Norton Review: Quick Expert Summary
Norton 360 is my favorite antivirus in 2022 — it’s got a powerful anti-malware engine, a wide range of internet security tools, an intuitive online dashboard, and good customer support, all for a better price than most competitors.
Norton’s anti-malware engine uses machine learning, advanced heuristics, and a consistently updated malware directory to identify malware — from viruses and trojans to advanced malware like ransomware and cryptojackers. During my testing, Norton’s full scan and real-time protection were both able to detect every single malware file I tried to download, with minimal system slowdown and no false positives.
Norton also has:
- Web protection.
- Anti-phishing protection.
- VPN (virtual private network).
- Password manager.
- Parental controls.
- Device optimization.
- Cloud backup.
- Webcam protection (Windows only).
- Identity theft protection (US only).
- And a lot more…
Norton is very good, but it isn’t perfect. Norton’s desktop app is a little clunky, and its mobile protections are split across several separate apps, which is pretty annoying. And while Norton’s VPN offers excellent security features like a no-logs policy, 256-bit AES encryption, and a good network of servers worldwide, it doesn’t work with all streaming services and it doesn’t allow torrenting. That said, Norton’s VPN is still among the best antivirus-bundled VPNs on the market.
While I do have some complaints, I still think Norton 360 provides an excellent value. I’m impressed by how many well-built features each package includes. Most competitors offer some extra features along with their basic anti-malware scanner, but almost all of Norton 360’s security tools would be worth buying on their own. Plus, Norton comes with a 60-day money-back guarantee — plenty of time to test it and see if it’s the right antivirus for you.
|🏅 Overall Rank||#1 out of 69 antiviruses|
|👤 VPN||Yes (with unlimited data)|
|🎁 Free Plan||No|
|💸 Pricing||Starting at $19.99 per year|
|💰 Money-Back Guarantee||60 days|
|📀 Operating Systems||Windows, Android, Mac, iOS|
Norton 360 Full Review
Even on the cheapest plan, in addition to a top-notch anti-malware engine, you also get a firewall, anti-phishing protection, a password manager, 2 GB of cloud storage, and 100% Virus Protection, which means Norton will refund your money if it can’t remove a virus.
Upgrading to Norton’s best-value plan, Norton 360 Deluxe, additionally brings you webcam protection, a VPN with no data limitations, dark web monitoring, parental controls (including the School Time feature that lets you limit your child’s internet usage during school hours), a privacy monitor, and up to 50 GB cloud storage. US users can also get access to Norton’s comprehensive identity theft protections as part of the Norton LifeLock plans.
Norton Security Features
Norton uses a massive malware directory as well as heuristic analysis and machine learning to detect malware and provide an excellent level of virus protection. It offers a variety of virus scanning options plus real-time protection to keep malware from Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices.
For my testing, I downloaded a database of nearly 1,000 malware files, including viruses, exploits, worms, trojans, backdoors, keyloggers, rootkits, zero-day attacks, ransomware, spyware, cryptojackers, and PUPs (potentially unwanted programs).
Norton caught 100% of the malware files on my disk with a full system scan — there are only a handful of competitors that can boast a similar malware detection rate (like Bitdefender).
Norton’s real-time protection is equally impressive. After testing Norton’s full scan, I turned on the real-time protection and tried to download the same 997-file malware database in the form of plain files, zipped files, and even encrypted files. Norton blocked all of the plain files before my computer could even begin downloading them, and it blocked all of my zipped and encrypted malware files the moment I attempted to unzip and decrypt them.
Norton’s full disk scan took about 40 minutes on my PC, which is as fast as most other top competitors. Norton also offers a variety of other scan options, such as:
- Quick scan — Scans areas where malware is most commonly found, such as temporary files, running processes, and system files.
- Custom scan — Scans specified folders and disk locations.
- Norton insight — Flags suspicious files that you should perform a custom scan on.
Norton makes it really easy to schedule all of its virus scans — I scheduled Norton to run a full scan from 3-5am every morning, but you can also schedule weekly or monthly scans.
One thing I really like about Norton is that it’s designed to automatically detect when your apps are in full screen mode — Norton won’t give you any notifications or initiate any scans (including scheduled scans) while you’re playing games, watching movies, or using any other full screen app. Gamers will appreciate that Norton automatically suspends notifications and scans in full screen mode (Norton ranks among the best antiviruses for gaming).
Overall, Norton’s malware scanner is excellent — the full system scan detected all of my test malware without slowing down my PC, and the real-time protection blocked all of the malware samples I tried downloading. I also like that Norton offers several scanning options, including a quick and custom scan, and I found it very easy to schedule scans.
Norton includes a Smart Firewall that offers significant improvements over built-in firewalls from Windows and macOS. In my exploit testing, Norton detected every single network intrusion, including a few instances that my Windows firewall failed to block.
Norton’s firewall provides ARP and DNS spoofing protection, SSL man-in-the-middle attack detection, port access detection, and a ton of customization options for advanced users.
You can set access rules for every single program on your PC, as well as traffic rules for all of Windows’s built-in programs, like Network Discovery, File and Printer Sharing, and Remote Desktop Connection. However, most users will just want to let the firewall run on its defaults.
