten separate devices. The antivirus utilizes both a malware database and machine learning to detect known and unknown threats.
All the standard scan types are here - Quick scan, full scan, and custom scan. To change scan type, click the down arrow next to "Device Security" and then "Scan options" - here you can edit as desired.
If you're running a full-screen app such as a computer scan, Norton 360 will detect this and refrain from running any scans, so as to not interfere with your experience.
The Safe Web web extension is especially good at blocking phishing sites and, if you navigate to a website such as PayPal or a banking site, it'll ask you if you wish to place your browser in "isolation mode" - isolation mode will block all incoming connections and make your browser read-only, thereby protecting your sensitive data.
The password manager will store unlimited passwords, and the cloud backup system is something you can't go without to really secure your files.
If you have set your subscription to renew automatically, you'll be insured by Norton's "Virus Protection Promise" - this means that if a piece of malware gets through, a Norton technician will provide support through remote access in order to solve the problem. If the problem can't be solved, you're entitled to a refund.
What Norton 360 Premium does not offer
The one notable feature that Norton 360 Premium lacks is a file shredder.
The VPN is also a bit lackluster compared to some others, with good but not great connection speed.
When it comes to lab results, Norton 360 matches its expectations as one of the best antivirus programs around.
In November and December 2020 tests run by independent German lab AV-Test, Norton 360 detected 100 % of known threats and 100 % of previously unknown (zero-day) threats.
In November, it did mistakenly flag one legitimate piece of software as a threat, but this matches the industry average.
AV-Test evaluates assigns scores for Protection, Performance, and Usability out of the best possible 6 points, and Norton 360 was awarded a perfect 18-point score.
- Top rate protection
- Most of the features you'd expect in a complete antivirus suite: Cloud storage and backup, password manager, VPN, etc.
- Low price for what you're getting - a lot of antivirus software is more expensive while having lower malware detection rates and fewer features than Norton 360
- 60-day money back guarantee if you're not satisfied
- Rapid and helpful customer support
- Not as feature rich on non-Windows devices
- VPN is a bit slow compared to competitors'
Overall, Norton 360 is one of the best antivirus software available in 2021. It's definitely best for Windows, but with Norton 360 Premium you'll be getting coverage for 10 devices, so try it out for your Mac, iPhone, or Android phone, too.
The main drawback is the sometimes sluggish VPN, but it does tend to be good enough for the price.