Security

Norton Internet Security 2008: The Right Tool for the Job?

Windows computers require protection from a wide variety of common viruses and spyware programs, not too mention unwanted intrusions. Novice users are particularly vulnerable to system infections and identity theft. A single software suite is required that can address all these issues.

The Job

Windows computers require protection from a wide variety of common viruses and spyware programs, not too mention unwanted intrusions. Novice users are particularly vulnerable to system infections and identity theft. A single software suite is required that can address all these issues.

The Tool

Norton Internet Security 2008

Norton Internet Security 2008 delivers effective tools, a simple interface and the default settings novice computer users require to secure their systems and protect personal data. In addition to boasting improved performance, the new 2008 iteration of the popular software suite also includes thorough firewall support and rootkit detection as well as trusted antivirus and antispyware engines.

Norton Internet Security 2008 possesses several advantages for novice computer users:

  • Simple installation
  • Improved performance
  • Simple-to-navigate menus
  • Windows Vista compatibility
  • Internet Worm protection
  • Email and instant messaging security
  • Award-winning virus and spyware protection
  • Rootkit detection
  • Vastly customizable settings
  • Comprehensive reporting

There are some disadvantages, however:

  • More advanced users typically don't require many of the features bundled with Norton Internet Security 2008, including phishing detection, identity protection and the Security Inspector that helps audit a system's security settings.
  • Price; users requiring only antivirus and antispyware protection can save 25 percent or more by purchasing an antivirus/antispyware only product. Novice users with multiple PCs, however, will benefit, as Norton Internet Security 2008 can be installed on up to three different PCs per household.
  • Phishing and identity theft protection commands system resources; more savvy users will enjoy improved system performance by running applications that seek only to block viruses and spyware versus having to maintain firewalls, phishing controls, identity theft processes and other background services. Novice users, however, may well find the price of trading available system resources for protection worthwhile.

The Right Tool for the Job?

Norton Internet Security 2008 delivers powerful antivirus and antispyware protection, along with identity safeguards and effective third-party firewall services, in a single package. While more advanced users will find many of the features unnecessary (as more sophisticated users generally implement hardware-based firewalls and are more educated as to common Web threats, phishing vulnerabilities and identity theft practices), novice computer users will be well served by the security suite.

Read my comprehensive screenshot review of Norton Internet Security 2008.

About

Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president o...

138 comments
burgertime
burgertime

When I work on a system with Norton installed I want to put a bullet through my head because of how much overhead weight it carries. Symantec needs to put Norton on a diet.

ruralmo
ruralmo

I purchased NIS 2008 23 Feb 2008 (this last weekend). I went home, popped the cd in, ran through the install and got "application failed to initialize' error. I followed the steps in the back of the rather thin install guide for this problems, which consisted of deleting everything in %temp% and trying again, got same error. Also the install wiped out my copy of Norton antivirus that was already installed. I contacted Symantec support via email, they wanted more specific information and told me to run the Norton uninstall program from their web site. I downloaded it, booted up in safe mode, ran the uninstaller and now windows won't come up because the \windows\system32\config\system is missing or corrupt. Symantec support nows says I need to contact MS for help. I took it back to Best buy for a refund and they said it was now between my and Symantec, even through they advertised a 15 day trial. I'm waiting as of this morning to see if Symantec is going to refund my money. Next stop is the Missouri Attorney generals office

dgs010243
dgs010243

Hello, NIS 2008 is an excellent suite, by all means! It costs 68..69 euro at FNAC. Norton Ghost 12.0 costs 63 euro at the same online shop. Amazing, FNAC has offered a promotion consiting of NIS2008 + Norton Ghost 12.0 at an excellent price: under 70 euro. See http://dan.somnea.free.fr/2C/piracy.php Unfortunately this online promotion /NIS 2008 + Norton Ghost 12.0/ was a "miragge". At the other hand Auchan Villeneuve d'Ascq and Carrefour (Euralille) are outsiders in comparison with FNAC. Due to my program (http://dan.somnea.free.fr/DAR/), I haven't time for visiting the FNAC shop. I use already a promotion from Auchan Villeneuve d'Ascq last year. It consisted of 2 packages: NIS 2007 + NSR 2006, bon marche, 70 euros. Both packages are excellent. A bon entendeur salut ! Bien cordielement, Dan Gheorghe

