Norton Antivirus Plus 2024: Review Summary
Norton is ranked #1 of 28 antivirus brands.
Norton Antivirus Plus is the best entry-level antivirus of 2024. It has perfect anti-malware protection, no impact on the speed of your PC, several security features, and an excellent price.
Buy it if you want the best protection for a single device. You will get anti-malware, anti-phishing, a firewall, and a password manager.
If you need to protect more devices, consider Norton 360 Deluxe. It also includes a VPN, which will protect your online privacy and keep you safe on public Wi-Fi.
- Malware protection: 100%. Norton detected and removed each of the 1,200 malware samples in our test.
- Speed impact: 100%. Norton’s anti-malware engine is lightweight and did not slow down our test PC.
- Features: 90%. Norton Antivirus Plus includes anti-malware, anti-phishing, a firewall, and a password manager. But it misses a VPN.
- Price: 100%. Norton Antivirus Plus has an excellent price and offers more value than similar products at Bitdefender, McAfee, or Kaspersky.
Thanks to the 60-day return policy, you can try it risk-free.
|Ranking||#1 of 28 🥇|
|Operating systems||Windows, macOS, iOS, Android|
|🔥 Discount||Save 60% on Norton 🔥|
Norton Antivirus Plus 2024: Full Review
Norton is ranked #1 of the 28 best antivirus of 2024.
Although it’s the entry-level plan, Norton Antivirus Plus offers more security tools than most rivals in its price class. It provides an outstanding malware guard, a firewall, anti-phishing tools, a password vault, and 2 GB of cloud storage. Plus, Norton promises a full refund if they fail to remove a virus.
Price-wise, Norton stands toe-to-toe with competitors like Bitdefender. Plus, Norton’s 60-day refund policy is a reassuring offer across all packages.
Norton’s anti-malware capabilities are top-tier. Through our extensive testing, we found that it skillfully identifies a broad range of threats. Using a comprehensive malware database and innovative techniques, it ensures robust protection across various devices.
In our labs, Norton flawlessly detected all malware samples, setting it apart from many rivals. We experimented with 1,200 distinct malware samples, from trojans to cryptojackers. Its real-time defense was just as commendable. When we tried to access our malware samples, Norton instantly blocked them, irrespective of the file format or encryption.
The full system scan was swift, taking under 37 minutes, which is notably quicker than many competitors. Norton offers versatile scanning choices. The quick scan inspects typical malware hotspots, while the custom scan lets you pinpoint specific areas. The smart scan is also a unique touch, examining system performance and security.
We particularly enjoyed the gaming-friendly feature. Norton senses when you’re in full-screen mode, ensuring uninterrupted gameplay or movie-watching by pausing notifications and scans.
In summary, Norton is a powerful tool against malware. It’s efficient, versatile, and respectful of user activities, making it a top recommendation in our book.
Norton’s Safe Web extension is a gem for browsing safety. When we tested it, it impressively caught almost all phishing threats, even outperforming Chrome and some big players like McAfee. The extension works seamlessly with Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge.
A standout feature? The detailed reports it offers. If Norton tags a site as risky, you can dive deep into the reasons, even seeing feedback from other Norton users. The capability to assess any site directly from the dashboard is valuable. For instance, we checked Pirate Bay and instantly got insights into its safety levels.
However, Norton’s Safe Search tool has room for improvement. While it’s designed to indicate website safety using color codes, it occasionally mislabels sites. In our tests, some unsafe websites appeared green (safe), while some genuine sites were grayed-out as “untested”. Yet, its integration with social platforms like Facebook and Twitter was commendable. It quickly highlighted sketchy links shared by friends.
In essence, Safe Web is a robust shield against phishing, offering rich insights. However, Safe Search could be more accurate to ensure users always land on safe web pages.
Norton’s Smart Firewall stands out from standard firewalls. In our tests, it showcased superior capabilities over typical Windows and macOS firewalls. It efficiently defends against potential threats like ARP and DNS spoofing, SSL middle-man attacks, and unauthorized port access.
We threw various network intrusions at it, and Norton successfully thwarted them all. Even instances where the Windows firewall faltered, Norton’s firewall stood firm. Scanning our network ports revealed another stellar feature: Stealth mode. Norton effectively concealed our ports, making them unreachable for potential hackers, a protection many defaults lack.
