Norton Internet Security 2010 Review

Norton Internet Security 2010 (NIS 2010) is one of the latest and most innovative products in Symantec’s line of home PC security solutions.

The software suite bundles an impressive array of tools designed to protect your computer from viruses, hackers, spyware, and a myriad of other common, and not so common, security threats. NIS 2010 also offers seamless integration with popular email and web-browsing applications to warn users about fraudulent email messages and web sites.

NIS 2010 is compatible with Windows XP and Vista as well as Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 7. Both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Vista and Windows 7 are supported. NIS 2010 also provides additional browser support for Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher and Mozilla Firefox 3.0 or higher for users who want to take full advantage of the application’s vulnerability and phishing protection features.

Installation of NIS 2010

When it comes to security software installation, Symantec has one of the most streamlined processes in existence. Discounting the download time, which is also extremely fast for users with a broadband connection, NIS 2010 can be installed and ready to go in under a couple of minutes without the need for a system reboot in a great majority of cases. Not only is the setup process fast, it’s also incredibly easy. A single click initiates the combined download and installation process, so users don’t have to worry about searching their PCs for the required setup files or figuring out the correct configuration for their operating systems.

User Interface

The sleek user interface of NIS 2010 is definitely easy on the eye with a layout clearly influenced by Web 2.0 design concepts. With that being said, the security suite is more than just another pretty face. The interface’s main window gives users a comprehensive overview of the PC’s security status as well as how many system resources are currently being used by the software. Clicking on any link in this window will drill down to more detailed information about that specific feature.

Norton Internet Security 2010 User Interface

Configuration options and settings are all gathered together in one area of the application, so there’s no need to hop from one function to another whenever you want to make a couple of tweaks or changes. All in all, it’s clear that much thought was put into making the program interface easy to navigate for all users, no matter what level of technical background they possess.

Norton Internet Security 2010 Settings

Performance and Features

While the basic functionality of NIS 2010 may not seem to be much different from previous releases, the software is actually making use of a relatively new form of security technology behind the scenes. This new system takes advantage of Symantec’s extensive user base and assigns a "reputation" to each file based on several factors, including the age of the file, the source from which it is downloaded, and its digital signature – just to name a few.

As these various factors change, the file reputation is updated, allowing NIS 2010 to reassess the potential danger of the file with every bit of new information gathered. Using this type of technology, NIS 2010 is able to recognize potentially harmful files before they’re "officially" declared malicious. This added protection layer makes it even harder for new viruses, malware, and spyware to sneak into a computer’s operating system.

Norton Internet Security 2010 also touts itself as “the fastest virus, spyware, Internet protection you can buy” and it’s easy to see how Symantec can make this claim. Despite the full array of features, the application takes up less than 10 MB of memory and runs silently in the background unless it is running a full scan or encounters a potential threat.

In addition to its numerous security tools, NIS 2010 includes several components designed to investigate and repair computer slowdowns. One particularly nice feature in this PC tuneup collection gives users the ability to analyze all running applications and processes to determine which ones, if any, may be hogging system resources and slowing down the PC. All of this information is presented in a clear, understandable format that is easy to digest, even for novice users.

Norton Internet Security 2010 Application Ratings

Overall Rating

NIS 2010 packages a comprehensive collection of tools and features designed to protect users from the entire range of threats that can arise from going online and sharing files. Despite being so all-inclusive, the application leaves a very small memory footprint and is quite light on CPU usage when not actively performing a major scan or analysis. Since scans can be set up to run when the PC is idle, the higher CPU usage during those times should have minimal, if any, impact on the user.

All of these factors coupled with NIS 2010’s extreme ease of use make it an outstanding choice for anyone who is serious about wanting to protect their PC without being burdened with the slowdown issues that are commonplace in other complete security suites.