Do you remember Norton Antivirus, one of the most loved protection software? Developed since 1991 until 2014 by Symantec, this antivirus has been re-branded as Norton Security.
Symantec have been offering excellent security solutions ever since they appeared on the market. The latest version of their popular Norton is dubbed Norton Security 2021. Few other protection software has consistently received as many positive reviews as Symantec’s creations.
Today we’re taking a look at how their newest product performs. But first, we’ll talk about system requirements, installation, features and other important elements.
Is Norton Security 2021 better or worse than other top rated antivirus solutions of 2021? Read our analysis and convince yourself.
2. System requirements and installation
As usual for our tests, we’ve installed Norton Security on a few machines to see how fast it goes and if we’ll have any problems with the installation process. We started with an installation attempt on a Windows XP machine. Because the latest version of Norton Security requires the latest Service Pack 3, we updated the Windows XP to SP3 to be able to install it.
Norton Security 2021 is also compatible with Windows Vista, Windows 7, 8, 8 Pro, 8.1 and Windows 10. Both 32-bit and 64-bit computers are supported. The machines running Windows Vista and 7 need to be updated with Service Pack 1 to make the installation of this antivirus possible.
Norton Security is also compatible with Mac OS X. Notice that you’ll need to have one of the latest versions of Mac OS X on your computer to install the latest version of Norton Security.
If you have a mobile device, Norton offers complete protection for it, too. Any device running Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich or a more recent version can be used for Norton Security installation. Make sure you have a good Internet connection because the mobile version uses it for all the web-based Anti-Theft capabilities.
The installation package is very small, and the remaining files are being downloaded from Norton’s server when the antivirus is installed. This feature is similar with Bitdefender’s installation process.
After installation an account sign up is required. You’ll need to register the antivirus on Norton’s servers or login to your account, to be able to use it.
Everything went smooth and Norton’s product tour started showing us its main features in about 30 seconds.
Norton Security provides a great design and a lot of impressive cybersecurity modules. Let’s jump to the next chapter of Norton’s antivirus review.
The main features of Norton Security 2021 are:
- a strong antivirus module;
- a firewall;
- an anti spam filter;
- identity protection;
All of them are accessible through a well designed interface, easy to access, use and manage. You may jump to any of its settings, directly from the main screen, as you can see in the screenshot below.
The antivirus module
Computer users need the maximum of protection when they are online. Recent studies suggest that a lot of them don’t have a lot of knowledge about the online threats, but all of them are concerned by viruses, malware and the risks determined by an infection.
Is Norton’s antivirus module good enough to offer protection against any form of computer viruses? We’ve tested it and we think it is.
First of all, we tested it against the EICAR file, a type of file used to see if the antivirus software runs properly. In a few moments the infected file has been deleted and disappeared from the folder where we used to keep it.
The interesting thing was that the antivirus didn’t show any warning message, the file was simply moved to quarantine. If you are a non technical user, you will love this feature. Simply set and forget the antivirus and you’ll be protected against any threat.
Norton Security has also been tested against another type of threats, a trojan horse file. In a few seconds the infected file has been removed, without any warning.
We’ve also run the latest version of Norton Security against of a database of threats, used to check the antivirus software tested for our reviews. Once again, the antivirus module worked exemplary. In a few minutes about 20,000 infected files have been categorized as threats and moved to quarantine.
These impressive results are very similar to the data provided by AV-Test.org: a detection rate of 100%, even against the zero-day threats.
There are three options to choose from in case you’re not sure what to do after scanning: shut down the computer, enter sleep mode or stay on. This could be useful if you want to save the planet: the computer can be automatically closed after scanning a large number of files.
The main majority of antivirus software does not offer protection against the hackers in their entry level protection products. This is not the case with Norton Security 2021. Even the company offers superior packages of protection in other products, the firewall also comes integrated in this security solution.
The firewall settings include a series of detailed controls. This includes: general settings, program control, traffic rules, browser and intrusion protection.
You can customize the firewall module of this antivirus solution based on your needs. If you are not a computer specialist you’ll just need to activate the feature and then continue with your online activity.
If you know a lot of things about computers and hacker attacks, you can change the firewall’s settings. From traffic rules, open ports and blocked programs, everything is covered by this great firewall.
The anti spam filter
If you’re assaulted by a lot of spam emails (as I am), promising a lot of money or lying about a lot of opportunities you probably want a solution to get rid of everything.
You’re lucky: Norton Security provides a strong antispam module, able to completely remove the spammers from your life.
The managing interface is simple and easy to use. We were happy to see that finally, someone decided to project a software easy to use even by a novice. You can configure the protected ports, the blocked list of emails, and the emails exclusions. The antispam module is compatible with all versions of Microsoft Office, from Outlook 2003 to Outlook 2016.