Additionally, Norton provides a list of 136 uncommon protocols — these protocols can be used by malware to communicate between devices on a network. Norton’s firewall automatically monitors all of these protocols for suspicious activity, and notifies users if they should disable any of these protocols due to a network-based malware threat.
Overall, I really like Norton’s Smart Firewall — it detected all of the network intrusions during my tests, and it offers an impressive range of customization options for advanced users.
Safe Web & Safe Search
Norton’s Safe Web browser extension (available for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge) provides protection against phishing sites, as well as community reviews for suspicious web pages, and an “Isolation Mode” for online banking. And Norton’s Safe Search is a search engine that lets users know whether a website is safe or not.
The Safe Web browser extension provides really good anti-phishing protection — it detected almost all of the phishing sites in my testing, including sites that Chrome and top competitors like McAfee failed to detect.
Safe Web also has something called “Isolation Mode” for protecting users’ financial information. When users navigate to a financial site, Safe Web will give you the option to put your browser into Isolation Mode, blocking all browser-based intrusions and making your browser window “read-only”, so no harmful web scripts or malware can make changes or steal information from your screen. Hackers can sometimes steal user information by remotely recording your screen’s financial information, so Safe Web’s Isolation Mode makes it impossible for hackers to steal any of the information that’s visible on your screen.
For my testing, I navigated to my PayPal account, and Safe Web offered to put my browser into Isolation Mode. When I accepted the request, my browser was completely cut off from the rest of my system — I couldn’t copy text from my browser, screen capture, or even paste info into my browser.
Norton’s Safe Search tool is a secure search engine that offers color-coded assessments of search results — green is safe, orange is potentially unsafe, and red is dangerous. Unfortunately, Safe Search isn’t very good. During my tests, it falsely labeled numerous pirate websites as safe, and it offered grey “untested” notifications for most websites that are actually safe.
Overall, I wasn’t too impressed with Norton’s Safe Search — it isn’t very accurate, labeling unsafe sites as safe and vice versa. However, Norton’s Safe Web browser extension provides excellent anti-phishing protection and a secure sandboxed browser for financial transactions.
Secure VPN (Virtual Private Network)
A lot of antiviruses include bundled VPNs, but I think Norton’s VPN is one of the very best in 2022. One of the best things about it is that it has unlimited browsing data (even on the cheapest plan). Many other antivirus VPNs set a cap on your data, such as Bitdefender and Kaspersky. In addition, Norton Secure VPN provides industry-standard VPN security features like 256-bit AES encryption, a kill switch, and a no-logs policy, plus extras like Wi-Fi security, split-tunneling, an ad blocker, and Tor compatibility.
It also has 2,000+ servers in 30+ countries, which is about an average server network size for a VPN included with an antivirus package. However, it’s nowhere near as big as a standalone VPN like ExpressVPN and CyberGhost VPN — both have servers in a whopping 90+ countries. That being said, Norton Secure VPN has servers based in 6 different continents, so most users can connect to a server close to them to get the fastest speeds.
However, Norton Secure VPN’s connection speeds aren’t the best. Since VPNs route your internet connection through another server (sometimes around the world) and encrypts all of your data, this process is always going to cause some slowdown, no matter which VPN you use. But because all VPNs handle these tasks differently, all VPNs have different speeds. In my tests, Norton’s VPN wasn’t nearly as fast as some antivirus competitors like TotalAV or Bitdefender, but it wasn’t the slowest either.
This is my internet connection from my local network, without a VPN:
Then I ran the speed test with Norton’s VPN connected to a local server in the US:
As you can see, my download speed was barely affected — with Norton’s VPN on, I was still able to stream HD video and browse the web without any noticeable slowdown.
Here are my speeds connected to a server in the Netherlands from my home in the US:
While my download speeds remained the same as they were in the US, my ping increased, which caused websites to load in about 4 seconds. However, videos started right away.
There’s also some bad news for users looking for a good streaming VPN — while I was able to access Netflix, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, and Amazon Prime during my testing, Norton was unable to access Disney+ and Hulu. This is not the best, since most of the top VPNs these days (like ExpressVPN and CyberGhost VPN) can easily access all of the top streaming services (see the top VPNs for streaming here).
And another piece of bad news — Norton’s VPN doesn’t allow torrenting. The VPN disconnected the moment I opened up any torrent client. Again, this is not the best, since there are tons of capable torrenting VPNs out there.
Norton bundles its VPN with the Standard, Deluxe, and LifeLock plans. The Standard plan allows you to connect 1 device, the Deluxe plan allows up to 5 connections, and the LifeLock plans allow unlimited connections. Norton’s VPN is also available as a standalone purchase, and you can choose to cover 1, 5, or 10 devices — I think the 5-device subscription offers the best value.
Overall, while it may not be as good as standalone VPNs, Norton ranks as one of the best antiviruses with a VPN because it provides encrypted web access across a variety of servers around the globe along with the inclusion of a strict no-logs policy, an easy-to-use interface, a kill switch, and unlimited browsing data.
Norton’s built-in password manager is surprisingly good — a lot of antiviruses include password managers that only provide basic password storage for a single device, without any of the additional features that make Norton’s password manager special.
