Norton Internet Security 2008 review

Price when reviewed

Symantec promised that Norton Internet Security 2008 would be less intrusive and more streamlined than any previous version, and now we’ve been able to put this to the test.

Our findings? Norton still has a pronounced effect on boot time and RAM usage, but it does at least try hard not to bother you more than necessary. Small, self-closing request boxes are the order of the day rather than large, screen-dominating dialog boxes.

When it comes to keeping you safe, Norton’s results were mixed. Its 98% score in our malware-detection test is striking, but can’t necessarily be taken at face value. When we roamed out onto the internet and visited some bad sites in the wild, NIS detected only 57% of attempted browser exploits. But it did pick up every one of our phishing emails and mark them as junk, helping to keep us away from such dodgy sites in the first place.

Symantec tells us the new firewall has been designed with the goal of intercepting all threats without pestering the user. Certainly, it raised no alarms in our false-positives test. However, GFI Security Scanner was able to carry out an intrusive scan, locating 15 open ports and six potential vulnerabilities without a murmur from Norton – not this month’s most encouraging performance.

Norton’s latest security package is comparatively pleasant to use, with a responsive and generally well thought-out interface. It’s quite well featured, too, with an “identity safe” for personal information and optional parental controls. These help to justify the price, but the degree of protection it offers is nothing special.

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