My Review Of Norton Antivirus 2012
Today’s 2012 antivirus review features the latest offering from Symantec; Norton Antivirus 2012.
Historically, this hasn’t been a brand name I’ve been too impressed with but after recently discovering that Norton Internet Security 2012 was better than I had anticipated I thought I’d take a look at Symantec’s latest antivirus too.
- Excellent malware detection
- Excellent malware removal
- Scores well in independent tests
The minimum system requirements are as follows:
- Windows XP (32-bit) SP2 / Vista (32-bit and 64-bit) SP1 / 7 (32-bit and 64-bit)
- 300 Mhz processor or better for Windows XP / 1 GHz or faster for Vista and 7
- 256 MB of RAM
- 300 MB of free hard drive space
Though having now tested the program I’d be inclined to believe that a much faster PC should be recommended (see resource usage section below).
Installation and first impression
Norton Antivirus 2012 is quick to install and you’ll be up and running in no time.
When you start the program up you’ll see the interface above. The first thing you should do is update the program and restart your computer, something that isn’t always expected with modern security software these days.
You’ll notice that the interface is quite uncluttered and simple to navigate, though there are many settings you can adjust if you feel you need to exert that level of control over the program.
Norton Antivirus 2012 does come with many features.
There is, of course, the antivirus protection that you would expect to see from the program but there are many additional features too. Some of the highlights here are:
- SONAR protection
- Intrusion prevention
- Email protection
- Browser protection
- Bot protection
- Rootkit protection
Norton Antivirus 2012 not only protects your computer from traditional forms of malware, it also protects you from new threat sources. The program can, for instance, scan your Facebook newsfeed to find unsafe links and dangerous downloads.
The program doesn’t just rely upon the traditional database to compare files against new threats. It also uses behavioural analysis which it calls SONAR – Symantec Online Network for Advanced Response – which will detect brand new threats (zero days). What SONAR will do is examine any process that is running on your computer, as well as inbound and outbound communications, in order to determine any patterns that fit known malware profiles.
In my own testing, Norton Antivirus 2012 did very well indeed in terms of both detecting malware and dealing with it too. This is in keeping with the views of independent test, such as those from AV-Comparitives, in which it achieved the Advanced Award in August 2011.
Up until this point I have been quite impressed with the program. But how does it fare in terms of resource usage?
Unfortunately, not very well, at least not on my machine that I’m testing it with.
The above screen shot was taken about half way through a full scan. As you can see, memory usage is a little high but CPU usage is very high in my opinion. This 65% CPU usage was quite typical for the length of the scan. Multitasking during that period was nigh on impossible, most likely because one of the processor cores was being utilised much more than the other.
I also noted that CPU usage seemed unusually high on several occasions when the program was sitting in the background and not running a full scan.
For the most part I found Norton Antivirus 2012 to be a great program. It works very well indeed, both on my system and in independent tests, and offers many additional features too. I can think of many users who may benefit from the scanning of their Facebook newsfeed.
The simple interface is easy to use but also leads to some powerful features but the resource usage, unlike Norton Internet Security 2012 strangely, is a bit of an issue. If this is a common issue then, as I said near the beginning, running this program on a machine close to the minimum recommended specifications would be a challenge to say the least. However, if you have a newer PC then Norton Antivirus 2012 could be worth checking out.
Do you want to see what the other vendors are offering this year? If so, read my other 2012 AV reviews.