The depth of customization Norton offers is worth noting. Users can define access for every program and set traffic rules even for in-built Windows services. And though many might let it run on default settings, the flexibility is there for those who need it. A highlight is Norton’s monitoring of 136 less-common protocols, alerting users about any suspicious activities.
In a nutshell, Norton’s Smart Firewall is commendable, providing both top-notch security and extensive customization options for the discerning user.
Norton’s password manager is a standout feature, eclipsing many competitors included in antivirus packages. Though it may not be as feature-rich as individual apps like 1Password or Dashlane, it has its strengths.
What Norton’s password manager offers:
- Strong 256-bit AES encryption.
- Limitless password storage.
- Syncs across devices: PCs, Macs, and both Android and iOS.
- Browser add-ons for popular choices.
- Hassle-free auto-save and auto-fill.
- Reliable password generator and vault checks.
In our experience, the setup was seamless. Post master password creation, Norton facilitates vault imports from various platforms. We imported from LastPass, and the auto-fill function worked smoothly when logging into sites like PayPal. Another applaudable inclusion is the vault audit. It indicates weak or redundant passwords, ensuring users stay updated on their login security.
Notably, Norton provides a mobile login option. Users can employ their mobile device for vault access, and on mobile platforms, biometric authentication is available. Two-factor authentication is also present, adding another layer of security. However, its limitation to only the Norton account is a drawback.
There are areas Norton could improve upon. For one, account recovery is limited. If the master password is forgotten, relying on biometrics is the only way, provided it’s pre-set. Absence of this, or lacking a phone, means one has to start from scratch. Although Norton allows password hints, crafting an effective hint for a complex password is a challenge. While some might see the strict recovery process as a security feature, others might find it restrictive, missing options like email recovery.
Concluding, Norton’s password manager, though not the pinnacle in the field, is commendable, especially for an antivirus suite. The 2024 ranking as the leading antivirus with a password manager is well-deserved. Offering functionalities like multi-device synchronization, vault health checks, and being free, it’s both efficient and user-friendly.
Other security features
Norton Secure Browser
Norton offers a Chromium-based browser for both Windows and Mac. While it doesn’t revolutionize browsing, it offers:
- Privacy Guard to block most ads and trackers.
- Web Shield for real-time malicious site detection.
- Password Manager already built-in.
- Extension Guard to caution against suspicious extensions.
- Privacy Cleaner to easily clear cookies, browsing history, and more.
The browser integrates well with Norton’s Safe Web & Safe Search features. While it’s free and centralized, tech-savvy users might find similar features in other browsers using extensions.
Norton’s Data Protector is a shield against ransomware. In our tests, it efficiently blocked ransomware from being downloaded. Even after whitelisting, it deterred various ransomware threats. Users can specify which folders and files they want to safeguard. It’s an effective, user-friendly tool for data protection.
Norton offers a range of system tune-up tools. The basic package includes disk optimization, file cleanup, startup management, and a Graphs feature to track Norton’s activity on your device. We especially found the Graphs useful. However, its file cleanup doesn’t match some competitors. For users seeking peak performance, Norton’s Utilities Ultimate upgrade is worthwhile. It cleans junk files in real time, optimizes CPU and RAM usage, and even boosts CPU-intensive software performance. Notably, this upgrade isn’t included in many of Norton’s base plans.
Norton’s Driver Updater is efficient, scanning over 100 drivers swiftly. We valued its one-click updating feature and the fact it draws from a large, malware-free driver database. It suggests compatible drivers for your PC setup, and in case of any issues post-update, it has a backup and revert option. In our view, it’s a comprehensive tool for ensuring your PC’s drivers are up-to-date and secure.
This tool from Norton detected outdated software on our system and updated them effortlessly. We appreciated its specific error messages when updates failed and the option to exclude certain programs from updates. We advise using the auto-update feature for convenience and security. However, unlike Avira, it doesn’t update drivers.
Norton’s backup tool, designed for PCs, mirrors renowned cloud storage apps. It offers scheduling options, file specificity, and local disk backup. We found it functional and appreciated the storage capacities across various Norton plans.
Norton also boasts several other features:
- PC SafeCam – Protects against unauthorized webcam access.
- Spam Filter – Effectively manages email spam.
- Virus Protection Promise – Full refunds if Norton fails to remove detected viruses.
Norton’s customer support is diverse: phone, live chat, FAQs, guides, premium package, and a forum. Though their support page felt cluttered, the service quality was impressive. Their phone support covers multiple languages, with 24/7 availability in several regions. We spoke to an efficient representative in Bogota, resolving our website bug smoothly.
