My Review Of Norton Internet Security 2012

Internet Security:
from $69.99

Reviewed by:
4 Stars
On December 11, 2011
Last modified:February 2, 2012


Norton internet Security 2012 benefits from excellent malware detection rates and a huge range of features. You'll need to have a use for all those extras though in order to justify the high price.

I didn’t originally have any intention of looking at any Norton products as part of my 2012 antivirus and internet security reviews, mainly because I have not been impressed their products in the past.

However, I have had many requests from you guys to do just that so, by popular demand, here is my impression of Norton Internet Security 2012.

If you buy Norton Internet Security 2012 then you will discover that the download is around 100 MB in size and, as the screenshot below implies, it installs quite quickly.

installing Norton Internet Security 2012

After installation you may need to restart your computer before you can get going.

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Key Benefits:
  • Packed full of features
  • Very good malware detection rates
  • Accurate spam filter


System Requirements

Norton Internet Security 2012 has the following system requirements:

  • Windows XP (32 bit) SP2 / Vista (32 bit and 64 bit) with SP1 / 7 (32bit and 64 bit)
  • 300 Mhz Processor (Windows XP) / 1 Ghz Processor (Vista and 7)
  • 256 MB or more of RAM
  • 300 MB of hard drive space
Norton Internet Security 2012 interface

Installation and first impression

When you run Norton Internet Security 2012 for the first time you will be see the interface above. As you can see, the program will need to be updated straight away if you wish to be fully protected. Luckily, that update is quite quick, taking less than a minute to install on my machine. Strangely, perhaps, a system restart was required after the update. Thats not something I’m used to these days as most security programs I look at will update and then continue running.

Norton Internet Security 2012 restart after update

Other than that, all is good however. The interface is nice and easy to navigate. (Thanks to Symantec for choosing yellow text to go with their dark background as white text on black gives me headaches!)


As I mentioned at the beginning, this program is packed full of useful features, some of which you can see below:

Norton Internet Security 2012 features

It goes without saying that you should expect many features if you are buying a full internet security suite but with Norton you really do get a lot for your money. Not only that but some of the extras really are quite good. For instance, the antispam component works very well indeed. It may seem strange that I am highlighting something like that but it is a component that other internet security suites often struggle with so it was nice to find antispam that just works.

Norton Internet Security 2012 settings

Other features include:

  • Antivirus
  • Firewall
  • Exploit Prevention
  • Antispam
  • Performance Monitoring
  • Identity Protection
  • Anti-Phishing
  • Parental Controls

When reviewing internet security programs I typically find that they perform most of the tasks listed above quite well indeed, though they often don’t excel in each and every one (antispam seeming to be the common achilles heel). Norton Internet Security, however, performs very well indeed in each and every area.

Malware detection and cleanup of the samples I used was very good indeed. And the program performs very well in independent tests too.

the firewall performs admirably too, stealthing ports and proving very difficult impossible to terminate using traditional attack methodologies.

Anti-phishing comes courtesy of a Norton toolbar which uses behavioural analysis as well as a database in order to protect you from even the newest of phishing sites. Again, this worked very well when I tested it.

Parental Control doesn’t come as standard with this internet security suite but is free nonetheless. You can access it via a button at the bottom of the interface and then configure it via your Norton account. You can easily set rules and access controls and the program even lets you print these out to share with your children so as to let them know what they can and cannot do.

Norton Internet Security 2012 resource usage

The program comes with it’s own Perfomance Monitoring tool, as seen above. Comparing this with Windows’  Task Manager showed it’s reporting to be comparable in terms of CPU and Memory Usage. As you may be able to tell from the graph displayed, Norton Internet Security 2012 is not too heavy on either whilst a scan is in process. Additionally, this is a useful tool for determining if a particular program or service is causing you a problem.


As noted at the beginning, this program offers a very large range of useful features which all work very well indeed.

My opinion, based on my own testing, is that detection rates (the most important feature) are, perhaps, second only to BitDefender’s Total Security program.

This edition of Norton is, at the time of writing, one of the more expensive options on the market right now but probably offers the best overall value if you think you will take advantage of all the features that it offers.

Overall then, I have to say that my previously poor opinion of Norton products (formed many years ago) has been changed considerably. If you want an all round good security suite and value antispam features highly then this may well be the program you want for 2012.

You can download a trial here and see for yourself.

Do you want to see what the other vendors are offering this year? If so, read my other 2012 Internet Security reviews.

