Norton Review: Quick Expert Summary
Norton 360 is my favorite antivirus in 2023 — 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.
Its anti-malware engine uses machine learning, advanced heuristics, and a malware directory to identify malware — from simple viruses and trojans to advanced malware like spyware, 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 the best antivirus around, but it isn’t perfect. Its desktop app is a little clunky, and its mobile protections are split across several separate apps, which is a bit 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 isn’t as fast as competitor VPNs and doesn’t work with all streaming services. 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 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 and regularly offers free trials — giving you plenty of time to test it and see if it’s the right antivirus for you.
|🏅 Overall Rank||#1 out of 74 antiviruses|
(with unlimited data)
|🎁 Free Plan||❌|
|💵 Pricing||Starting at $54.99 per year|
|💰 Money-Back Guarantee||60 days|
|💻 Operating Systems||Windows, Android, Mac, iOS|
Norton 360 Full Review
Norton 360 has a lot more security features than most competing antiviruses. 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 a 100% Virus Protection Promise, which means Norton will refund your money if it can’t remove a virus.
Upgrading to Norton’s best-value plan, Norton 360 Deluxe, brings you parental controls (including the School Time feature that lets you limit your child’s internet usage during school hours), a VPN with no data limitations, dark web monitoring, webcam protection, a privacy monitor, and up to 50 GB cloud storage. US users can also get access to up to 250 GB cloud storage and Norton’s comprehensive identity theft protections as part of the Norton LifeLock plans.
Norton Security Features
Norton’s malware scanner is one of the best around. It uses a massive malware directory, heuristic analysis, and machine learning to detect all types of threats and provide an excellent level of virus protection. It also offers a variety of virus scanning options plus real-time protection to keep malware from Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices.
Norton caught 100% of the malware samples on my test machine with a full system scan — there are only a handful of competitors that can boast a similar malware detection rate (like Bitdefender). For my testing, I used a database of nearly 1,000 malware files, including viruses, exploits, worms, trojans, backdoors, keyloggers, rootkits, zero-day attacks, spyware, cryptojackers, and PUPs (potentially unwanted programs).
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 to complete on my PC, which is faster than most competitors (the average full scan time is 1 hour, though many brands take much longer). Norton also offers a variety of other scan options (which you can schedule to run at any time), 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.
- Smart scan — Checks for performance, privacy, and network issues on your system.
I also really like that Norton automatically detects when your apps are in full screen mode — it 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 really appreciate this feature (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. It 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.
In my exploit testing, Norton detected every single network intrusion, including a few instances that my Windows firewall failed to block.
I also scanned my network ports and was impressed that Norton’s firewall put them in Stealth mode. In other words, Norton hid them from the public, making them impossible to hack. Most network ports are either open or closed by default and vulnerable to being exploited.
You can also 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 that 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 provides protection against phishing sites, plus community reviews for suspicious web pages and an Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) to keep your online transactions secure. It’s available for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge, and it detected almost all of the phishing sites in my testing, including sites that Chrome and top competitors like McAfee failed to detect.
One of my favorite Safe Web features is the number of details it provides for a blocked website. When Norton detects a dangerous webpage, you can click the View Full Report button to get a full breakdown of why Norton flagged it. You can even see reviews by other Norton users who have tried visiting the blocked page. I also like how you can look up any site from the Safe Web dashboard. I looked up Pirate Bay and could see its safety rating, community rating, and more.
Norton’s Safe Search is a search engine that lets users know whether a website is safe or not. It offers color-coded assessments of search results — green is safe, orange is potentially unsafe, and red is dangerous. Safe Search is okay, but it’s not great. During my tests, it falsely labeled numerous pirate websites as safe, and it offered grey “untested” notifications on a lot of websites that are actually safe — so you still need to use common sense while using it.
That said, I appreciate how it works with links on Facebook and Twitter (“X”). If any of my friends shared links containing questionable content, I was quickly alerted to it, so I could warn them to take down their posts (or avoid clicking on the links).
Overall, Safe Web provides some of the best anti-phishing protection around and gives you heaps of information about the sites it blocks. On the other hand, I wasn’t too impressed with Norton’s Safe Search — it isn’t very accurate, labeling unsafe sites as safe and vice versa.
Norton’s Data Protector prevents ransomware from encrypting your files and folders. To test it, I tried downloading a ransomware simulator containing 25 different ransomware attacks, and Norton’s Data Protector immediately blocked the download — this is a really good start! Malwarebytes only blocked two-thirds of the ransomware files I tried downloading in my tests.