cookrd1
cookrd1

None of these products being discussed stands a chance against modern malware, which is why the CIO or Norton and the founder of Kapersky admitted their shortfalls and agreed that they would need to incorporate virtualization into their products. I routinely find that "everyday users" of these products have many infections that they were unaware of, and probably several more that I could not find. You could add a lot to your chances by using an easy virtualization product such as ReturnIL or SandboxIE, backed up by eEye Blink. -Bob

steve_lyt
steve_lyt

i hope the customer service has improved, and the virus detection after my last experience with norton

philwright001
philwright001

This is second edition of fanciful paid advertisments posed as editorial/review. This is CRAP and insulting the intelligence of subscribers and lowering the value of what used to be a good technology website. TechRepublic is now a SELLOUT! Norton is SH*T AV Norton is SH*T Security In my experience and opinion; This product creates more problems than it solves and should be avoided at all costs!!

johncburgess
johncburgess

Once upon a time I would have sworn by Norton's products... and recommended them. Sadly now I swear at them and never recommend them.... I know they're trying to be "all things to all people"... but I for one am not prepared to wear the extraordinary system overhead that has been evident since Norton introduced it's "Internet Security" suite. Why should I pay to slow my system down significantly, when I can get both an acceptable anti-virus and anti-spyware application FREE ... and that works.

dblaes
dblaes

A number of suggestions have been made that there are better solutions, free solutions, more targeted solutions. However, would you really recommend these to your Grandmother? Or any IT illiterate user? It's all very well and good for us to say we prefer to use other products but these don't necessarily supply the average user with the protection we all wish they had. I'm not suggesting that this would work out in a corporate environment, but in todays society, that is not really where this type of product is needed most. As has been previously suggested, these same people are also not typically power hungry users of system resources. This is another case of 'horses for courses'. No, it doesn't suit the IT supremos here present but what else are you going to suggest Granny install without having to ensure that *you* keep it up to date for her?

microwavedave
microwavedave

I often read these responses for tips and opinions that will help me in making choices. Most of your solutions are close to one another in price, and renewal/upgrade rebates make them even more affordable. So what if something is free or I am saving a couple of bucks. I want protection. Price matters if you are comparing a $20 solution to a $500 one, but not when were all talking about under $100 solutions. I am not going to risk a very costly infection or attack because I saved literally a few dollars. Also, you complain about system resources like your all running bare bones systems. Sure, system resources are a consideration IF your running other resource draining programs, but I bet many of you complaining about system resources are now running Vista. Now it makes sense.

quark
quark

Zone Alarm Pro/Anti-Spyware and Eset's NOD32 Anti-virus have given me superb protection for years along with Spyware Doctor.

stevenong_2006
stevenong_2006

I have 3 PCs, and one of them running Windows 2000. I am a software developer, and there is some legacy applications I need to support on win2k. I email Symantec support to ask them for a patch (or something which may allow Norton 2008 to work on win2k). The tech support (I think he from India) dance around the issue a little bit, then drop it completely. Does anyone know if there is a way to make it work on win2k? Thanks.

Alfa11
Alfa11

Everything looks fine but after installing this software, I couldn't connect to an IPSec VPN connection, even though I'm using the Windows client, not a 3rd party software. If you have PPTP connection there is no problem, it affects L2TP/IPSEC VPNs.

gstrickland
gstrickland

It would be really useful for the powers to be at Norton were to be advised of this and similar threads as I believe they will begin to finally understand why people dislike their products so much. Otherwise this thread and all the others is just "hot air". :-)

kjmartin
kjmartin

Norton is a fraud perpetuated by the agreements they have with the pc manufacturers to keep the free trials on new pc's. I don't know whether Techrepublic is being payed or is just too lazy to compare this heap to another product honestly. I can't image how anyone who had used Kapersky or Trend would recommend this to anyone.