Phishing is nowadays one of the biggest online threats. With an increasing number of targeted attacks you may be the next victim if your computer is not protected against this type of online danger.
The identity protection module developed by Norton offers full protection against of a large series of threats. This includes antiphishing, blocking of malicious addresses, scam protection and site ratings in browser’s search results.
The Norton Security Deluxe 2021 has a feature known as Identity Safe. You need to activate a new Vault account to be able to run the “Identity safe” feature. In case you already have a Vault, skip this part.
If you don’t, make one now. This will require from you to create a Vault password. Make sure it’s a strong one. Use at least one number, one CAPITAL and one lower case, be sure it contains at least one symbol and at least 8 characters. Very important: the password must not be your account username.
Store the Vault password somewhere safe. If you forget it, Norton can’t recover it for you.
The Norton Identity Safe password manager will sync across all the devices you use. It also takes care of every basic password manager functions. A disadvantage is that it doesn’t come with secure password sharing. Another con: it misses out on two-factor authentication. It does, however, come with shared features. Some of them vastly help a device perform better.
Vault statistics protection
If you wish to protect all your personal information stored on a device, sign in to your Vault. After you do that, you can save things like addresses, different passwords, notes and so on. If you haven’t already. The antivirus will make sure everything is kept very safe. Every time you go to the Vault, the antivirus will start an analysis. It will then give you statistics about the protection level of your personal info.
Overall, the identity protection’s interface is very easy to understand and use. If you’re not a computer expert is best to activate all the features available, to make sure you’re protected in any situation. You can use this feature also for all your mobile devices, so your critical data is saved and accessible from multiple devices associated to the same account.
4. Other functionalities
We’ve finished with the main features and it’s time show you which other features are integrated in the latest version of Norton Security.
After installation we’re pleased to see that Norton included a nice series of additional functionalities in its security suite:
- online backup data;
- disk optimization;
- file cleanup;
- administrative settings;
- Norton family;
- dedicated browser extensions;
- 30-day report;
Norton Internet Security includes a disk defragger, a File Cleanup tool and a startup manager. The File Cleanup option looks at what temporary files waste important space and it deletes them. The startup manager sets programs to launch after one or more delays. It will also disable them from launching when you start the system. In that case, the process is reversible.
Let’s have a look to the additional Norton’s features!
The online backup data
This is one of the most useful functionalities. Why? Because you can protect a series of important files against any attack. The data is moved into the cloud based on user’s settings.
Norton Security provides two options for backing up files: you can move and save them into the cloud, or you can decide to keep them on your computer, on a different partition, protected against threats. The plan includes 25 GB of online storage, usually enough to save your critical files. In case of need, you purchase additional storage.
The management of the files to be backed up is simple. You can save your pictures, images, videos, emails and office documents. Because the space is limited in this plan, we suggest you to decide to save only the most important data. If you decide you need bigger plan, you upload the content of your entire hard drive into the cloud.
The disk optimization module
This feature can help if the computer is slow or the hard disk is full of fragmented data. The module scans the active partitions and scan be scheduled to improve computer’s speed, by defragmenting the data existing on the hard drive.
We tested this option then we checked the results with an independent defragmenting tool. We’re pleased to see that Norton Internet Security 2021 has done a very good job at this chapter.
The file cleanup module
The browsing speed may be negatively impacted if you have a lot of cookies saved in its history. Norton decided that it’s a good idea to offer a solution to cleanup all the traces left after the web browsing.
The module simple identifies the list of potential issues and cookies and deletes them after scan. The disk cleanup also offers the possibility of restoration from quarantine, if you decide to rollback your browsing history.
Configure administrative settings
Norton Security 2021 features Administrative Settings. These are the following:
- Background Tasks;
- Idle Time Optimizer;
- 30 Day Report;
- Automatic Download of New Version;
- Network Proxy Settings;
- Norton Community Watch;
- Remote Management;
- Norton Family;
- Norton Task Notification;
- Performance Monitoring.
You should turn all of them on for maximum protection. They can be easily configured if you want to do that. For Performance Monitoring we recommend choosing Log Only for Performance Alerting, Medium for Resource Threshold Profile for Alerting and On for Use Low Resource Profile on Battery Power.
The Norton Security 2021 version lets you add multiple devices. They can be associated to the same account. It’s very easy to install the product on as many devices as you own. The antivirus software will help you along the way. For that, click on the option Show Me How, directly from the software’s interface.
As previously mentioned, the Norton Security Premium features Norton Family Premier parental controls for Windows, iOS (at least iOS 9) and Android (Android v4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich or higher). This has to be installed separately. With it on, kids can use the web safely.