Here’s what’s included in Norton’s password manager:
- Secure 256-bit AES encryption.
- Unlimited password storage.
- Synchronization across PCs, Macs, Androids, and iOS devices.
- Browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Safari.
- Auto-save and auto-fill.
- Password generator.
- Password vault auditing.
After setting up my master password, Norton gave me the option to import my password vaults from Chrome, Firefox, Dashlane, LastPass, or 1Password.
After importing my passwords from LastPass, I navigated to my PayPal account — Norton automatically offered me a small icon in the login fields and filled my email address and password with a single click.
Norton surpasses other antivirus companies by also including vault auditing tools in its password manager. Norton’s vault auditing tool shows which passwords are insecure, too simple, repeated, or too old — and it’s automatically updated, so you can examine your login security each time you look at your password vault. The vault auditing tool has an “Autochange” feature which can automatically generate new passwords for some websites. However, Norton’s Autochange is only compatible with a handful of popular sites. Dashlane’s auto-change feature is much better — it works for a few hundred more sites than Norton’s does.
Norton’s password manager includes a mobile login option, which allows users to log into their vault using their mobile device instead of their master password. I also like that Norton allows users to log into their mobile apps on iOS and Android devices using biometric login (like a fingerprint or face scan). However, third-party password managers like 1Password are also compatible with TOTP 2FA apps like Authy and USB tokens like YubiKey — I’d like to see Norton add TOTP and USB 2FA compatibility to its password manager.
Norton’s password manager isn’t perfect, though. The first problem I ran into is the fact that Norton doesn’t include account recovery or emergency access — if you forget your master password, there’s simply no way to log into your password vault. The only option Norton gives you is to destroy your vault and make a new one. Norton does let users create a password hint for their master password, but it’s hard to make a good hint for a string of random numbers, letters, and symbols — which is what any good master password should include.
Some users may appreciate this lack of account recovery options — it makes it impossible for con artists to gain access to your vault — but I think most users would rather have email account recovery or emergency contact options like LastPass provides.
Norton’s password manager isn’t as robust as some standalone competitors, but it provides multi-device sync, a secure password generator, auto-saving for new passwords, auto-filling for saved passwords, mobile login, and vault health auditing — it ranked as the #1 antivirus with a password manager in 2022.
Parental Controls (Safe Family)
Norton’s parental controls for Windows, iOS, and Android (not available for Mac) are some of the very best on the market — Norton ranked as the #1 best antivirus with parental controls in 2022, and it’s currently #3 on our list of the best standalone parental control apps.
One of my favorite things about Norton’s parent controls is that it allows you to monitor an unlimited number of devices. Other top parental control apps like Qustodio only let you monitor up to 15 devices — so Norton is an excellent choice for large families.
With Norton’s parental controls, parents can:
- Accurately filter inappropriate web and app content.
- Block websites on desktop devices.
- Monitor and block apps on Android devices.
- Monitor YouTube activity and even watch a portion of each video.
- Supervise searches on Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines.
- Set time limits and schedule usage for all devices.
- Track location for mobile devices.
- Receive activity reports.
- Set emergency contacts.
I’ve tested a lot of parental control tools, looking for a decent balance of security and usability for my children. Most antivirus parental controls lack essential features that I expect from a top-notch app. For example, Trend Micro’s parental controls filters websites and apps, lets you set time limits, and has social media protections, but you can’t monitor your kid’s activity on YouTube and there’s no geofencing. Norton, on the other hand, has an impressive Location Supervision feature that allowed me to keep close and accurate tabs on my daughter’s iPhone location at all times. Also, you can set up a zone that spans up to 2 miles, and Norton will tell you when your kid enters or leaves it.
When it comes to limiting which websites you will allow your kid to access, Norton’s Web Supervision is excellent. It accurately blocked dozens of different sites during my tests — with the ability to block 45+ different categories, including “Cult”, “Hate Speech”, and even “Abortion”. It automatically sets filters based on your child’s age, but it also gives users the choice to toggle all of the parental controls separately. Plus, I love that my daughter can’t use a VPN to bypass any of my blocks.
Norton Safe Family also offers a “School Time” mode, which only allows access to websites and apps that a parent deems to be important for their children’s education — this is an extremely helpful feature for any kids that may be involved in virtual school.
Safe Family also recorded every search, website, and YouTube video that I looked up on my PC, iPhone, and even on my daughter’s Chromebook!
Unfortunately, Norton’s parental control app has a few issues. It doesn’t work on Mac computers, and it’s way too easy for a tech-savvy kid to bypass the web filter and YouTube and search monitoring on Windows.
Norton bundles parental controls with its Deluxe and Premium plans, and it also has a competitively-priced standalone yearly subscription, which costs $49.99 / year.
Overall, I was impressed by Norton Safe Family’s content filtering, app blocking, usage limits, location tracking, and YouTube monitoring features — it’s definitely one of the most intuitive and comprehensive parental control apps on the market.
Norton’s privacy monitor is a simple but unique feature for keeping your personally identifying information (PII) out of the hands of data brokers.
Data brokers harvest metadata from thousands of different sites to build an identity profile, which can include your last several addresses, the names of your family members, your favorite brands, your birthday, and your gender — and these data brokers then sell that aggregated information to the highest bidder.
