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If you compare Norton 360 version 5 vs. BitDefender Total Security 2012, which security software wins?

Here is an indepth breakdown of the Norton 360 version 5 suite

In a nutshell

The fifth version of the popular Norton 360 suite isn’t cheap, but given that Symantec reckons it’s the best security package on the market, that’s probably not going to cause too many raised eyebrows. For your money you get the latest improvements to Norton Internet Security 2011 included in the package, along with a few new functions and features that some will find particularly useful. Norton 360 v5 . Read on for our full review of Norton 360 version 5.

Norton 360 version 5

In depth

After a period in the wilderness, Symantec has managed to steer its consumer-oriented Norton Internet Security packages firmly back into the running, and as well as packing an improved feature-set and some handy extras like the Power Eraser, the software has notched up an enviable record in third-party tests of its core malware detection and removal functions. As we discovered, this horsepower does come with a cost in terms of the impact on your system resources, but given the power of modern machines, this is unlikely to cause too many issues.

This new version incorporates several features that users will recognise from Norton’s 2011 consumer-oriented products, such as the real-time threat map, which includes a link to the so called Cybercrime Index (a host of live information about the threats currently swirling around the nether reaches of the internet) and the updated Insight Engine, which establishes a safety profile for individual files by examining their provenance and date stamp. Meanwhile the updated System Insight keeps an eye on the programs running on your machine, letting you know if any of them is chewing up a suspicious or problematic amount of your system’s precious resources.

The suite also includes the invaluable Bootable Recovery tool which allows you to burn a rescue tool to a disc or bootable USB to help bring your system back from the brink in a virus emergency (the tool can also perform an initial system-clean sufficient to let you install the full 360 suite in the first place). Symantec has also beefed up security for its backup tool – now when your files are stored they’re automatically encrypted too, to keep them safe from prying eyes. Like other suites, and Norton Internet Security 2011 as well, Norton 360 v5 now includes a tool to monitor your Facebook wall and news feed for threats.

Setting up

Once famed for the dire slowness of its installation, Symantec’s latest Norton 360 suite now trots along quite happily, and can now be up and running within a minute of clicking on the installation file. As it installs, you’ll get your first glimpse of Norton’s new behaviour-sensitive threat detection engine – “Quorum”. You are free to choose whether or not you’d like to help improve Quorum by sending anonymised information to Symantec, and whichever you choose you’ll get the same level of protection.

When you install Norton 360 v5, or even run the trial version, you’ll need to provide your details on a registration form. Happily, this no longer means forcing open a tab in your default web browser to head to the company’s website (as so many programs still insist on doing), and instead your registration page appears in the program’s special web interface. This interface shows up now and then, negating the need to open up your browser to interact with the program.

Norton 360 v5 - setup wizard

Norton left our machine pretty tidy on its way out too, with only a few registry entries detectable after we’d uninstalled it – so we formed the general impression of a swift, painless and simple installation and uninstallation process.

Design, organisation and use

The aesthetic connection between Norton 360 v5 and its predecessor versions is immediately clear, despite some innovations here and there. Once again we have serious, dark tones accented by splashes of yellow. But this time the status indicator has been moved from the main interface screen to be replaced by notes in the taskbar, and icons that sit in the system tray. Some users might find the look a little cluttered, but we think it does the job pretty neatly.

Norton 630 v5 - Main Pane

Protection controls are logically grouped under three headings in the main program window – one for your computer itself, one for your network, and one for the web. Each has a series of related switches, allowing you to activate or deactivate it – in which case it turns red and ‘flicks’ to the right (they are all enabled by default, of course, in which case they show up gold). If you do deactivate anything, a pop-up window (thoughtfully designed for the less tech-savvy to mimic standard Windows 7 dialogs) asks you how long you want to deactivate for. In case you’re not sure what each tool does, clicking on its name will cause another pop-up to appear to explain what it is and what it’s for.

Underneath the headings lie related tools and functions. For example, under the Computer protection header you can hit a simple button to update the virus database, take a look in your History or Quarantine folders, view Application ratings, or initiate a virus scan.

And underneath all that is a neat little world map on which, Symantec says, each of the little yellow flashes represents a threat to someone using its software which it has successfully parried. Frankly, this is eye candy and nothing more, but beneath that, there are handy little buttons which you can use to get into Norton Family, Norton Online Backup, and Norton Safe Web without needing to fire up your web browser.