However, reaching phone support is tedious. An online form, followed by a time-sensitive verification code, complicates direct contact. The live chat starts with a bot but leads to proficient human agents offering remote support. The community forum wasn’t very responsive, but the FAQs and guides were informative. For those who need it, Norton’s premium “Ultimate Help Desk” offers extensive remote support.
To sum up, while navigating Norton’s support can be tricky, their agents are skilled and multilingual, outpacing many competitors.
Plans and pricing
In the table below are the core products with their features and prices.
The prices shown are from the USA. However, most brands have different prices (and currencies) in other regions. So visit the brand’s website to see the price in our country.
Norton’s diverse plans cater to a range of cybersecurity needs. Here’s a summary of what we found when reviewing their offerings:
Norton AntiVirus Plus: For $19.99 / year, this basic plan provides robust malware protection, a smart firewall, a password manager, and 2 GB of cloud storage. It’s limited to one device, lacking some advanced features available in 360 plans.
Norton 360 Standard: Priced at $39.99 / year, this plan covers 1-3 devices (depending on location) and includes a VPN, webcam protection, dark web monitoring in select countries, and all features of AntiVirus Plus.
Norton 360 Deluxe: At $49.99 / year, this offers the best value. It extends coverage to 5 devices and provides parental controls, 50 GB cloud storage, and dark web monitoring in more countries. It’s feature-rich, though we wished for more device flexibility.
Norton 360 for Gamers: Designed for gamers at $44.99 / year, this plan enhances gaming performance with Norton GO, covering up to 3 devices. We found it optimized gaming experiences significantly.
Norton 360 Premium: Available in select countries at $59.99 / year, it covers 10 devices and offers 100 GB cloud storage, ideal for those needing more device coverage and backup space.
Norton 360 Advanced: Also priced at $59.99 / year, but for different regions, this plan mirrors the Deluxe but offers up to 200 GB storage and covers 10 devices. It’s a sound investment for larger device numbers.
Norton 360 with LifeLock Select (US Only): Starting at $99.99 / year, this comprehensive plan covers 10 devices and introduces identity protection, including credit monitoring and a $25,000 identity theft insurance.
Norton 360 with LifeLock Advantage (US Only): At $191.88 / year, this advances the Select plan by increasing identity theft insurance to $100,000 and introduces features like payday loan lock and enhanced monitoring. The benefits are clear in numbers, and it’s suitable for those prioritizing identity protection.
Norton 360 with LifeLock Ultimate Plus (US Only): The most premium at $299.88 / year, this plan provides unrivaled protection. It covers unlimited devices, offers 500 GB storage, and $1M identity theft reimbursement, among other advanced features. Though expensive, it’s perfect for those wanting top-tier security.
In conclusion, Norton offers a plethora of plans for different user needs. From basic malware protection to comprehensive identity theft insurance, there’s an option for everyone. Whether for single device users or large families, Norton’s offerings provide solid cybersecurity solutions.
Test score comparison
Next to our own anti-malware tests, we analyze those by AV-Test. We’ve compared the results of the 10 most recent tests for Windows 10. The tests were performed by AV-Test, the German anti-malware test lab. They use three factors:
- Protection (1-6): Antivirus protection against malware attacks.
- Performance (1-6): System slowdown caused by the antivirus.
- Usability (1-6): Frequency of false alarms and disruptions.
We used their results, and this formula, to calculate the final score:
Final Score = 60% Protection + 20% Performance + 20% Usability.
Brands not listed in the table haven’t participated in the analysis by AV-Test. This is usually not a good sign. Because most reputable brands, except Panda, ESET, and Sophos, partake in the test.
We’ve compared the prices of the top antivirus products for Windows. To make it a fair comparison, we looked at what it would cost us, to protect a single Windows PC with the most essential features:
- Anti-phishing (web protection)
- Password manager
- Unlimited VPN (no data limit)
A few notes:
- Some brands are missing features, lowering their value for money.
- Prices are second-year prices in the USA, without first-year discounts.
- Prices are rounded up for readability (e.g., $99.99 becomes $100).
Brands have different prices outside the USA. See those on their website.
We’ve compared the user reviews of all antivirus brands. We’ve used the scores and review count of TrustPilot, a leading user review platform. However, take these results with a grain of salt, as some brands actively attempt to increase their ratings.