Fortunately, privacy laws in most of the world forbid data brokers from collecting and selling your information if you specifically ask them to stop. So, Norton searches around 25 different data brokers for your information and compiles all of the brokers with your information in a single location.
Norton’s Privacy Monitor can be accessed in the my.norton online dashboard. After you enter your name and date of birth, Privacy Monitor gives you a list of data brokers that have your PII up for sale. The Privacy Monitor then gives you the option to manually request the removal of your information from each individual site, or you can buy a separate subscription to Norton’s Privacy Monitor Assistant service and have a Norton employee tackle the data brokers for you. Norton found 9 sites that exposed my personal information. It was very easy to manually request the removal, and it took me less than 2 minutes to complete.
Norton’s Privacy Monitor is a useful tool that makes it easy to remove personal information from over 25 data broker directories with a few clicks.
Norton’s default system tune-up tools are ok, but purchasing the Utilities Ultimate upgrade gets you some of the best system optimization tools on the market. This is what Norton offers for its base device optimization package:
- Optimize disk — Defragments your hard drive.
- File cleanup — Trashes temporary files from Windows and web browsers.
- Startup manager — Allows you to choose which programs run on startup.
- Graphs — Shows a timeline of important activity on your device.
I found Norton’s tune-up tools to be fast, efficient, and fairly comprehensive. However, the file cleanup doesn’t remove browser cookies, duplicate files, or unused program files like Avira and TotalAV do.
I do like Norton’s Graphs feature a lot, which allowed me to see all of the program installs, downloads, virus scans, performance notifications, malware alerts, and system tuneups performed by Norton. Since a lot of Norton’s activity happens in the background, the Graphs feature was a helpful way for me to track the changes and assistance that Norton was providing for me.
Norton’s device optimization tools are a useful and fairly comprehensive addition to an already impressive antivirus suite. However, users that upgrade to Utilities Ultimate get a much better system tune-up package.
Utilities Ultimate cleans up cached browser files, Windows junk files, and registry files in real time (so you never have to run a system tune-up scan). It also includes tons of customization options so you can keep specific files like Windows error reporting files, recent downloads, items copied to clipboard, and much more. I really like this automatic system cleanup functionality, which prevents my PC from getting bogged down with junk files.
Utilities Ultimate also provides a Real-Time Boost feature which optimizes your CPU, RAM, and power usage in real time.
Real-Time Boost is very similar to the Norton GO game booster feature offered in the Norton 360 for Gamers plan. It works by allocating specific system processes to specific cores on multi-core CPUs, as well as releasing RAM that’s being taken up by idle background programs — all of this means that you get a lot more out of your system. In my testing, my PC was able to run CPU-intensive programs like Ableton Live and Photoshop with noticeably less slowdown while Real-Time Boost was running.
My only issue with Norton’s Utilities Ultimate feature is that it’s only available as a paid add-on with most Norton plans — Avira offers its very similar System Speedup Pro feature as a built-in feature for its premium plan.
Norton’s built-in system tune-up tools are pretty good, but for users that want their systems running at peak performance, buying the Utilities Ultimate upgrade is an excellent low-cost option.
Dark Web Monitoring (Select Countries Only)
Norton’s dark web monitoring feature scans dark web forums, credit reports, and breach databases to notify users when their information has been leaked. As of right now, dark web monitoring is only available to users in 20+ countries, including in the US, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and more than 10 countries in Europe like the UK, Germany, Switzerland, and Denmark. US users can also take advantage of LifeLock’s powerful identity protections — but I’ll get to that later.
Norton’s dark web monitoring scans for a really impressive array of personally identifying information (PII), such as:
- Bank account numbers.
- Credit cards.
- Driver’s license information.
- Insurance numbers.
- And lots more…
Norton improves on most data breach monitors by using live human agents who are paid to infiltrate dark web forums — Norton’s dark web assistants can find data that most companies can’t, and they can give you advice and feedback in the event that your information is found on the dark web. This “real person” approach is much more effective than database-based breach monitors from competitors like Kaspersky.
Furthermore, dark web monitoring is always active once you enter your information — the moment any of your data is discovered floating around the internet, Norton’s dark web monitoring team will give you a notification and instructions on how you can make the necessary changes to protect your identity and accounts.
Norton’s dark web monitoring is really good, and it gets even better for US users that can access Norton’s LifeLock identity protection services.
Identity Theft Protections (US Only)
Norton’s LifeLock identity protections include a huge amount of features, such as:
- Credit report monitoring.
- Live identity recovery assistance.
- Legal assistance.
- Credit freezing.
- Court record, 401k, social security, and ID monitoring.
I think LifeLock’s identity theft protection services are some of the best out there. The live credit report monitoring gives you notifications about any loans, purchases, investments, rental applications, or credit card applications that include any of your personal identifying information. LifeLock compiles this data from the top three credit reporting services in the US — TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. So if anybody is trying to use your information, LifeLock will notice and notify you.