However, for the sake of testing, I whitelisted the simulator and initiated the ransomware attacks. I’m happy to say even with the simulator in my computer’s whitelist, Norton’s Data Protector still blocked a wide range of its individual ransomware attacks.
I also really like the customization aspect of Norton’s Data Protector. By default, it’s set to protect all of your most important files and folders, but it’s easy to add extra files and folders you want to protect.
Overall, Norton’s Data Protector is excellent. It blocks ransomware files before they can run and has great detection rates. It’s also easy to customize if you want to protect additional files and folders.
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 2023. One of the best things about it is that it has unlimited browsing data (even on the cheapest plan). Many other antivirus-bundled VPNs set a cap on your data on their lower-tier plans and only include unlimited data on their most expensive plans, like Bitdefender and Panda Dome. 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 encrypt 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 about 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.
During testing, I was able to access Netflix, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, and Amazon Prime. However, Norton’s VPN doesn’t work with Disney+ and Hulu. If you’re looking for a VPN to access these streaming sites specifically, see the top VPNs for streaming here.
While Norton supports torrenting, it only works on Norton’s standalone VPN app. If you’re just running the VPN from within Norton 360, it’ll shut off as soon as you open a P2P program like μTorrent.
Even if you download Norton Secure VPN separately, P2P traffic is only allowed on dedicated servers — and you can’t manually connect to a server of your choice. Instead, the VPN automatically connects you to a P2P server, which is always located in the Netherlands. Users in Europe won’t mind, but users in other parts of the world may not have the fastest download speeds. 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 10 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, Norton has one of the best antivirus-bundled VPNs on the market. It’s not as good as a standalone VPN, but it provides encrypted web access across a variety of servers around the globe and has 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. It may not be as comprehensive as standalone password manager apps like 1Password or Dashlane, but it’s simple, secure, and includes a few useful extra features.
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.
All of Norton Password Manager’s features work great. After setting up my master password, Norton gave me the option to import my password vaults from Chrome, Firefox, Dashlane, LastPass, 1Password, or McAfee TrueKey. 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.
Norton’s password manager includes a mobile login option too, 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).
You can also protect your password vault using two-factor authentication (2FA), which you can enable in your Norton account settings. This lets you use your cell phone, authenticator app, or security key as a second form of identification. However, I wish that 2FA was tied to the password manager and not just your Norton account. If hackers breach your Norton account, they only need your master password to breach the password manager.
With that in mind, Norton’s password manager isn’t perfect. The first problem I ran into is the fact that Norton has very limited account recovery options and no emergency access. If you forget your master password, your only option is to log into Norton’s mobile app using biometrics and to reset your master password in your account settings — but you need to have biometrics enabled before you lose your master password, or this won’t work. If you don’t, or if you don’t have a cell phone, 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 — so a unique passphrase might be a better option in this case. 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’s ranked as the #1 antivirus with a password manager in 2023. 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, plus it’s easy to use and 100% free!
Parental Controls (Safe Family)
Norton’s parental controls are some of the very best on the market — Norton ranked as the #1 best antivirus with parental controls in 2023, and it’s currently one of the top standalone parental control apps. The parental controls are available for Windows, iOS, and Android.
You can monitor an unlimited number of devices with Norton’s parental controls, which is great. Other top parental control apps like Qustodio only let you monitor up to 15 devices — so Norton is an excellent choice for large families or families with lots of devices.
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.
Norton’s Web Supervision is great for limiting which websites your kids can access. 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, kids can’t use a VPN to bypass any of the 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.
Unfortunately, Norton’s parental control app has a few issues. It doesn’t work on Mac computers or Chromebooks, and it’s way too easy for a tech-savvy kid to bypass the web filter and YouTube and search monitoring on Windows.
However, overall I was impressed by Norton Safe Family — its content filtering, app blocking, usage limits, location tracking, and YouTube monitoring features work well, and it’s definitely one of the most intuitive and comprehensive parental control apps on the market. You can get the parental controls bundled with Norton’s Deluxe and Advanced plans, or as a competitively-priced standalone yearly subscription, which costs $49.99 / year.
Norton’s Privacy Monitor keeps your personally identifying information (PII) from 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, birthday, and gender — and these data brokers then sell that aggregated information to the highest bidder.
Fortunately, privacy laws in most regions forbid data brokers from collecting and selling your info 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 6 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.