Dedicated browser extensions
Good antivirus software comes with browser extensions. The Norton Security 2021 has them. They will quickly check if the site you’re on is safe for browsing or not. That also includes online transactions. You have to add them to turn the protection on. The extensions are compatible with the latest versions of Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. Notice that the extensions are available on Symantec’s website and can’t be installed directly from Norton Security’s menu.
The performance of your device can be improved by the program startup manager we mentioned earlier. This feature decides which of the system applications starts automatically when the gadget is turned off. Depending on the hardware installed on the machine, sometimes is best to keep inactive the apps used very rarely, and usually running on the background.
A feature called Tasks Scheduling is also available. You can opt for the tasks you want to be included in the Full System Scan and the automatic background scanning.
After using the antivirus for a month, you might want to see how well it performed. For that, we recommend viewing the 30-day report. Open your Norton product, then select the option marked “30-Day Report”. The first thing you’ll notice is the number of total files scanned and secured. The latest version of Norton Security does file clean-ups, it clears space, performs quick scans and removes temporary files. For each of these you’ll see a report with numbers.
If you want, you can leave feedback. If not, check out the LiveUpdate and Backup status.
In case you don’t want this report to come up automatically, go to the main window of your product. Click Settings, then Administrative Settings. A 30-Day Report row will appear. Move the switch to the right, click Apply, then Close. Done!
5. Loaded resources
We’ve tested Norton Security 2020 and 2021 on multiple environments and machines, with impressive results. The impact on system settings is minimal, even for computers with a very weak configuration. For example, we were able to run it on a Windows XP computer with only 512 MB of RAM.
Norton provides a module which shows the level of processor resources consumed by the antivirus and system.
Norton Security 2021 offers support for your Android device. Not the same can be said if you operate an iOS gadget. Support for that is limited. Users of Mac get a suite, too. If you’re on Windows, you have to choose between the usual support options of the standalone antivirus. Which are Live Chat open 24/7, social support via Facebook and Twitter and Norton Forums. That’s not all: you can also go to their FAQ section, browse their Norton Community or give them a call.
The Deluxe version has a Virus Protection Promise and tech support. The former was created so that you can be refunded if people over at the tech support aren’t able to solve your problem.
We tested the speed of reaction for the Norton’s support team and we were impressed. They are professional, polite and always ready to help you with security advice.
7. Value for money
The Norton Security 2021 is worth the money you pay for it. What you get from it are great features, clear user interface and top-notch malware detection. Your devices will be protected at all times. You’ll make a very good choice if you decide to protect your devices with this security suite.
Norton Security 2021 scores very well on usability, performance and protection. There’s a low number of false positive alerts, good detection rate and zero false warnings when visiting a website or opening a uninfected file. The antivirus offers 100% rate on protection against 0-day malware attacks, including e-mail and web threats. We experienced 0 false warnings when we installed and used legitimate software and files.
The biggest antivirus testing laboratories agree: Norton Antivirus 2021 is a very robust and powerful antimalware software. The certifications received from AV-Test.org and AV-Comparatives confirm the same results we’ve found while testing it.
9. Associated products
The first one can be installed on 1 PC or 1 Mac. You get a home network scanner and a two-way firewall. You’re protected against malware, spyware and viruses. The Antivirus Protection Promise 100% is included. Your online identity and transactions are protected as well.
The Norton Security Deluxe protects up to 5 PCs, Macs or Android/iOS devices. You’ll have an online Norton account that will help you manage all of them.
Norton Security Premium works on the same number of devices as the previous version. Compared to that one, though, the Premium can be installed on up to 10 devices. It offers automatic backup software for important documents and photos, plus parental controls. You’ll be able to store 25GB of online space complete with encryption tools.
10. Pros and cons
Below you can see the pros and cons of the Norton Security 2021.
- Easy to use interface
- Great detection rate
- Fast and stable
- Low impact on system’s resources
- Slow installation
11. Review conclusions
Symantec have done it again. Their Norton Security 2021 edition is good value for money. You won’t have to worry about malware infecting your devices while this antivirus software is running on them. Installation is very easy and the user interface is very pleasant to use. If you want even more protection and other great features, you can choose between the Deluxe and Premium options.
Norton Security is one of the top rated antimalware software in 2021.
Our rating: 9.7/10
Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1 and 10
Price: $39.99 / device
You can get the Norton Security Antivirus 2021 Standard edition for $39.99 on this page. The Premium version protects up to ten devices for one year and can be yours for $54.99 on the same website, while the Deluxe Edition of this antivirus protects five computers and costs only $49.99.
With economic loss of almost 6 billion dollars, 2020 has brought a spectacular increase in cyber attacks. Install the latest Norton Security to make sure you’re not the next target.
Updated: January 06, 2021