I also like that LifeLock offers up to $1M in insurance payouts and legal assistance in the event of serious identity theft. I don’t have anywhere close to a million dollars, so I was happy to sign up for Norton’s LifeLock Select plan, which only covers a $25,000 payout for identity theft related damages, up to $1M in legal aid for identity theft victims, and access to Equifax’s credit monitoring network and LifeLock’s in-person identity recovery services.
The only thing I don’t like about LifeLock’s protections is that they’re only available to US users. McAfee provides identity theft protection for users in the US, Canada, and Europe for less than LifeLock — but McAfee’s protections aren’t nearly as comprehensive as LifeLock’s.
If you’re looking to protect your finances, identity, investments, and personally identifying information, Norton’s LifeLock plans are the very best choice on the market (but again, only for US users).
Norton’s Cloud Backup is pretty good — but it’s limited to PC users. Norton’s backup tool is basically identical to well-known cloud storage tools like Dropbox, OneDrive, and iCloud. It offers the following options:
- Schedule backups.
- Back up specific files.
- Remove or save backed up files on your local disk.
- Back up to the cloud or a local disk.
Cloud Backup works pretty well — it automatically selected 50 GB of my important files, most of which were media files like .mov, .jpeg, .doc, and .wav. Advanced users can easily go into the “What” section of the backup settings and manually select which folders to back up.
Norton’s backup isn’t going to win any awards for innovation, but if you’re not already using a cloud storage app to protect your data, it’s a perfectly functional solution for protecting user data in the cloud. Depending on which Norton plan you subscribe to, you can get 10-500 GB of storage using Norton’s Cloud Backup feature.
Norton 360 has so many features that I just don’t have the space to talk about them all. Here are some other notable features:
- PC SafeCam (Windows only) — Webcam protection that makes sure your PC’s webcam isn’t being remotely controlled by a third-party.
- Norton for gamers (Windows only) — A special set of antivirus features for PC gamers (more info here).
- Virus Protection Promise — If you get a virus and Norton can’t remove it, you’ll get a full refund.
Norton 360 Plans and Pricing
Norton provides 5 different plans for users around the globe, and adds 3 different LifeLock plans for users in the US.
Norton’s basic AntiVirus Plus plan is cheaper than Norton’s 360 plans, but it doesn’t include some of the additional features that make Norton 360 a comprehensive security suite.
Norton’s 360 with LifeLock plans include all features of Norton 360, plus advanced identity theft tools, like credit monitoring, social security and driver license monitoring, and identity restoration assistance.
Note: There’s a 60-day money-back guarantee on all of Norton’s plans.
Here’s a quick overview of all of Norton’s plans:
|Antivirus Plus||360 Standard||360 Deluxe||360 for Gamers||Premium||360 with LifeLock Select||360 with LifeLock Advantage||360 with LifeLock Ultimate Plus|
|Platforms||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS|
|Price||$19.99 / year||$39.99 / year||$49.99 / year||$44.99 / year||$54.99 / year||$99.99 / year||$191.88 / year||$299.88 / year|
|Number of devices||1||1||5||3||10||10||10||Unlimited|
|Malware scanning and removal||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅|
|Dark web monitoring||❌||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅|
|Cloud backup||2 GB||10 GB||50 GB||50 GB||100 GB||100 GB||250 GB||500 GB|
Norton AntiVirus Plus — Basic Norton Plan
Norton’s AntiVirus Plus plan offers the same high level of real-time and on-demand malware protection included with the Norton 360 suite and a handful of extra features, including:
- Smart firewall.
- Norton password manager.
- 2 GB cloud storage.
This scaled back package doesn’t include many of the extra features that come with Norton’s 360 plans, like the VPN, dark web monitoring, parental controls, and webcam protection.
AntiVirus Plus can only be installed on one PC or Mac, unlike the Norton 360 plans that offer compatibility for up to 10 devices, including PCs, Macs, iPhones, and Android smartphones. However, Norton AntiVirus Plus is a great value at just $19.99 / year.
While this plan is limited in terms of features, Norton AntiVirus Plus will still do a great job of protecting 1 device from all kinds of malware.
Norton 360 Standard — Basic Norton 360 Plan
Norton’s basic 360 plan provides an impressive amount of features for a single device, and it’s only $39.99 / year. Here’s what you get with Norton 360 Standard:
- Real-time malware scanning.
- Smart firewall.
- Password manager.
- 10 GB cloud storage.
- Webcam protection (Windows only).
- Dark web monitoring (US only).
A lot of antiviruses put limits on the VPNs, password managers, and other tools in their lower-tier programs, but Norton 360 Standard provides full access to almost all of Norton’s features.
The biggest problem with Norton’s basic plan is that it doesn’t offer multi-device coverage. However, Norton 360 Standard is an excellent choice for users that need protection for a single device.
Norton 360 Deluxe — Best-Value Norton Plan
At just $49.99 / year, Norton 360 Deluxe is Norton’s best-value plan, and the one I recommend for most users looking for good cybersecurity protections on a budget. It includes all of the same features as Norton 360 Standard, plus:
- Coverage for up to 5 devices.
- Parental controls.
- Dark web monitoring (US, UK, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand).
- Privacy monitor.
- 50 GB cloud storage.