Personally, we are wary of exceptionally high scores. Especially those by brands such as TotalAV, known for aggressive marketing and sales tactics.
We consider scores between 4.0 and 4.5 good and realistic. Higher scores are dubious, and lower scores indicate that the brand might have a poor product or customer service. McAfee’s scores, for instance, are worrying.
Norton is owned by Gen (NASDAQ: GEN).
Gen is a global technology company specializing in Cyber Safety. With a mission to enable people to navigate the digital world securely and privately, the company serves as an umbrella for several respected brands in the cybersecurity industry. These brands leverage cutting-edge AI technology and in-depth data analytics to safeguard over 500 million users across 150 countries.
The company operates dual headquarters, one in Tempe, Arizona, United States, and the other in Prague, Czech Republic. Gen’s portfolio includes:
- Norton, a leading Cyber Safety brand offering award-winning device protection and online privacy solutions.
- Avast, recognized for its advanced threat detection network, which employs machine learning and artificial intelligence to provide top-notch digital security and privacy.
- LifeLock, a pioneer in identity theft protection in the U.S., equipped with dedicated Identity Restoration Specialists.
- Avira, known for providing free security tools and has received accolades from various industry experts.
- AVG, focusing on a wide array of software security needs including internet security, performance optimization, and data control.
- ReputationDefender, specializing in online reputation management to ensure fair and accurate online representation.
- CCleaner, a leader in system optimization software, widely used for both individual and corporate needs.
By uniting these brands, Gen aims to address the critical cybersecurity challenges that society faces today and anticipates for the future.
How we test antivirus software
Below we describe how we run our tests. For even more details, visit our blog posts on how we test antivirus software.
Anti-malware protection test
We analyze antivirus software’s capability to detect and eliminate known and unknown malware, using heuristic analysis for behavior monitoring.
We conduct in-house tests and analyze those from labs like AV-Test, SE Labs, and AV-Comparatives to determine the best malware protection.
Malware includes adware, keyloggers, ransomware, rootkits, spyware, trojans, viruses, worms, and more. Other cyber threats, usually not classified as malware, are (zero-day) exploits, hacks, identity theft, phishing attacks, scams, and social engineering.
False positives test
False positives occur when antivirus software misidentifies legitimate software, files, or websites as malicious. We rely on AV-Test’s large-scale analysis of false positives in its usability test to guide our evaluations.
System performance test
We measure the CPU load during antivirus software system scans and consider AV-Test’s performance results on the slowdown caused by antivirus software when opening websites and handling software.
We evaluate two-way firewalls that filter incoming and outgoing data and allow users to set rules to regulate data streams. We use the ShieldsUP! test to determine if the antivirus software blocks all ports.
Password manager test
We assess password managers’ ability to create, store, and autofill secure passwords, as well as additional features like two-factor authentication and biometric login.
Virtual Private Network (VPN) test
We evaluate built-in VPNs on their security, privacy, speed, compatibility with streaming services, unlimited data access, and support for peer-to-peer networks and torrent clients.
Parental control test
We examine parental control features, such as screen time rules, website/app blocking, and real-world location tracking. We test these features on a device and attempt to circumvent them, checking if the activity is accurately reported in the parental control admin.
Anti-phishing protection test
We evaluate antivirus browser extensions that block phishing sites by installing them and attempting to visit dangerous URLs.
Ransomware protection test
We assess security suites’ ability to prevent data encryption through exploit prevention and behavioral detection during ransomware attacks.
Bonus features test
We test any additional cybersecurity tools such as:
- Ad Blocker
- Dark web monitoring (identity protection)
- Email protection
- File encryption
- File shredder
- Gaming mode
- Microphone protection
- PC maintenance features
- Secure browser (hardened browser to protect your online banking)
- Secure cloud storage (cloud backup)
- Spam filter
- Startup optimizer
- Tune up tools
- Virtual keyboard
- Webcam protection
Ownership and reputation test
We analyze the trustworthiness of antivirus companies, especially concerning customer data. We read press releases, news articles, and privacy policies to determine their reputation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are the most frequently asked questions.
Is Norton a good antivirus program?
How do we test antivirus software?
We analyze the protection from malware, the performance impact on a PC, and the number of false positives. On top of that, we test various security features such as the firewall, password manager, VPN, and more.
Author: Tibor Moes
Founder & Chief Editor at SoftwareLab