Users desiring more PC security will benefit from the additional services to install Norton software and online install Norton antivirus support due to Symantec’s new acquisitions, according to its recent releases. Companies providing antivirus support for users to activate McAfee, provide support for McAfee or even to download McAfee antivirus will also become more valuable as a result of these developments:
…With a list price of $39.99 per year to protect one computer against malware, Norton AntiVirus Basic is more expensive than some of the company’s other products on a per-device basis, but it’s completely in line with its standalone antivirus competition. Symantec Norton Security Premium, on the other hand, protects up to 10 devices for $89.99 per year, and includes 25GB of hosted online backup. Note that AntiVirus Basic is currently on sale for half its list price.
I asked my Symantec contact why the company decided to bring back a standalone antivirus tool. “We saw there was a need for a low-cost, robust, PC-focused solution,” he answered. “This need is not adequately addressed by freeware. This product is primarily aimed at the value-oriented, tech-minded user who may already have a firewall, backup system, and so on.” He went on to point out that Norton AntiVirus Basic offers the same enterprise-grade protection found in the suite.
The suite offers full-scale tech support, with a guarantee that support agents will do everything necessary to keep your system virus-free, or your money back. That guarantee doesn’t come with Norton AntiVirus Basic, however. In fact, tech support for this product is limited to self-help and community forums. That’s probably fine for the value-oriented, tech-minded customer mentioned above, but it is one drawback to the product.
Note that Norton AntiVirus Basic isn’t yet available in all markets. If you’re in Australia, Canada, France, Germany the US, or the UK, you can get it. If you’re elsewhere, you may have to wait a bit.
Quick Install, Intensive Scan
When you launch the Norton installer, it downloads the very latest version of the software, including the latest antivirus definitions. I like that. Why doesn’t every antivirus install the latest definitions, rather than prompting the user to update after installation is finished? Once Norton is installed, it is totally ready to go.
Well, almost. A little while after the installation, you get a prompt to enable the Norton extensions in your browsers. I’ll talk more about the extensions themselves later on. Norton walks you through the process of installing the extensions, with explanatory panels and animated arrows.
The main window itself is laid out much like the Norton suite, with four big buttons across the bottom and a panel above that reflects your security status. If the green You Are Protected notification changes to You Are At Risk in red, just click the Fix Now button to set things right.
A full scan of my standard clean test system took almost an hour and a quarter, whereas the average scan time for recent products is about 45 minutes. It was thorough, for sure, checking more than 250,000 items. I also ran a Norton Insight scan, which found 88 percent of the files on this system to be among those that should be trusted, not scanned. A repeat of that full scan took just 10 minutes.
This product includes Norton Power Eraser, a more aggressive scanner that aims to root out really persistent malware. If you think the regular scan may have left something behind, a scan with Norton Power Eraser should fix it.
Excellent Lab Results
Symantec doesn’t submit the Norton antivirus to all the labs I follow, but those that do include it in testing give it excellent marks. Like Kaspersky Anti-Virus (2017), Symantec doesn’t participate in certification testing by ICSA Labs. Neither of these two have been rated in Virus Bulletin’s RAP (reactive and protective) test lately, either.
AV-Test Institute rates antivirus products on protection against malware attack, low performance impact, and minimal false positives, assigning up to six points in each of the three areas. Symantec aced the protection and false positive components of the tests but lost a half-point in performance, for a total of 17.5. Kaspersky managed a perfect 18 in this test, while Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2016 slipped to 17 in the latest report.