Norton 360 Advanced Review
Independent testing proves that Norton 360 Advanced offers superb protection. It’s cheap, if you stick to third-party retailers for your subscription renewals, and extra features such as the password manager, parental controls and a VPN mean that Norton 360 Advanced stands out from the pack.
- Perfect malware protection
- Wide range of features
- Includes full VPN
- 200GB of online backup storage
- High false positive rate in some tests
- Expensive renewal rates
- Cloud storage: 10-200GB of storage for cloud backups is included, depending on subscription tier. Norton 360 Advanced comes with 200GB
- VPN:A full version of Norton Secure VPN comes as part of a Norton 360 Advanced or Deluxe subscription
- Webcam protection:Norton alerts you if any suspicious application tries to access to your webcam
- Parental controls:Time limits and content filtering for children of various ages
Norton is a venerable name in antivirus, and its malware-detection engine is among the most widely tested – which means we have plenty of solid, long-term evidence of its performance.
Norton 360 Advanced includes a web dashboard that, along with listing your installed devices and online backups, can help you keep an eye on your credit rating, check for your personal data appearing in online breaches and provides all-inclusive helpline numbers in case you lose your wallet or fear that you’re the victim of identity fraud, with experts who can stay on hand and help you contact relevant institutions and authorities.
Norton is clearly a behemoth of the home antivirus world, but can it hold its place as one of the best antivirus suites around? Here are my thoughts.
I’m reviewing Norton 360 Advanced, the most expensive, most feature-packed version of the suite. This used to be called Norton 360 Premium, and retail keys for that product will convert into Norton 360 Advanced subscriptions.
There are also Standard and Deluxe tiers, as well as the cheaper Norton Antivirus Plus. As you’d expect, the more you pay for the service, the more features you get; but the number of devices on which you can install the software depends on which product you buy.
Getting an initial year’s Norton subscription from the official website is conspicuously cheap, but watch out for those renewal fees at full RRP. Norton 360 Advanced costs £39.99 for the first year, but then goes up to £149.99 for subsequent years.
Go to Amazon (or any other online or high-street retailer that sells Norton codes) and you’ll find a 12-month subscription for the same service for £35.99. So you’re best buying codes at retail, and you’ll definitely want to disable automatic renewals. When you activate a product key, you’re prompted to enable automatic renewal by default, but it’s possible to cancel this.
- Includes a VPN and password manager
- Features dark web monitoring
- Cover for up to 10 devices
Norton 360 Advanced encompasses all of the features from lower tiers, including malware protection, a password manager, parental controls and webcam protection against unexpected apps trying to access your camera.
You also get Dark Web monitoring – to alert you if information associated with your email address is being traded on the dark web – and School Time distraction management tools to lock down unauthorised programs for children engaged in remote learning.
Exclusively to the Norton 360 Advanced tier, you get cover for 10 devices, Identity Restoration Support and Social Media Monitoring, which watches over you or your children’s Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram accounts for scams, inappropriate content, impersonation or harassment.
At install time, you’re prompted to join Norton CommunityWatch, which sends back data for analysis. This is generally beneficial, but should be avoided if you work with confidential or privileged documents. I appreciated how clearly it was signposted and presented as an opt-in, rather than opt-out, choice.
Once installed, Norton 360 Advanced prompts you to add email addresses, bank details, addresses and any other personal information you’d like to have it monitor for inclusion in breaches traded on the dark web. Further initial setup steps encourage you to activate online backups – you get a generous 200GB of cloud storage at the top tier.
Norton 360’s firewall is automatically activated. It isn’t as glossy as ESET’s firewall interface, but it offers a significant improvement over the one that comes with Windows. The firewall controls are clear and highly granular, with a few smart options to help protect against man-in-the-middle attacks and the ability to set per-interface trust levels.
Norton’s core real-time system security features are enabled by default, including real-time browser protection. There are also a couple of browser plugins, but they can be obtrusive, so I don’t particularly recommend using them. A silent detection mode means that you needn’t be annoyed by pop-ups while you’re in the middle of playing a game or watching a movie.
- Protects against vast majority of malware
- Falsely identified legitimate applications
Norton 360 Advanced is excellent at protecting you against malware, but recent test results indicate that it might also try to “protect” you against some legitimate software.
In SE Labs’ most recent real-world malware exposure tests, it protected against 100% of infections, but misidentified 2% of benign software as potential threats.
|Testing facility||AV-TEST||AV Comparatives||SE Labs|
|Real-World Threat Protection||100.00%||99.90%||100.00%|
And although it detected 99.9% of malware in the most recent AV Comparatives real-world test, it also falsely identified 26 entirely legitimate applications and websites as malicious.
AV-TEST found that it protected against all malware, with no false positives.
Should you buy it?
If staying safe online is your priority
It’s hard to argue with those scores, but be aware that Norton 360 might protect you against legitimate, as well as malicious, software.
You want a free antivirus
Despite its excellent performance results, Microsoft Defender Antivirus offers similar results despite being built into Windows 10 and Windows 11 at no extra charge.
Norton 360 Advanced has repeatedly been shown to be extremely effective, but may require more configuration, hand-holding and whitelisting of legitimate software than some rivals, which can be a problem for someone who’s less than confident about online security. If you avoid its auto-renewal options, it’s competitively priced and comes with an excellent range of bonus features, including an acceptably decent VPN.
How we test
We use every antivirus suite ourselves so we can check out their various features, from scanning options to integrated extras such as parental controls.
The results we use to assess malware detection performance come from reputable testing houses including AV-Test, AV Comparatives and SE Labs.
We download and use the software ourselves to test the included features
We use data from trusted and approved testing houses to determine the malware detection performance
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