Overall, Norton’s Privacy Monitor is a simple but 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 fast, efficient, and fairly comprehensive, 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 like Norton’s Graphs feature a lot — it 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. On the other hand, I don’t like that the file cleanup doesn’t remove browser cookies, duplicate files, or unused program files like Avira and TotalAV do.
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 the 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 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.
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. 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.
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 the US, 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 an 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.
Overall, 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 number 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.
Overall, Norton’s LifeLock plans are the very best choice on the market if you’re looking to protect your finances, identity, investments, and personally identifying information.
Norton’s Driver Updater keeps your PC’s drivers both secure and up-to-date. In my tests, it scanned 100+ drivers on my Windows 11 PC in less than a minute and compiled a list of all those that needed updating. I really appreciate how it lets you update them all in one click. I also didn’t experience any slowdown while running the tool, which is great.
The updater uses a database of more than 50 million malware-free drivers — all vetted using Norton’s antivirus. Avast uses a similar-sized database, but in my tests, Norton proved to be slightly faster than Avast when scanning for outdated drivers.
I also like how Norton’s Driver Updater employs a compatibility check system, recommending drivers based on your specific PC configuration and operating system. It works well and prevents any incompatibility issues.
With this in mind, I appreciate how Norton includes a driver backup and revert tool, too. While I didn’t experience any compatibility issues in my tests, if you find you’re having driver glitches or performance issues post-update, you can run the built-in troubleshooting assistant to see the potential causes of any issues. This feature can help you reverse problematic driver updates, but honestly, I found it wasn’t something I used often. With the one-click updates and lack of compatibility issues in my tests, I simply never needed it!
In summary, Norton’s Driver Updater is a user-friendly and comprehensive solution for managing driver updates on a Windows PC. It addresses common causes of system crashes, freezes, and security vulnerabilities, offering optimal driver recommendations for better stability. Whether you’re seeking improved graphics and audio performance or aiming to reduce the security risks of vulnerable drivers, Norton offers a great solution.
Norton’s software updater lets you easily update software installed on your computer. When I ran it on my Windows 11 machine, it found 11 outdated programs and updated them to their latest versions with a single click. I really like how Norton only processes a few programs at a time, so it doesn’t drain your computer’s resources.
I also like how when Norton fails to update a program, it gives an exact reason why. For example, paint.NET failed to update on my computer, and Norton told me it was because the program was running. I simply closed it, and it updated with no problems when I next clicked the Update button.
Norton also makes it easy to exclude programs that you don’t want to update. While I don’t recommend doing this (as hackers can exploit outdated programs), advanced users can easily choose to stay on older versions if they want to keep using discontinued features or an older user interface.
Finally, I like how Norton gives you the option to always update programs automatically. I recommend switching this feature on because it means you’ll never have to worry about keeping programs up-to-date.
Overall, I’m really impressed by Norton’s software updater. My only complaint is that it doesn’t update drivers like Avira does. However, it’s still an excellent way to keep your computer safe from the latest exploit attacks and a great way to save time that you’d normally spend updating each individual program on your PC.
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 and backed up 50 GB of my important files, most of which were media files like .mov, .jpeg, .doc, and .wav. However, advanced users can easily go into the “What” section of the backup settings and manually select which files and folders to back up.
Norton’s backup isn’t going to win any awards for innovation, but it’s a perfectly functional solution for protecting user data in the cloud (and it’s a good choice if you’re not already using a cloud storage app to protect your data). Depending on which Norton plan you subscribe to, you can get 2-500 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 360 for Gamers (Windows only) — A special set of antivirus features for PC gamers (more info here).
- Spam filter — Automatically filters out spam emails and allows you to set up exclusion lists for trusted emails and manually block untrustworthy emails.
- AntiTrack (separate add-on) — Blocks online trackers and disguises your digital fingerprint, allowing you to browse the internet privately.
- 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 a variety of 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 Norton 360 features, plus advanced identity theft tools like credit monitoring, social security and driver license monitoring, and identity restoration assistance. Norton often offers free trials, and there’s a generous 60-day money-back guarantee on all of its plans. It’s also very easy to cancel your Norton subscription and get a refund.
Note: Depending on your location, the features and names of Norton’s plans may vary.
