Everyone knows the name Norton when it comes to antivirus software and cyber security. But is Norton’s antivirus suite worth the high price tag, or can you get comparable security from a less expensive alternative? In this article, I’ll provide a complete analysis of whether Norton is worth the cost for individuals and/or businesses.
And for the sake of transparency, I do have an active Norton license and use it in tandem with Malwarebytes – a product I consider to be one of the best malware defenses available. I’m of the opinion that these two products work well together and that Malwarebytes complements the Norton Antivirus suite.
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Here’s a quick outline of what I’ll discuss here:
- Overview of Norton’s Features
- Security with Norton 360
- Norton’s Smart Firewall
- Norton’s Safe Web Browser Extension
- Dark Web Monitoring through Norton
- Virtual Private Network (VPN) with Norton
- Cloud Backup Feature
- Norton’s Password Manager
- Parental Control Features
- Optimize Your Device
- Norton Plans and Pricing (Including Chart)
Overview of Norton’s Features
Norton offers outstanding malware protection. It uses advanced heuristics, machine learning, and a malware directory that is always kept up-to-date.
This directory is key in identifying malware. Malware includes trojans and viruses, as well as threats such as cryptojackers and ransomware.
If you’re wondering why I also use Malwarebytes if Norton has great Malware protection, it’s that I feel Malwarebytes has an edge in detecting and blocking zero-day malware (new malware which hasn’t been discovered or added to a directory yet).
Other features offered by Norton include:
- Privacy protection
- PC Firewall protection
- Cloud backup
- Secure Virtual Private Network (VPN)
- Parental control abilities
- Anti-phishing features
- Identity theft protection (for US customers only)
- Webcam protection (for Windows only)
- Password Manager
- Threat protection in real-time
Some of Norton’s drawbacks include:
- Some users find the desktop app a bit tricky to use.
- If you’re a mobile user, you will have to download four different apps if you want full security on your devices.
- Norton’s VPN tends to be slower than some of its competitors.
- Once installed they consistently try to up-sell you on other products and services.
Overall, consumers (including this guy) find Norton 360 to provide outstanding value. Every package includes excellent features, and I regularly see Norton swat malicious code and programs that we all run into while browsing the web.
Many competitors provide certain extra features to accompany the basic scanner for detecting malware, but you can purchase Norton with confidence, as it has a 60-day money-back guarantee.
Security with Norton 360
Norton 360 has more security features than many of its competitors like McAfee and Kaspersky. You will get excellent internet security tools that keep you much safer when online.
Even if you decide to go with the most inexpensive plan, you will still get an outstanding anti-malware engine as well as 10 GB of cloud storage, a password manager, a VPN (including unlimited browsing data), a firewall, and webcam protection.
About Norton’s Smart Firewall
Norton offers a Smart Firewall. This is a superior option to the built-in firewalls you get with Windows and macOS.
This Smart Firewall is extremely effective at detecting network intrusions. You can customize your Norton Firewall.
There is the option of bringing in elements such as the Remote Desktop Connection, File and Printer Sharing, and Network Discovery. To set customized options, go to through the list of Windows services that you find in the Permissions window.
Malware uses specific protocols for communication on a network’s devices. Norton sets out a list of unique protocols and the system’s firewall automatically keeps track of every protocol for any suspicious activity.
It will notify you if it needs to disable any protocol because of a malware threat in your network.
Norton’s Safe Web Browser Extension
Norton also offers a Safe Web browser extension. This warns you of websites that could be dangerous.
You will also have a Safe Search tool that allows for secure browsing. The Safe Web browser extension is available for Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Edge).
This mostly helps protect you against phishing sites. You will also have access to community reviews with regard to suspicious web pages.
If you want protection against phishing sites, the Safe Web browser extension will be very helpful. Many users find it more effective than McAfee and other competitors in this regard.
Norton’s Isolation Mode is useful for keeping your financial information safe.
When in Isolation Mode, your browser window becomes read-only. It’s great for creating extra safety and security during online banking.
Isolation Mode from Norton keeps out every kind of browser-based intrusion. This means that malware or web scripts won’t be able to steal data from your screen or make changes.
In the Safe Search tool, color-coding indicates search result assessments. Green indicates things are safe, orange means they could potentially be unsafe, and red implies danger.
Unfortunately, this can lead to a false sense of security sometimes. For me, this is one area in which Norton isn’t as strong. It sometimes gives the safe signal for dangerous websites, and vice versa.
Dark Web Monitoring through Norton
If you live in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, or Germany, you can use Norton’s dark web monitoring feature. This monitoring of the dark web scans forums on the dark web, breach databases, and credit reports to find out about leaks of user information.
With dark web monitoring scanning, items scanned for include credit card numbers, bank account numbers, driver’s license information, addresses, insurance numbers, and more.
Norton actually uses live human agents to go into dark web forums. These people are called dark web assistants, and they can find data on the dark web that other services simply cannot.
If any of your information is located on the dark web, you will be informed and given advice, usually they will suggest that you purchase LifeLock. It’s a good product, but I’m not a fan of Norton’s consistent efforts to up-sell customers.
More About LifeLock
If you are in the United States, you can access the company’s LifeLock Identity protection services.