jakchan
jakchan

Think again if U need this free one Have a look at this great offers. Did Best Buy cheating and Kaspersky think you are their customer? If you are in the same position, What are your felling? Will this make you laught, cry or angry? Can you longer trust this people? http://www.artofthai.com/Forum/index.php?topic=4.0

bus66vw
bus66vw

I can get Norton Security form My ISP as part of my service package. That makes it free to me and I still won't use it. HERE IS WHY. I had a client's computer in last week with complaints of being slow. Per the client the slowness was linked to an upgrade to Norton 2008. After finding nothing wrong hardware wise I did an online scan using Micro Trend's online scanner which found 6 adware infections, 1 malware infection, and 1 dialer infection. I had loaned my laptop to the client while I worked on the client's computer. Just as a sanity check and because I was concerned the client had gone to bad sites, I did a scan on my laptop using Micro Trend's online scanner which found nothing. I concluded that the weak link was Norton Security, slowing the computer down and then not keeping out the infections. I classify the client as a novice user and even the client(very loyal to Norton, used for 15 years) was okay with a little slowness as long as it was the best protection. From what I found I would have to say Norton was failing to do the job in the real world.

AndesEbla
AndesEbla

Uf! Norton is the elephant in the crystal store.

kgolubski
kgolubski

I took the loss and trashed Norton. It killed my computer. I could make a pot of coffee and drink one cup before my computer finished booting after installing Norton. I've since discovered Kapersky and now I'm a very happy camper.

stuart
stuart

Tech Republic do themselves a disservice publishing this. I have never met anyone who didn't live to regret installing a Norton Security app. The techies behind Tech Republic lose a lot of credibility letting obvious misinformation like this through.

leefox3
leefox3

Norton's is the biggest pice of junk software on the market it sticks it intrusive fingers into everything and it is very difficult to get it off your computer. Are you being paid by Symantec, or what ?

TG2
TG2

How does that saying go? ... When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. ... I started with a 24 dollar a month dialup internet account. Once I learned "the net" I sought cheaper internet where the "give up" was tech support, and eventually found internet service that was reliable and fast for 11.95 when paid for as a full year.. The point? As I learned better I chose options that worked better for me, than what might have been for someone else. Norton lost me. Why do they even bother to call it "norton" any more since the current incarnation has nothing to do with the Peter Norton of yester year. The prog-man.exe replacement, the antivirus that was light on its feet... the products that worked fairly decently for their time. Here now, the company that lures you in, sucks you dry, and leaves your pc in a state of shell shock. Anyone else ever had an install go bad, leaving your computer limping along with half the processing power from before? Or what of those generous "3 pc installs" where you must perform ALL of the installs relatively close to one another, because your "One Year Term" starts with the FIRST pc installed... As I've aged, I've found that more frequently single vendor products have shared flaws. Norton's current panacea is no exception. So trust norton? No. Not anymore. I use a free antivirus program (Avast), it ranks in the average for AV scanners, it includes a web proxy to help stop that ilk, I use Spybot Search and Destroy and especially its IE Immunization feature and along with its HOSTS file entries, and I use Zone Alarm (pro, but free would be ok too). These three applications, plus being more "adult" about what I do, and where I go, will protect me against 99% of the problems I should encounter by my own hand, the other 1%, well that's business risk when I have to check something for a customer. And that's not to say anything about the microsoft problem and all that comes with patch tuesdays. So as you learn, and as your users learn (preferably not the hard way) they should make better decisions.. some will go for that "all in one" ease, some will have graven images flash before them of the domino effect... and still yet others will need to be beaten with a 2 by 4 to get the message of safety and security across... which are you?

1101doc
1101doc

While I have not tried 2008, every other Norton product so far has been an overbloated resource hog that penetrates the OS and renders its removal an all day job. Simply browsing through the "computer help" forums, ther is no single software company that is cited as the source of problems as often as Symantec. (Followed by McAffee and Zone Alarm) Norton is like going to Wal-Mart and buying a 'toolkit' off the shelf rather than putting together the "right tools for the job" myself. "When your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail." By the way, does Norton 2008 still prevent proper functioning of System Restore like previous versions?

adam.payne
adam.payne

With the ammount of problems i've had with Norton, the ammount of people i've helped with viruses/trojans that Norton failed to pick up and the slowness of PCs after you installing it, I would never recommend a Symantec product to anyone.

niall
niall

This is nothing but propaganda. The situation was bad enough with the wonderful reviews you gave Norton not so long ago. And now this. I'm cancelling my account/subscriptions now, just so you know. What was once informative and interesting reading has just become a large source of spam. It will not be missed.

ozwes007
ozwes007

Norton is one of the worst resource hungry, along with PC-Cillan, programs I and quite a large number of syops have ever seen. I have yet to meet a single sysop or sysadmin that actually likes or uses Norton in any way other than if they are forced or bribed to. I work for a number of Au. companies and not 1 of these top 100 Au. companies that I work for use Norton because of the massive resource hit and as a flow on from that capital hip pocket hit. Right tool for the job - in your dreams.

