Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Norton Internet Security 2010 (NIS 2010) – Complete Review

NIS 2010 jsbi Regular readers of my blog know that I am not a fan of Norton products since the are sluggish and consume a lot of resources. But wait a sec – that was my opinion from ages. Shouldn’t they have improved now? recently when I got my Acer Aspire D250 netbook it came with McAfee installed but that was no good for me. Getting back to Norton, I wanted to really check out their new offerings and see how they have improved when you have many free and fast anti-virus solutions in the market like AVG, AVAST, etc.

NIS 2010Norton has a slew of 3 products lined up – Norton 360 (a complete suite that has all the solutions), Norton Internet Security 2010 (more targeted for Internet Users) and the plain vanilla Norton Antivirus.

I got myself Norton Internet Security 2010 popularly known as NIS, since it boasts to offer complete protection and yet not compromise on performance. It is one of the lightest protection solutions available currently and that makes it much more interesting. Norton Internet Security currently supports Microsoft Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 – all 32-bit and 64-bit versions. Now this is where it got me interested since my home PC was loaded a few weeks back with Windows 7 64-bit – I was really out there looking for a next gen Anti-Virus for it.

Something that got me interested in Norton Internet Security 2010 was that it uses a new security model. This new security model helps NIS to attain unmatched levels of detection of new malwares. What the new security models does really is that it uses cloud-based intelligence to identify malware in an entirely new which is simply ages ahead of the traditional way of using signatures and behavior-based detection. The new security model also features a real-time reputation system that tracks files and applications and dozens of their attributes such as their age, download source, digital signature, and prevalence(more about this feature in detail later).

First of all – installing NIS was a breeze, except for the 60MB update that it needed to download off the internet.3But belive it or not - I had NIS working on PC in less than a minute flat!!! (excluding the 60MB download). This feat by Symantec is simply commendable.

The NIS 2010 interface is all re-vamped and so fresh to look at.11

It has 3 very distinct partitions – Computer, Network and Web. Well, these are the only there layers for which we need protection.

  • Computer : This has the anti-virus solution which has many new features like enabling of system scan when computer is idle. Also the idle time can be easily set by the user – now this is really a wow for a geek like me. Gone are the days when I had to schedule scans in my PC at mid-night and let my PC run through the night. Now, the scan happens even when I get off my comp to grab a cup of coffee (coz I have my idle time to be 3 mins – 3 mins is too much of an idle time for a geek like me if I am near the comp).
    It also features something called as SONAR 2 (Symantec Online Network for Advanced Response) which is a 2nd generation system that harnesses all elements of NIS 2010 to make really sophisticated and clever decisions about what to trust and what to convict as a threat or risk. Again, to do this it leverages data from the cloud, network communications and file attributes such as location on the PC, origin information, etc.
  • Network : NIS 2010 is not just an Anti-Virus but more of a complete security suit and this is further testimonial to it having a Smart Firewall which repels any possible attacks and also constantly monitors the traffic flow to determine any threat. Intrusion prevention is a key here and also has in-build e-mail protection that helps prevent your PC being used as a botnet by spammers.
  • Web : Finally the web. Norton IdentitySafe provides one-click log-ins and automatic form filling to prevent key loggers from stealing your information. Norton Safe Web adds additional protection when you search, shop, and surf the web to stop Internet threats before they can infect your PC. Safe surfing is always the key and this is easily achieved by NIS 2010.

Here’s a small test that I subjected Norton Internet Security 2010 to and it came out with flying colors. I had a exe which was infected with a trojan on my PC. I unassumingly like a lay-man double clicked the exe. This is what came up.15Went ahead and clicked on More Details and this popped up. 16

I was simply amazed at the kind of information that NIS 2010 threw back at me. It picks up information off the cloud and display some very vital statistics like how many people have used this exe and what kind of threat level it carries. This helps me to make a informative decision on whether to go ahead or not (Though it won’t allow me to execute the file – but even before that giving this kind of info is really handy).

Norton Internet Security also comes with a Task Manager – not the plain Windows kind of one, but this is a hybrid one which clearly lets you analyze your system performance over a period of time in time-slices. Important installations can be easily tracked and even tasks that have consumed more CPU or memory can be easily tracked down.18

Some of the advantages of using NIS 2010:

  • The fastest, lightest security suite you can buy for award-winning protection that won’t slow you down or get in your way.
  • Installs faster than any other security suite.
  • Boots faster than any other security suite.
  • Scans faster than any other security suite.
  • Uses less memory than any other security suite.
  • Doesn’t impact your PC’s speed when you copy or edit files, install applications or download files.

What I would like NIS to improve upon is provide a full fledged Widget for Vista / Windows 7 users rather than the signal light widget that we have now 12 this only lets us know how secure or vulnerable the PC is. But having an option for a full fledges widget would be a really nice add-on.

The pricing of Norton Internet Security 2010 in India is very competitive and also much below (or in-line) with other Anti-Virus vendors. The suggested retail price for Norton Internet Security 2010 is Rs 2,495 for a three PC license(great for a Home Network like mine), and Rs 1,450 for a single PC license. You can easily purchase it at the Symantec online store www.in.symantecstore.com

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