Norton 360 2013 - Is Three The Magic Number?

12/16/2012 6:12:14 PM

Symantec says it's done away with version releases, so the latest Norton 360 can only be called '2013' in so much as it comes under the 'Fall 2013' product release schedule, which includes the 'lesser' AntiVirus and Internet Security offerings. For those keeping particular version score, though, my installation currently tells me it's v.

Norton 360

Norton 360

For what it's worth, though, those who already make use of 360 (or another product) should quickly notice when their valid subscription allows their version to be updated. There's a simple new look, with mere hints of Windows 8 styling - and Symantec is quick to note compatibility.

However, the focus of the new launches is threefold: Safer, Simpler, Optimized. Symantec's latest concerns for 'safer' are with social networking scams. To defend against this, Symantec deploys Scam Insight (which judges sites you may be directed to based on each site's age, user numbers and the information it requests), along with its cloud-secured Identity Safe solution, something which users of solutions such as LastPass will be familiar with. On top of this, 360 maintains Symantec's 'five-layer protection', monitoring threats under the labels of Network, Reputation, Behavior, File and Repair.

the focus of the new launches is threefold: Safer, Simpler, Optimized.

The focus of the new launches is threefold: Safer, Simpler, Optimized.

In terms of effective defense, Symantec claims numbers from AV Test and Dennis Technology Labs, experts in threat testing, back things up. Having looked into this, the figures are impressive, but seem to relate to the previous 'release' (albeit using an earlier version of the same anti-virus engine). In any case, 360 now being version-less, the highest score of virus detection and 100% zero-day attacks delivered in Dennis Technology Labs' tests is reassuring to say the least. 'Simpler' refers to some useful tweaks. Such things as the aforementioned, having-a-valid-subscription that ensures you have the latest releases. Or it no longer being necessary to reboot for updates – beneficial for maintaining battery life in laptops and mobile devices - and that Identity Safe for a single sign-in. Symantec has also made it rather easy to manage your devices from the web - a boon for those who make use of their multiple licenses. The interface, like the desktop UI, is very easy to get to grips with and, as any good security solution should, amply adds to your peace of mind and sense of control. Is three the magic number?

That just leaves 'Optimized' then, and here Symantec has combined hardware and software know-how to deliver a swift as well as secure and straightforward solution. So not only are scans now smarter in the sense they can prioritize certain file types (.exe over .txt, for example), but the software can utilize multi-core processors and SSD drives, to plough through your file systems at high-speed. Symantec reports it's the fastest scanning on the market. I can't confirm that, but I can report it's faster than it has been previously, and my own test computer isn't exactly shedding files. To be frank, the feature list of this latest release is long and very impressive: browser scanning, Bandwidth Management (to ensure you don't download huge updates over mobile connections), Download Insight 2.0 (ensuring your downloads are safe), Norton Pulse Updates (updates you won't even notice), as well as backup, tune-up and parental controls.

In fact, the only issues I have are the following: one, that there is no longer a handy desktop gadget (I've grown fond of it) and, two, Google Chrome keeps telling me that Identity Safe has crashed – but I don't use it and you can turn it off in settings. Otherwise my experience is one of a truly comprehensive solution that just misses out on top marks. mm Kevin Pocock

“A comprehensive system tune-up and security suite with the user in mind”


·         Price: $96 (one year/three PCs)

·         Developer: Symantec

·         Website:

·         Required spec: Windows XP or later, 256MB RAM, 300MB HDD space, CD drive internet connection (for updates and some features)

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