JCitizen
JCitizen

or anything Symantec for that matter.

IT_Irish
IT_Irish

Norton is falsely advertising a product that doesn't work. Sticking up for the CIO's or Norton who stuff their pockets with people's money, installing it 'free' on every new laptop (like Microsoft WINDOWS hogging software Bill Gates) will get you nothing.

Jcritch
Jcritch

Norton SUX should be the name of this new product.

ConnieS
ConnieS

Some of us Gran's are not all that inept when dealing w/you youngen's and this modern "stuff" invented before our time. Norton isn't for us either, as I've discovered first hand. Too slow, too hard to be rid off, too aggrivating, not what it is cracked up to be. Grannies also help other Grannies in solving these problems around the "homes". Had to toss all that in for the sake of the not so over the hill of us who are not so young. Grannie of four.

philwright001
philwright001

I agree that there are horse for courses. This horse provides a dangerous ride for one and all - it provides a false sense of security! With these credentials both stablemates NAV and NIS should not be allowed out to pasture or inflicted upon the harmless elderly. It should be sent directly to the knackery! As a final note and in answer to your question: There are many alternatives including paid and free services that provide automatic updates - I suggest that you research the multitude of alternatives mentioned in discussion for starters.

JCitizen
JCitizen

Just make sure you use software that is well rated by the users at download.com. I would take the editors choices with a grain of salt there however. You would probably be better off spending money on good standalone spyware detection, like Spyware Doctor(if they have a Vista version by now), and/or a good hardware firewall with SPI egress capability and/or a good free firewall like Comodo that I am confident will work with Vista-but I have not gone there yet. The system resource problem is real for XP users too. The AV suites are all too bloated with the exception of two(Kasperski,NOD32). Stand alone solutions are better for both new and older XP machines. Mix and match for the best security and performance. Norton is not an option at all; I warn anyone - Symantec bullied Microsoft to open the kernel in Vista for the trivial task of controlling the security center. This ruined one of the few things I like about Vista; tight control of the kernel with no access to drivers ect. Norton has been a complete disaster for me and all but ONE of my customers; and the only reason he is not changing is because he is just praying it doesn't blow up his operating system like all my other customers. I hadn't touched their machines before this, so it isn't from my ineptness. That guy does a LOT of backing up - just in case. I have him using Spybot Search & Destroy, and AdAware(for cookie control at least); and SnoopFree for keylogger firewall. He can't afford to run anymore payware than NIS 2006.

Master G
Master G

We run XP - Vista runs slow even after a clean installation. So I agree with you on that one. However, Norton has always been a resource hogger it drains anything and everything that runs under it. That's just how is designed. A simple task of scanning an email before sending it takes Norton 35 second for just a clear text email to scan.

Master G
Master G

Buyer should've read all the small prints before even trying to get the free year. Best Buy said it on their email. Sp buyer's fault. Moreover, I tried Norton Int. Sec. 2005 and it's junk. Tried BitDefender - it takes less resources and does a great job. AVG i use it for email server - great on that and it's free. And last but not least is Kaspersky 6.0 and 7.0 - version 6.0 is great and better than the previous anti-virus I mentioned - use that for my deskops at home. I have Kas. 7.0 in one laptop ( trial ) and it's like Windows Vista - prompting you for every single process that's running. It's very secured but annoying little popups. K 6.0 does it for me and it beats AVG, Norton, McAfee and BitDefender. It's very easy to use . Also, there is one out there called Panda I dont know if it still exists.

steve_lyle
steve_lyle

buy it for a lousy $5.00 That tells me (I never use it) that it's not a good product. Micro-Kaper-are products of choice.

spudman
spudman

Don't go backwards. You were on the right track to AVOID Norton. Read what was written above. Note the ratio of product endorsements to product complaints. 'Nuf said.