My only complaint with Norton’s subscription model is its lack of flexibility. Many competitors, like Bitdefender, will allow users to add one or two more devices to their plans for a nominal fee — with Norton, the 360 Deluxe plan maxes out at 5 devices, and the only way to get coverage for, let’s say, a sixth or seventh device per year is to upgrade to Norton’s next-tier subscription.
That being said, I think that most users, including parents and families with 5 or fewer devices, will be really happy with the huge variety of security features included with Norton 360 Deluxe.
Norton 360 for Gamers — Excellent Gaming Antivirus
Norton 360 for Gamers offers all of the features included in Norton 360 Deluxe, plus a couple of extras for gamers, including a game booster (Norton GO). It covers up to 3 devices for $44.99 / year — which is a great deal, especially considering how helpful Norton GO is for gamers.
Norton GO automatically detects when your device is running games and then it reallocates running processes to optimize processing power for games. In my testing, Norton GO performed really well — while I was playing Destiny 2, Norton allowed me to increase my graphics settings without sacrificing framerate! I’m a huge fan of Norton’s game booster, which is in my opinion one of the best on the market (Norton ranked #1 on our list of the top antiviruses for gamers in 2022).
Overall, Norton GO is a really good option for gamers, and it covers up to 3 Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices.
Norton 360 Premium (only available outside US) — Most Advanced International Plan
Norton’s most advanced international plan provides the exact same features as Norton 360 Deluxe, but with coverage for up to 10 devices and more storage space (up to 200 GB) — and at $49.99 / year, it’s a pretty good deal. If you want to add more than 5 devices to your plan, buying Norton 360 Premium is a solid investment.
For international users with more than 5 devices to cover, Norton 360 Premium is the best antivirus software on the market.
Norton 360 with LifeLock Select (US Only) — Basic Norton with LifeLock Plan
Norton’s lowest-tier LifeLock plan includes all of the features of Norton 360 Deluxe, plus a pretty good amount of LifeLock’s protections, including:
- Credit monitoring with Equifax.
- $25,000 identity theft insurance.
- $1M in legal assistance related to identity theft.
- Live identity restoration assistance.
- Social security and driver’s license monitoring.
- 100 GB cloud storage.
Identity theft is serious, but Norton’s LifeLock protections aren’t cheap — they start at $99.99 / year. That said, if you don’t mind investing a little bit of cash every year into your peace of mind, then Norton’s LifeLock plans are a good investment.
LifeLock’s identity theft protections are some of the best out there — it’s really a big relief knowing that there’s an active insurance policy keeping me protected in the event of a data breach or identity theft incident. And I get a lot of reassurance knowing that I’ll have 24/7 assistance in case something happens.
Norton 360 with LifeLock Advantage (US Only) — Advanced Norton with LifeLock Plan
At $191.88 / year, Norton’s middle-tier LifeLock plan is significantly more expensive than the LifeLock Select plan, but it could be worth the price for some users. Norton 360 with LifeLock Advantage offers coverage on up to 10 devices, 250 GB of cloud storage, and improved identity protections from LifeLock, including:
- $100,000 identity theft insurance.
- Credit file lock.
- Phone number monitoring.
- Fake identity monitoring.
- Enhanced social security monitoring.
As a reviewer, it’s not really possible to test Norton’s claims about LifeLock, which can be pretty frustrating — for example, I’m not entirely sure if the LifeLock Advantage plan would really detect social security fraud more effectively than LifeLock Select.
However, the concrete benefits of LifeLock Advantage are apparent in the numbers — users get coverage on twice the amount of devices, 4x more identity theft insurance payout, and 150 GB more of cloud storage than on the LifeLock Select plan.
If you’re using more than 5 devices and expanded identity theft protections are important to you, then Norton 360 with LifeLock Advantage is a great option. Plus, it’s got a monthly subscription plan for users on a budget.
Norton 360 with LifeLock Ultimate Plus (US Only) — Most Expensive Norton with LifeLock Plan
I’m not going to lie — I think Norton’s LifeLock Ultimate Plus plan is overpriced. However, Norton’s top-tier plan is a really impressive piece of security software designed to connect users with a massive infrastructure of digital and physical security tools — if you’re looking to protect the most devices with the best protection in the world, this is the package for you.
For $299.88 / year, these are the improvements that Norton 360 with LifeLock Ultimate Plus offers over Norton’s other plans:
- Coverage for an unlimited number of devices.
- 500 GB of cloud storage.
- $1M identity theft reimbursement.
- Credit monitoring from all 3 credit bureaus.
- 401k and stock monitoring.
- Home title monitoring.
- Court document records monitoring.
- Social media monitoring.
If you have a really large family, a significant amount of assets that need protecting, and you absolutely want the utmost in cybersecurity protection, both online and offline, then Norton 360 with LifeLock Ultimate Plus is the best internet security package on the market today.
Norton 360 Ease of Use and Setup
Norton 360 is a big program. Even its lowest-tier package includes a wide variety of features that other top internet security suites don’t have. Just like with any large software, there is a learning curve when it comes to using Norton — the company made some pretty good design choices to make the program easy to figure out, but there are also a few pretty poor choices that make some features more difficult than they need to be.
Norton is simple to download and install. Just choose your operating system from the my.norton website, download and run the installer file, and Norton 360 will automatically be running on your PC or macOS (mobile protections are a little different, but I’ll get into those in the next section).