Here’s a quick overview of all of Norton’s plans:
|Antivirus Plus||360 Standard||360 Deluxe||360 for Gamers||360 Premium||Advanced||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||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS|
|Price||$19.99 / year||$39.99 / year||$49.99 / year||$44.99 / year||$54.99 / year||$54.99 / year||$99.99 / year||$191.88 / year||$299.88 / year|
|Number of devices||1||1 (3 in US)||5||3||10||10||10||10||Unlimited|
|Malware scanning and removal||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅|
|Dark web monitoring||❌||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅|
|Cloud backup||2 GB||2 GB||50 GB||50 GB||100 GB||200 GB||250 GB||250 GB||500 GB|
Norton AntiVirus Plus — Basic Norton Plan
Norton’s AntiVirus Plus plan offers excellent real-time and on-demand malware protection, plus a handful of extra features including:
- Smart firewall.
- Norton password manager.
- 2 GB cloud storage.
This scaled-back package doesn’t include many extra features, including the 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 1 device, 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 $54.99 / year.
Norton 360 Standard — Basic Norton 360 Plan
Norton’s basic 360 plan provides an impressive amount of features for 1 device (3 devices if you’re a US user), and it’s only $39.99 / year. Here’s what you get with Norton 360 Standard:
- Real-time malware scanning.
- Smart firewall.
- Password manager.
- 2 GB cloud storage.
- Webcam protection (Windows only).
- Dark web monitoring (select countries only).
The biggest problem with Norton’s basic plan is that it only covers 1 device (or 3 in the US). However, Norton 360 Standard is an excellent choice if you don’t have many devices to cover.
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 said, most users 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 reallocates running processes to optimize processing power. 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 2023).
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 in select countries) — Good Cloud Storage Space
Honestly, at $54.99 / year, I don’t think it has much advantage over Norton 360 Deluxe, but if you’re interested in backing up extra data to the cloud and have lots of devices in your household, then it’s a good choice.
Norton 360 Advanced (only available in select countries) — Most Advanced International Plan
This is Norton’s most advanced plan for countries that don’t have Norton 360 Premium. It 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 $54.99 / year, it’s a pretty good deal. If you want to add more than 5 devices to your plan, buying Norton 360 Advanced is a solid investment.
Norton 360 with LifeLock Select (US Only) — Basic Norton With LifeLock Plan
Norton’s lowest-tier LifeLock plan covers 10 devices and includes a pretty good number of LifeLock’s protections, plus all of the features of Norton 360 Deluxe. It includes:
- 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.
- 250 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
Norton’s mid-tier LifeLock plan is significantly more expensive than LifeLock Select, costing $191.88 / year, but some users might find the price worth it. 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.
- Payday loan 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 — for example, users get 4x more identity theft insurance payout than on the LifeLock Select plan.
Norton 360 with LifeLock Advantage is a great option for expanded identity theft protections if that’s important to you. 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 this plan 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.
It’s pricey, but it will be worth it for some users. Norton 360 with LifeLock Ultimate Plus is the best internet security package on the market today — 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 it could be the plan for you.
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.
How to Install Norton 360 (Just 3 Simple Steps)
- Step 1: Sign up for a Norton 360 plan. Select the plan that works best for you.
- Step 2: Download and install the app. You can find the download link in the “My Norton” portal, and the installer wizard will guide you through the setup process.
- Step 3: Open the Norton app: Now you can perform your first full system scan and use Norton’s other features.
You can choose between 2 different user interfaces: 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.
I like how Norton provides a feature setup wizard for beginner users. You can click on the round icon in the center of Norton’s UI, and you’ll be taken to the feature setup wizard. Here, Norton gives you an explanation of each of its features, tells you the recommended actions you can take, and allows you to turn on any desired features with one click.
Clicking on Device Security in the “My Norton” window takes you to Norton’s Classic view after you’ve completed the wizard. This gives you 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.
You can also schedule malware scans from the home screen. Click the drop down list next to Device Security and click Scan Options.
Then, click the checkbox next to Custom Scan, followed by Go.
Choose the type of scan you want to schedule, click the pencil icon to the right of it, and follow the scheduling wizard to set up the scan.
Unfortunately, I had a hard time getting the desktop app to do anything other than run virus 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.
Norton offers a ton of 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. This is a pretty unique feature, but Bitdefender’s App Anomaly Detection now offers similar protections for Android — it monitors all app activity and alerts you to any suspicious processes after the apps have been installed.
I also really like Norton’s web protections for mobile and the Safe Search browser, which filters out harmful websites from search engine results. Norton’s SMS spam filter is great, too. It blocks unsafe smishing texts on both iPhones and Android devices. And the 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 features in a single app.
