Security for the rest of us.
Mac OS X v10.4.11 or higher (Snow Leopard ready - Mac OS X 10.6 compatible)
Norton Internet Security for Mac delivers fast, comprehensive protection against online threats. It safeguards your computer, identitiy, and network connections without slowing you down. Running silently in the background, it automatically protects your Mac from viruses and malicious threats, blocks hackers, and safeguards your personal information while you're online.
With its simple, easy-to-use user interface, it automatically detects and removes the latest malicious threats with set-and-forget convenience. A customisable two-way firewall automatically blocks threats from entering or leaving your system.
• Identity Protection
• Spyware Protection
• Phishing Protection
• Intelligent Firewall
• Intrusion Prevention
Price: 1 year protection for 1 Mac
In a nutshell:
Norton Internet Security (NIS) is fast easy to install; good security level straight from default settings; minimal impact on computer system resources and operation; user-friendly interface (maybe a bit odd having three separate application windows); ready access to 'Help' directly from all panels if required.
This review is based on NIS (4.1) for Mac on the following machine:
iMac 2.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
4 GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM
Mac OS X 10.5.6
Installation & Setup, Impact on Computer operation
Installation and setup was a breeze (requires an account with Administrator rights). There is a brief printed User Guide in the box (PDF version on the CD). The install procedure is like a simple step through wizard that lets you enable or disable some basic settings for Location Awareness, Phishing Protection, and Firewall. You can also opt to have an alert bar in your web browser. This displays the status of the sites you visit and lets you know if a site is verified or if any fraud is detected. Dodgy sites can be reported directly to Nortons from this bar.
It would have taken around 3 minutes from opening the box to running the suite, except there were a few updates. On our connection (Slingshot JetBuster 256/128) updating took about 3 hours. There was no noticeable impact during this time on Internet browsing (using Firefox v 3.0) or on opening and operation of other applications (such as iTunes, MS Word, Photoshop, Garage Band).
(Note: others have pointed out that as kernel extensions (.kext) are used to monitor IP traffic, there could potentially be conflicts if you have other applications performing similar tasks.)
Running NIS had almost zero impact on computer startup (only 2 seconds longer with NIS installed and running than without). A very pleasant surprise, as the last time I had used NIS was some years ago on a PC and it had been a major system resource hog. Well done Symantec for streamlining this!
After 4 days running NIS, there has been no apparent slowing down of the system or operation of any programs. A quick check with the Mac Utility 'Activity Monitor' revealed that each NIS application was using negligible CPU resource (0.0 - 0.2 while I was watching) and around 60-70 MB of real memory and 1 GB virtual memory - compared with Firefox (4-5 on CPU, around 150 MB real memory and 1 GB virtual memory) or MS Word (0.3 - 2.5 on CPU, 215 MB real memory and 1.2 GB virtual memory).
The suite includes 3 applications (as well as Live Update & Symantec Scheduler of course): all accessible under the Norton icon on the desktop upper menu bar.
1. Norton Antivirus (with panels for Statistics, Auto Protection, and Manual Virus scanning)
2. Norton Confidential (with panels for Status, Phishing Protection, Information Guard, File Guard, and Vulnerability Protection)
3. Norton Firewall (with panels for Status, Firewall settings, Location awareness settings, and Advanced Protection settings)
Each application presents a stylish and user-friendly window showing the current high-level settings for the components of that application. Large icon/tabs on the left side of the app window allow access to the individual application components to display or edit the detailed settings.
The Status panel in the Firewall window lets users view a history of connection attempts, as well as any current connections. You can choose whether all applications that use the internet should be logged, and whether or not you want to be notified each time an application uses the internet.
The Status and Scanning panel in the Antivirus window lets users view a log of recent activities such as updates, any virus attacks etc.
The Status panel in the Confidential window lets users view if there have been any recent activities regarding Phishing, Info or File Guard, or Vulnerability.
All settings are explained simply. In addition, each window/panel has an info icon ('?') that opens the comprehensive Nortons Help offering further in-depth information.
For most users, the default NIS settings allow rapid setup and good security with unobtrusive computer operation. For others who like to know about every connection attempt, or who want to micro-manage connection and application authorizations etc, these options are available and easy to follow.
Overall, I am impressed with the suite and pleased with the 'silent' background operation - no sign of the old problems with resource hogging and system slow-down. Nice interface, easy to configure. The use of Norton's DeepSight Community database is a great way to add an advanced layer of protection. After a full antivirus scan of our Mac, no gremlins were found. However, a Trojan was detected on a portable external drive that had previously been connected to other PCs.
Norton Internet Security (4.1 for Mac) offers universal support for Intel and PowerPC processor-based Mac computers.
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