soundy
soundy

What do you call a program that entwines itself into every corner of an operating system, hampering functionality, slowing performance, and often completely pooching a system requiring a format and reinstall? I'd call it a virus... Symantec calls it Norton Internet Security. I built my sister a new computer a couple years ago... it came with a demo copy of NIS 2006. Since she has young kids, I decided to try installing it to see if Symantec had improved things at all. Halfway through the installation, it choked and died. Subsequent attempts to restart the installation resulted in a warning message than an installation was already in progress. Attempts to remove it caused the same errors. I attempted to download the removal utility from Symantec's site, but IE kept crashing. I downloaded Firefox via command-line FTP to try getting to symantec.com, but it wouldn't install either. Then, since I'd already installed a bunch of software and set up user accounts, I tried to do a repair install of XP... it would complete, but still nothing would work. The installer was still borked. IE still crashed. I finally had to reformat and start it all from scratch. WinFax was no better after Symantec took it over. It jams itself into every part of the system. It slows everything down. It's nearly impossible to remove. My kingdom for a copy of good old WinFax 4.0.

ray
ray

Over the past 15 years I've fixed more computer problems for friends and customers just by removing Norton from their PC's than any other fault fix. It's now the first IA I carry out. When I say remove I really mean Uninstall, as the only way to remove Norton completely is to Format the HD!

neville
neville

Bring back Sygate or equivilant, I refuse to install Norton, its hoggs windows! Sygate Rules! Best Firewall software Ever!

rkuhn040172
rkuhn040172

Sure, there will always be occasions where any AV product will fail, but on the whole, most work and work quite well most of the time. I just rebuilt a PC yesterday for a customer where the AV failed. I scanned it with Trend Micro, Norton and AVG (all failed to even detect it) as well as Spybot, AdAware, and several rootkit detectors. Ok, that's the bad news. The good news is that this PC was up and running for 2-3 years without a single incident and evidence from the logs and quarantine prove that the AV was doing its job. Any product made by man is going to be less than 100%. That's called life.

JCitizen
JCitizen

I like to hear from at these discussions. Best of luck! And I hope you find what you need here. If not - don't hesitate to whap one of us upside the head and wake us up to give you some help!

bus66vw
bus66vw

It seems I some how had a problem with the post. I hit the reply button by mistake, I was not even logged in yet. I saw a post that said I would give Norton a try. I had not written that. I had not written anything yet. I edited the post with what I was going to say. This site is getting strange. Not sure what is going on?

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

so they could kill because it was crap did they! I was horrified when I clicked on a link to download another copy and it took me to symantec then told me it was no longer available and suggested an 'alternative'. Fortunately I had a copy on a CD, but I can't recommend using discontinued security software. Went out and bought a hardware firewall, started learning.....

JCitizen
JCitizen

or they will trick one! I always uncheck of course. We had nightmares trying to remove Yahoo mail from remote clients that violated company policy. It is just the same pesky take over the world crud that those very companies blame Windows for trying to do! I'm going to do a total system reinstall if I buy another computer with Norton on it. And hopefully I can avoid that in the first place. It depends on price of course. I don't know how you get rid of the SBC nag; we used to have the same problem with the antivirus they tried to push to our intermediate offices. We just uninstalled it and our VPN server blocked the nags! HA! I wouldn't be allergic to calling SBC and nagging them.. They seem to have good support so far, despite being bought out by AT&T. Maybe if it starts costing them to support such moves they will drop it!

ConnieS
ConnieS

You are quite welcome. Now explain why Yahoo! and other browsers are trying to stuff Norton down our throats "FREE"? I switched to Google recently to avoid the constant reminders, when I have more than ample security in place. Google also has one Norton download to which I said no thanks and they left it that way. In the meantime SBC is sending messages that I'm not covered security wise since I no longer use them to get to Yahoo! All far too pushy considering I have what I want and no intention of changing. Via SBC my screen goes haywire and I must reset the resolution over and over again. I am not that patient.

ConnieS
ConnieS

Thank you. I find this medium not only interesting but helpful in those areas where I'm unsure. Many answers to questions I didn't realize I really had beforehand. Great assistance and good insight on those things none of my peers could address. I tend to be the geek of the over 60 crowd that consist of friends and neighbors. The go to Grannie.