Features and support

With v5 of Norton 360, Symantec seems to have concentrated on the ergonomics of its existing features, and how it arranges those features, rather than trying to cram in too many new tools. And this effort has paid off because the suite is now far easier to get around and use.

Its core security function compares data about your programs with data from 58 million other Norton users to identify any that need to be given a closer look. The newly upgraded Download Insight tool use the same approach to inspect downloaded data, and Norton’s SONAR tool keeps an eye out for odd behaviour on the part of your software, automatically taking steps to deal with it when it spots it. SONAR stands for Symantec Online Network for Automatic Response, and you can choose how strict you want it to be in the settings panel.

With the upgrade of the System Insight, the tool which monitors your system for resource-hogs, your system performance map gets a bit more useful because you can now specifically inspect any suspicious-looking resource-usage spikes and find out which program was responsible.

Norton 360 - System Insight Tool

The program offers the usual array of system scanning options (quick, full, custom), added to which Norton will now scour your Facebook wall and news feeds for links which appear to be malicious. You can also trigger scans of your installed programs at any time (again, these come in ‘quick’, ‘full’ and ‘custom’ flavours).

Norton 360 - scan options

Any time you have Norton perform a scan, it’ll present you with a report summarising its findings, and you can view more in-depth information (like how long the scan took and a more detailed dissection of the threats it discovered) in History, which is accessible from the program’s main pane. In the (probably unlikely) event that you think that something has slipped through Norton’s live protection systems, you can let it know by clicking on the relevant link – though we find that on-demand scanning is becoming rather redundant due to the ongoing refinements of its reputation-based protection system.

Once again, the bootable recovery tool isn’t in itself a new feature, but the ease of use has been increased: you can now have the program create a bootable optical disc or USB to recover your system in the event of a serious infection (the growing army of netbook owners is likely to find the option to create a USB recover tool a particular boon).

There are one or two freebies here too. Such as Norton’s Online Family parental controls, Norton Safe Web lite, and a new tool to rid your system of malware designed to prevent the installation of genuine security software, called Norton Power Eraser.

Norton 360 Power Eraser

While much of this functionality is available in Norton Internet Security 2011, Norton 360 includes tools for file backup and restore and system tune-up that you won’t get in its sibling program. If you purchase the cheaper $79.99 version of the suite, you’ll get 2GB of free cloud storage for your backed up files, which the suite can create automatically, and if you shell out for the $99.99 package you get 25GB of storage, which is cheaper than you’d pay for Mozy’s limited plans, but a fair bit more expensive than you can get with Carbonite, where (as of writing) you can still snag unlimited storage plans.  The backup feature also allows you to share large files by sending links, a la YouSendIt, making sharing video a breeze.

As for the system tune-up, it’s nothing too fancy (you can have your hard-drive or registry spring-cleaned, configure your system’s start-up, or manage RAM usage as you work) but the feature does the job well.

If you need any help or support, just click on the drop-down menu on the upper right hand side of the window where you’ll find a Help option (in-baked support), Tutorials (which takes you to a series of help pages and how-tos on the web), and a Get Support link. Get Support opens a new window where you can make use of Norton’s customer support – you can get 24-hour support by instant messenger, browse the program’s user manual, review Frequently Asked Questions or peruse the knowledge base. Like many other software manufacturers, Symantec now tries to get you to use online help functions rather than telephone support, but the option is still there if you are persistent enough.


So, you know it’s got an impressive list of features, and that installation is straightforward, but how does Norton 360 v5 fare in the all-important security and performance tests? You’ll be pleased to hear that the suite executes its core functions with aplomb, though not without adding a little drag to your system’s overall performance.

Our tests make it pretty clear that the underlying virus scanning engines which power both Norton 2011 and 360 v5 are very similar. Just look how close the scan times were: on the Quick Scan test, Norton 2011 completed in a lightning-fast 47 seconds, while Norton 360 v5 actually managed to shave a couple of seconds off that, coming in at 45 seconds. Meanwhile Norton 2011 got through a Full Scan in 1:47:13, while Norton 360 v5 clocked in at 1:50:00.

We saw some impact on boot times though, where Norton Internet Security 2011 slowed things down by about six and a half seconds, and  Norton 360 v5 caused about seven and a half seconds of delay. (Neither were as bad as Norton Antivirus 2011 though, which caused a 12.5 second slowdown. That said, impact on shut down times were minimal with all programs (each added between half a second and two and a half seconds to shutdown).