With LifeLock, you get features including:
- Credit freezing
- Legal assistance
- Credit report monitoring
- Live identity recovery assistance
- ID, home title, social security, 401K, and court record monitoring
The live credit report monitoring means you get notifications about any credit card applications, rental applications, investments, purchases, and loan applications that use any piece of your personal identifying information. LifeLock uses data from sources such as Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
These are the three major credit reporting services.
Most importantly, LifeLock offers insurance payouts of as much as $1M, as well as legal assistance, if you are the victim of serious identity theft. For me, this is why you’d become a customer.
If you don’t live in the United States, you won’t be eligible for LifeLock protection. If you are in Canada or Europe, you could look at competitors such as BullGuard and TotalAV.
Unfortunately, they don’t have protections as extensive as those provided by LifeLock.
Virtual Private Network (VPN) with Norton
The secure VPN you get through Norton allows connection to 79 servers in 30 different countries around the world. Norton has servers in Japan, Australia, South Africa, India, Singapore, and Ukraine.
The Norton VPN gives you many excellent security features. Some of these include ad tracker blocking, a kill switch, no-logs policy, strong encryption, and unlimited browsing data.
You should be aware, however, that this VPN has relatively mediocre connection speeds. In some cases, you will have significantly slower download speeds when you have this VPN on.
It’s not the worst VPN out there when it comes to speed, but if Speed is important to you, consider NordVPN (what I use), ExpressVPN, or PureVPN.
Cloud Backup Feature
If you use a PC, you’ll have access to a cloud backup feature with Norton. The backup tool with this service is extremely similar to famous cloud storage tools such as iCloud, OneDrive, and Dropbox.
There are features such as:
- Backing up to a local disk or the cloud
- Saving or removing backed-up files on the local disk
- Backing up of particular files
- Scheduling of backups
Norton’s Cloud Backup has fairly good functionality. If you use advanced elements, you can enter the “What” component of the backup settings.
While there, manually choose the folders you want to back up. Norton lets you store this data in the cloud.
How much storage you get depends on what subscription level you choose. The range is from 10 to 500 GB. I don’t use this feature, as I have my cloud storage with Google Drive through my Google Workspace license.
Norton’s Password Manager
Norton provides an excellent password manager. This password manager has special additional features that set it apart from the password managers of other security suites.
Some of its features include:
- Unlimited storage for all your passwords
- Excellent security with 256-bit AES encryption
- Auditing of the password vault
- Password generator
- Auto-fill and auto-save
- Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Safari browser extensions
- Device synchronization across Mac, PC, iOS, and Android devices
If you’re a Norton customer it makes sense to use Norton’s password manager, but if you go in another direction, I recommend trying out Keeper Security (you can get 30% off right here).
Parental Control Features
Norton’s parental control features are called Norton Family. Norton Family (formerly Safe Family) works for Windows, Android, and iOS.
These parental controls aren’t available on Mac, so be aware of this. In 2021, Norton was voted to have the best parental controls of any antivirus program.
With Safe Family, you can:
- Create emergency contacts
- Filter out inappropriate content
- Schedule device usage information and time limits
- Block apps you don’t want to be used on an Android device
- Use a mobile device for tracking location
- Keep track of Hulu and YouTube activity
Optimize Your Device
Norton offers great tune-up tools to optimize your device. The service offers these optimization features:
- Startup manager: Shows a list of programs that will run when your device starts up
- Clean up your files: Deletes temporary files from web browsers and Windows
- Disk optimization: Defragmentation of your hard drive
- Activity graphs: View timelines of significant activity on the device
I’ve never really been a fan of these tools and don’t use them – I do my own disk cleanup on a quarterly basis, but some users may like them.
Norton Plans and Pricing
What is the cost of Norton and is Norton worth it? As you’ve seen, Norton is an impressive security suite with a number of features and tools to help keep you and your device secure while browsing online, doing banking, or downloading files and programs.
The annual subscription price for Norton anti-virus depends on what subscription level you choose. Ultimately whether Norton is worth the money depends upon how much you spend, and your real or perceived value of the product and service you get.
I have the Norton 360 Deluxe plan for 5 devices in our home, and find it to be worth the money.
Cost of Norton Subscriptions
Here are some of Norton’s most popular plans below:
|Subscription Level||Device or User Count||Annual Subscription Price|
|Norton AntiVirus Basic||1||$59.99|
|Norton Security Standard||1||$84.99|
|Norton Security Deluxe||3||$94.99|
|Norton Security Premium||10||$124.99|
|Norton AntiVirus Plus||1||$59.99|
|Norton 360 Standard||1||$84.99|
|Norton 360 Deluxe||5||$104.99|
|Norton 360 with LifeLock Select||5||$149.99|
|Norton 360 with LifeLock Select for Family||5||$274.99|
|Norton 360 with LifeLock Select for Family with Kids||5||$389.99|
Final Thoughts: Is Norton Worth It?
So, is Norton worth it? Overall, I think it is (I wouldn’t be a customer if I didn’t, right?).
Norton software has earned its place as one of the best-known and most highly respected online anti-virus and anti-malware options in the world.
If you’re a personal user and you just need anti-virus protection for your home devices, you can go with one of the more affordable Norton plans, but families and small businesses can use Norton and find value as well.