In terms of overall device security, Norton’s mobile antivirus apps are among the best out there — it offers malware protection and app security for Androids and Chromebooks, it includes 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.
Norton 360 Customer Support
Norton offers a really good range of customer support, including telephone, live chat, frequently asked questions (FAQs), troubleshooting guides, a premium customer support package, and a community forum. While I like most of these different platforms, I did find Norton’s support page a bit disorganized in places and not all support options are that easy to find. But 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 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.
I had a great experience with a support rep in Bogota, Colombia, who helped me with a bug on the Norton website. They were patient, knowledgeable, and one of the best phone support experiences I’ve had with an antivirus provider.
The process to contact Norton’s phone support could be improved. Instead of providing a direct phone number, I had to fill out an online form outlining my issue. Norton then sent me a verification code, which I had to give to the support agent when I dialed them. However, the verification code had an expiry time, so if the agent did not answer before the code expired, I had to generate a new code. This process felt a bit pointless and could be more streamlined. It would be more convenient if Norton provided a list of phone numbers that I could dial directly.
The 1-click live chat button is convenient, but you’ll have to go through a virtual assistant before getting a real person. The good news is that it’s worth it — my experiences with the live chat reps were always top-notch, friendly, professional, and super helpful. They’re also equipped to provide remote assistance, meaning they can hop onto your computer to help fix any issues.
The FAQs and troubleshooting guides are also good, and I often found 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. You can also message Norton on Facebook and Twitter.
Norton also offers a premium support option called Norton Ultimate Help Desk. It allows Norton’s customer support agents to take remote control of your PC and help troubleshoot any issues, assist with device diagnostics, network setup, and more. This service is ideal for beginners, but I tend to be wary of premium support services; their costs can be hard to justify for users with a basic technical understanding. That said, I like how Norton provides options that cover multiple devices and that you can call them an unlimited number of times on the top-tier premium support plan.
Overall, Norton’s customer support team is pretty good. It’s 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 better support than many of its competitors.
Is Norton 360 the Best Internet Security Suite for 2023?
I’m very confident in calling Norton the best antivirus software on the market in 2023. Norton stands above the competition in terms of malware detection, internet security tools, mobile protections, usability, 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 Intrusion Prevention System for 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 can be pretty slow and doesn’t work with some streaming sites. 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I trust Norton?
Yes, you can. Norton is a trustworthy cybersecurity company that’s been in business since 1990. With a staff of nearly 3,000 employees, Norton’s malware databases are constantly updated, allowing it to maintain outstanding malware detection rates (perfect in my tests). In fact, Norton is so trustworthy that it even offer LifeLock protection to help protect your identity from cybercriminals looking to steal it.
In comparison, untrustworthy antivirus software can pose certain risks such as poor malware detection rates and fake alerts designed to trick you into buying more software.
Will Norton slow down my computer?
No, Norton won’t slow down your computer. During my tests, I found there was minimal impact on my system, even when running full system scans.
What’s more, Norton comes with features to boost your computer’s performance. For example, the Norton 360 for Gamers package includes Norton GO, a tool that can optimize your computer’s RAM and CPU usage so that you can game without any slowdown — all while enjoying the protection that Norton provides.
Is Norton free?
Norton isn’t free — but for users on a budget, the Norton 360 Standard plan offers excellent antivirus protection for 1 device (3 devices if you’re in the US). 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 thousands of known malware files, but Norton’s consistently ranks among the best on the market.
Heuristics analysis and machine learning are mostly used to detect zero-day threats. Heuristics compares the code of new files against known malware, flagging files with similar code. And machine learning analyzes files based on their behavior, looking for actions similar to malware files. With both of these approaches, if Norton detects anything suspicious, it will block and flag it.
Can I disable Norton?
Yes, you can either temporarily disable Norton or uninstall it entirely. However, this could leave your system vulnerable to malware, web-based attacks, and more, so I don’t recommend doing so. If you’re an advanced user and trust a particular program that Norton is blocking, you do have the option to whitelist it so Norton doesn’t flag it.
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 only need protection for up to 3 devices (or 1 device outside the US) and don’t require parental controls, Norton 360 Standard is a decent choice too.
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?
Norton provides mobile apps that work for iOS devices and Androids, but Chromebooks aren’t officially supported. That said, several of Norton’s Android protections still work on Chromebook. This includes Norton’s app advisor, dark web monitor, and anti-phishing protection (if you install Norton’s browser extensions).