In a twist on our annual AV roundup, we let you, the readers, pick the 10 contenders for best antivirus software!
Every year, antivirus vendors paint the same gloom-and-doom portrait, their canvases filled with startling statistics outlining the rapid spread of malware. As a consumer, the natural reaction is to look at these reports with a fistful of salt and a sack of skepticism—after all, AV vendors have a vested interest in promoting a need for security software, but are we really as vulnerable as they say? It all depends on your computing habits, but make no mistake, the web is a dangerous place to roam.
Note: This article was taken from the April 2013 issue of the magazine.
Let's face it, nobody actually likes paying for security software, and if you're adamant against it, there are certainly plenty of freebie options at your disposal. The benefits of a paid suite, however, are that they typically offers more robust features and you only have to worry about managing a single program versus several. There is a third option. If you want the best of both worlds and aren't afraid to trust your security to pre-release programs, beta releases are your calling card, and Symantec has some new options to choose from.
You're not a rookie on the Internet anymore so it's inexcusable to lock down your online accounts with weaksauce passwords. We're sure your girlfriend's fly, but using her name as a password is a poor security practice, and so is using any of the commonly recognized passwords out there, like 123456 and iloveyou, to name just two. If you're serious about security, you're using multiple passwords that are difficult to guess, which can also be difficult to remember. Symantec wants to help.
Who watches the watchmen? Alan Moore took a long, hard look at that question in the classic Watchmen graphic novel, but today we finally got a firm answer – at least if by “watchmen” you mean “computer security companies.” Symantec got the virtual equivalent of egg in the face after an Indian hacking group going by the name of “The Lords of Dharmaraja” managed to get their digital hands all over the Norton antivirus source code.
Symantec on Monday made available the public beta of version 6.0 of its all-in-one security suite Norton 360. It's currently available as a free download and is based on the same core technology found in Symantec's consumer oriented Norton Internet Security 2012, but with the addition of enhanced PC tuneup and system backup capabilities.
Perhaps you've heard that Windows 8 will ship with built-in antivirus software. Don't fret if you're just now learning this, Microsoft did a great job bombarding the media with information about its next major OS at its BUILD conference, and retaining it all on first pass is asking a lot. Nevertheless, this is a big announcement, and one that can't be sitting well with third-party AV vendors. Security firm Sophos has a message for them: "Too bad, sucka!"
Let us start with the obligatory disclaimer that if it's been a few years since you've played with a Norton product, things are very different than what you remember them to be. Starting with Norton's 2009 Antivirus and Internet Security Suite products, the emphasis has been on performance, both in terms of picking up malware and leaving a small system footprint, and it's been that way ever since (we've awarded Norton two 9 verdicts in our past three annual antivirus roundups). Now Norton will try and keep its revamped reputation intact with the release of its 2012 security products.
Symantec recently pushed out a signficant product update for both its Norton Antivirus 2011 and Norton Internet Security 2011 products, bringing the version number to 220.127.116.11. Among the upgrades are a few new features (like support for Mozilla's Firefox 4 browser), performance enhancements, better compatibility with third-party programs, and a handful of bug fixes.
Just three short years ago, the announcement of a new Norton product would have been met with a "big whoop" from the enthusiast community. Some of you might still feel that way, but take it from us, Symantec seriously stepped up its game starting with the 2009 releases, and Norton has been faring well in our annual antivirus roundups ever since, including a 9 verdict awarded to Norton Internet Security 2011. If you want to see what's in store for next year's release, Symantec just made available Norton Internet Security and Norton Antivirus 2012 in beta form.
With the release of NIS 2011, it’s apparent Symantec is still trying to shed its lingering image in power-user circles as a resource pig, perhaps a little too hard at times. The new user interface is sleek and sexy with plenty of configuration options to drill into, but it’s also a little daunting for less savvy PC users. It’s the polar opposite of Microsoft Security Essentials, and if you’re experienced with computers, that’s great. Your Aunt Agnes, however, probably won’t make heads or tails out of it all.