Once you have Norton installed, it gives you 2 options for the user interface: My Norton, and Classic. My Norton is the default interface — it’s pretty good, although I’m not sure why half of the window is dominated by an anonymous mountain climber.
Clicking on Device Security in the “My Norton” window takes you to Norton’s Classic view, giving users the option to run virus scans, check for web protections, back up data, and run Norton’s performance optimization tools.
Clicking the “My Norton” symbol will bring you back to the home screen, where you can access Norton’s VPN, dark web monitoring/LifeLock protections, password manager, Utilities Ultimate feature, and parental controls. Unfortunately, I had a surprisingly hard time getting Norton’s desktop app to do anything other than run antivirus scans. I found myself repeatedly clicking on the Parental Controls button or LifeLock protections with no success (they seem to exist just to remind you that you have the protections, but they don’t actually connect you to those features on your desktop).
The good news is that there’s an alternative to Norton’s desktop app — during my time with Norton 360, I found myself returning time and again to Norton’s online dashboard.
The my.norton web dashboard is cleanly laid out, responsive, and includes all of Norton’s features — it’s a much better user interface than Norton’s desktop app. I was able to configure my parental controls, access my password vault, look at my cloud storage, and check out my identity theft settings with a few clicks.
Overall, Norton is easy to use and intuitive, and it has more features than almost any other competitor. Users may need some time to get used to Norton, but I’m fairly certain that even non-technical users will be able to understand and use all of its features pretty quickly.
Norton 360 Mobile App
Norton’s mobile protections for Android and iOS are both really good — but I wish the company would bundle all of Norton’s security tools into a single app.
Note: I successfully ran all of Norton’s Android security apps from the Google Play Store on my daughter’s Chromebook. Norton says it doesn’t “officially support” Chromebook, but Norton is still the best Chromebook antivirus in 2022.
Norton offers these protections for mobile users:
- Malware scanner (Android only).
- App advisor (Android only).
- Web protection.
- Wi-Fi network monitor.
- Safe Web & Safe Search.
- Device security.
- SMS spam filter.
- Secure calendar (iOS only).
- Password manager (separate app).
- Parental controls (separate app).
- LifeLock identity theft protection (separate app).
I really like Norton’s App Advisor which scans both apps that are about to be downloaded and apps that are already installed. The App Advisor for existing apps lets you know which of your apps have no privacy risks, which apps are installed in the last 30 days, and which apps are using more battery than normal.
I also really like Norton’s web protections for mobile and the Safe Search browser that filters out harmful websites from search engine results.
I also really like Norton’s new SMS spam filter, which blocks unsafe smishing texts on both iPhones and Android devices. And the new Secure Calendar feature for iOS blocks spam and phishing messages that arrive in the form of iOS Calendar notifications.
The rest of Norton’s mobile security tools are really good — my only complaint was with the amount of apps I had to download. Norton should include the password manager, LifeLock, and Safe Family app in a single app.
I like Norton’s mobile apps — they provide malware protection and app security for Androids and Chromebooks, they provide web and Wi-Fi protections for all mobile users (including iOS), and all of Norton’s separate apps for password management, parental controls, and identity theft protection sync up well with Norton’s desktop app and online dashboard.
In terms of overall device security, Norton provides some of the best mobile antivirus apps on the market.
Norton 360 Customer Support
Norton offers customer support via telephone, live chat, frequently asked questions (FAQs), troubleshooting guides, and a community forum. While I like most of these different platforms, I don’t like how Norton’s support page is disorganized and all of the platforms are difficult to find and navigate.
For example, I couldn’t find the phone number — it’s not listed anywhere on the site. Instead, I typed in “Norton Phone Number” in the search bar on the support page, which provided a link to another link to get the phone number. There’s a 1-click button to open live chat, but you first have to deal with a virtual assistant, and it was very frustrating trying to ask for a live agent. It took me 5 different attempts before I was connected to an actual customer support representative. And the only way to find troubleshooting guides is through the search bar. I prefer Bitdefender’s customer support page, which is well-organized with different categories to access guides and provides easy access to live chat and telephone numbers.
The good news is that once you find what you’re looking for, Norton’s support is great.
I really like that Norton’s phone support is available in dozens of different languages, including English, German, Dutch, Turkish, Mandarin, and Arabic. Some of these languages are only available for phone chat during regional business hours, but I was able to live chat with a surprisingly large number of agents in different countries 24 hours a day. By comparison, competitors like Malwarebytes only offer support in a few languages.
First, I spoke with a support rep in Bogota, Colombia who was able to access my Norton subscription and add LifeLock to my account when I encountered a bug on the Norton website. The rep was patient, knowledgeable, and helpful — this was honestly one of the more positive phone support experiences I’ve ever had with an antivirus provider.
All of my experiences with live chat representatives were extremely pleasant, professional, and helpful. I also like how a live chat rep is qualified to provide remote assistance, which lets them access your computer to fix any of your issues. You can also message Norton on Facebook and Twitter.
The FAQs and troubleshooting guides answered most of my questions, and I found often that I didn’t need to escalate my issue to a live agent.