Norton 360 v5 appeared to affect other system processes to varying degrees (slowing down iTunes decoding and MS Office more than media multitasking or Cinebench). All results were in the acceptable range, however.

It’s when we turn to the third-party tests of malware detection and removal, though, that Norton really shines. Indeed, a test by Dennis Technology Labs (an AMTSO member organisation) saw Norton 360 v5 repel all 50 of the attacks they subjected it to, earning it the top spot in their Overall Accuracy test.

Norton has also fared well in’s tests – claiming the top spot or close to it in all of its tests since early 2010. In their Q2 2010 test on a Windows 7 box, it notched up an impressive 5.5 out of 6 for both Protection and Usability, and 5 out of 6 in Repair to give a total of 16 out of a possible 18. In a Q3 2010 test on a machine running Windows XP, Norton Internet Security 2010 and 2011 also scored 16 out of 18. Norton Internet Security also scored well on AV-Test’s Q4 test on a Vista machine, finishing up with 15.5 in total.

Norton 360 stats (results in seconds)

All tests results are in seconds, except for Cinebench (where a higher number is better)

2010 was also a good year for Norton in the tests, where it bagged an Advanced+ grade, the very best AV-Comparatives bestows, in its ongoing tests conducted each month from August to November, an accolade it shares only with Kaspersky, F-Secure, and Avira.

These results indicate that Symantec is succeeding in its quest to build on the very strong foundations it laid with Nortons 2009 and 2010, demonstrating top-notch detection rates (with low rates of false-positive detections) and very respectable scan times.


Norton 360 lives up to Symantec’s billing as one of the very best security suites in the paid-for category, and v5 brings worthwhile improvements with better integration of web-based features, and cleanly integrated behaviour-based detection systems. This, together with its noteworthy test results, means it’s a highly dependable ally in the fight against malware. However, while it might make sense if you have several computers to look after, we can’t help but question whether the suite is a little over-engineered if you’re only really going to use it for one machine. If you think Norton 360 v5 is the suite for you though, you can .

Norton 360 version 3 review

The battle of what is the top security solutions software never ends. One of the most closely watched market competitions is Norton 360 vs. BitDefender, two of the leading security solutions software packages for online security threats that are available in the market today.

The is a comprehensive software suite with tools to protect your computer from online security threats and can perform backup and system maintenance. It can protect your computer from threats like viruses, spyware, and online identity theft. The software also provides firewall protection and parental control of site content.

The Norton 360 is a software suite that includes tools for protection against hacking, viruses, worms, and botnets. It can also protect against online identity theft or phishing, provide file security and personal firewall, and keep your computer tuned. The Symantec Corporation is the developer of the Norton 360 and the latest edition is the Version 3.0.

In online discussion forums of users and online product review sites, there are numerous discussions and reviews about the comparisons of Norton 360 vs. BitDefender Total Security 2009. You will be surprised that majority of users and reviewers would prefer the BitDefender.

Several computer magazines and information technology publications have reviewed both Norton 360 and BitDefender Total Security. Most of them were also in favor of the BitDefender. In addition, several comparative analysis studies have shown that BitDefender Total Security has more advantages and features compared to Norton 360 and other security software.

Most of the users, product reviewers, and trade magazines stated that BitDefender Total Security 2009 could detect more viruses and Trojan horses compared to Norton 360. Moreover, several computer magazines said that Norton 360 has a weak E-mail spam filter while BitDefender had a high detection rate for spam filtering. Another advantage of the BitDefender is not slowing down your computer compared to Norton 360, which can slow down your computer’s operations.

The reasons why is the winner in the Norton 360 vs. BitDefender comparison:

1.    Compared to Norton 360 and other security software, BitDefender has Wi-Fi management, web time limiter, gamer mode, trace clean up, registry cleaner, and duplicate finder. 2.    BitDefender has better encryption abilities like file security storage of your personal or sensitive information, local backing up of files and folders, and instant messaging encryption. 3.    BitDefender can fine-tune your computer’s performance by using few system resources so it will not slow down your computer, removing unnecessary duplicates of files and registry entries, and erasing unwanted files. There can be no doubt that based on users’ feedbacks and comments from critics and reviewers, majority of them believe that BitDefender is the clear winner in the Norton 360 vs. BitDefender competition for the best and leading security software.

Hence, in the battle of comparisons between Norton 360 vs. BitDefender Total Security software, BitDefender will definitely win because of its superior capabilities and features. Moreover, you have the assurance of complete customer and technical service support when you purchase your edition of the BitDefender security software.

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