The community forum is not that good, though. Most of the posts don’t get answered, and in the posts that were answered by a Norton rep, it took multiple days. If you’re looking for faster and better responses, I recommend calling Norton or contacting a live chat rep.
Norton’s customer support team is available in more languages than any other product I’ve tested, and its phone and live chat representatives are generally extremely helpful and knowledgeable. There are also really informative FAQs and troubleshooting guides. My only beef with Norton’s support is it’s not designed well and it’s hard to find contact information and other details. However, Norton provides far superior support than many of its competitors.
Is Norton 360 the Best Internet Security Suite for 2022?
I’m very confident in calling Norton the best antivirus software on the market in 2022. Norton stands above the competition in terms of malware detection, internet security tools, mobile protections, useability, and value.
Norton detected every single malware file in my testing — including newer malware threats like ransomware files, cryptojackers, rootkits, and adware. Its anti-malware engine uses a vast malware directory, advanced heuristics, and machine learning to synthesize the best parts of traditional and modern antivirus detection. There are a few other programs with near-perfect detection rates — McAfee and Bitdefender, for example — but Norton’s layered approach to malware protection remains the best.
Norton’s web protections are really good, too. The Safe Web extension offers anti-phishing protection that is better at detecting phishing sites than Chrome or Firefox, and it also provides an “Isolation Mode” that provides an extra layer of security during financial transactions.
Norton also has comprehensive parental controls, a good password manager, and excellent dark web monitoring (which uses real people to discover data breaches). For users in the US, Norton’s LifeLock protections provide a huge network of PII (personally identifying information) monitoring tools, as well as between $25,000-$1M in reimbursement in the event of identity theft.
I don’t love Norton’s VPN — it doesn’t work with some streaming sites and doesn’t support torrenting. However, the VPN is good for secure browsing, the dashboard is easy to use, it’s bundled with most of Norton’s plans, and you can buy it as a separate purchase for a pretty affordable price.
Overall, Norton is the best all-around internet security suite you can find — it provides unbeatable malware protection, it bundles almost all of the internet security tools available on the market into a single program, and it provides an excellent value for virtually all types of users. You can try out Norton risk-free with a 60-day money-back guarantee.
Norton 360 — Frequently Asked Questions
Is Norton free?
Norton isn’t free — there are some decent free antiviruses out there, but none of them contain anywhere near the level of malware protection and internet security features included in Norton’s 360 packages.
For users on a budget, the Norton 360 Standard plan offers excellent antivirus protection for a single device. Norton offers a pretty good first-year discount and you can try all of its features risk-free with a 60-day money-back guarantee.
How does Norton’s malware scanner work?
For real-time protection and virus scanning, Norton provides a multi-layered approach, including:
- Malware directory.
- Heuristic analysis.
- Machine learning.
Most antivirus software uses a malware directory, cross-referencing the code of each scanned file against hundreds of thousands of known malware files. Norton’s malware directory (which is top-secret) consistently ranks among the best on the market.
Norton also uses heuristics and machine learning to detect zero-day threats. Heuristics analyze the code of new files against known malware, flagging potentially unsafe files that contain similar code.
Machine learning analyzes files based on their behavior, looking for actions and source code that are similar to the malware files that have been given to Norton’s machine-learning interface. If a piece of malware tries to embed itself in your root files, or encrypt your system files, or connect to your Wi-Fi network, or perform any other malware-like operation, then Norton can block and flag that malware file, even if it’s a zero-day threat that isn’t contained in any malware directory.
What’s the best Norton package?
Norton 360 Deluxe is the best choice for most users. It provides a ton of useful features for up to 5 devices across Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. But if you’re only trying to protect one device, Norton 360 Standard includes almost all of the same features for a single device.
In the US, Norton also offers 3 packages with LifeLock’s identity theft protections. Users looking for the very best protection, with the most identity theft insurance and coverage for unlimited devices, should invest in Norton 360 with LifeLock Ultimate Plus. However, most US users will be perfectly happy relying on Norton 360 with LifeLock Select for a more basic but still adequate antivirus + identity theft protection package.
Does Norton work for iPhones, Androids, and Chromebooks?
Yes. Norton provides mobile apps that work for iOS devices, Androids, and even Chromebooks.
- For iOS users. Norton 360 is better described as a “security app” — it’s not an antivirus, because iOS devices can’t get “viruses”. However, I still think Norton is worth downloading for iOS — it provides Wi-Fi protection, a secure VPN, a password manager, LifeLock identity theft protections, and also Norton’s excellent Safe Family parental control app.
- For Android users. Norton 360 provides all the same protections as Norton’s iOS apps, but it also includes a malware scanner, which scans for malicious code in every app and file you download.
- For Chromebook users. We’ve gotten some confused emails about Norton’s Chromebook coverage, and if you contact Norton, they’ll even tell you that “Norton isn’t designed for Chromebooks”. That may be true, but Chromebooks are designed to run Android apps, and Chromebooks have access to the Google Play Store. Norton Mobile Security on Chromebook looks a little funny, taking up only a smartphone-shaped third of the screen, but the app scanner, Wi-Fi scanner, VPN, password manager, and Norton Safe Family parental controls all worked perfectly well when I tested Norton on my Chromebook.