Norton internet Security 2012 benefits from excellent malware detection rates and a huge range of features. You'll need to have a use for all those extras though in order to justify the high price.
About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


  1. E7.Durden says:

    hello lee 🙂
    well ryt now i have kis 2012… it’s really really good.. it’s a trail though.. now what i’ve been meaning to ask.. where should i go.. nis 2012, kis 2012 , bitdefender total security ?? money is not a problem.. i want a really strong, cool, n not drinking resources as if it was a beer :P..
    i have core 2 due 2.27, a 3 GB of memory n windows 7..
    thanks for the help 🙂

    • Lee Munson says:


      My personal favourite this year in terms of the protection it gives is BitDefender. Their Internet Security is pretty good and offers better value than Total Security so you may want to check out the differences between the two. That said, it can indeed be a bit of a resource hog so if that is a real concern then check out F-Secure’s lineup which are almost as good but easier on the the CPU and RAM.

      However… it is this time of year when the security companies start bringing out their new products – G Data already have and I will be posting a look at BitDefender Total Security 2013 (beta) later on today – so it may be worth picking up another trial version of something and waiting a few weeks to see if better alternatives come out…

      • E7.Durden says:

        oww thank u.. well yh I know that this is not a good time to purchase new software, I just wanted to try the trails and read your reviews about the new products and I’ll choose based on your advice and my experience..
        so meanwhile do you recommend to me to try the trail version of Bitdefender internet security for the next 30 days ?

        • Lee Munson says:

          Yeah, give it a go – your system isn’t that old so you’ll probably be ok and it is a highly effective security suite.

          • E7.Durden says:

            thank u 🙂

          • Lee Munson says:

            No problem.

          • E7.Durden says:

            Hello again Lee 🙂
            I tried Bitdefender , and as u said it’s a resource hog.. it’s really good though…
            ryt now I decided to wait till the new products are out..
            so meanwhile I’m confused whether to go for kaspersky IS or Norton IS .. I know they are lighter on resources than bitdefender..
            but which one do u recommend.. which one is better.. I mean overall , virus, spyware, web protection, link checker …
            thanks alot..

          • Lee Munson says:


            I think waiting for the 2013 programs is a good idea (though if you look around you may find some companies offering very large discounts on the 2012 versions right now).

            I never thought I’d say this but I would actually suggest that Norton > Kaspersky in 2012. Both programs were pretty good but Norton edges it on detection rates. Also, if you need support, Kaspersky seemed incapable of offering any whenever I asked on behalf of some of their customers!

          • E7.Durden says:

            thank u very much 🙂
            peace 🙂

          • Lee Munson says:

            You’re very welcome.

  2. I hate this product. I have used it in the past and always got viruses. But, with the good reviews, I thought that I would give it another try. I downloaded the free version and thank God that I did. My computer runs super slow now. I have these pesky little pop up boxes with every page I open telling me that it is safe. I am not a norton advocate and will be taking back the box version for when the trial ran out.

  3. Hi Lee

    Do you think running Norton Internet Security 2012 will be too heavy and resource demanding for something like ASUS UX31 version i7-2667M, 256GB SSD? I run often parallel internet and Photoshop which is already a heavy one.

    Would you suggest something else for security instead? Use : a lot of internet surfing, some streaming, not really shopping on line? E.g. just simple MS OS with its firewall (Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit) and a simple antivirus?


    • Hi Satu

      It looks like your machine is a better spec that the one I used so Norton Internet Security ought to run on it with no problems at all. If you have concerns about Photoshop pulling resources then you can always schedule your scans to run at other times (that goes for Norton or any other program you choose).

      Alternatives? Perhaps you could look at some of the free programs, such as Microsoft Security Essentials. Whether a free program is right for you or not probably hinges on just what you mean by, “not really shopping on line”.


      • Thanks! 🙂 Airline tickets a few times a year, hotel reservations – other than that… maybe odd ten transactions a year 😉 Will check MS Security Essentials

      • Hi Lee,

        What is yr opinion of using the following combinations of security.
        1- MS Security Essentials OR PC Tools™ Internet Security (need yr review about this one) – already includes firewall in both,
        2- USB Disk Security, and
        3- KeyScrambler

        • Hi Moe,

          Before answering can I ask what you use the computer for – is it general surfing, banking online, a business?

  4. sharon allen says:

    Dear Lee, I am currently looking into different types of internet security. I am currently using avg free edition, but am finding it rather annoying. I want to update it enough so I can use my aspire netbook to buy stuff online…….Have no idea or clue which one would be the best to try……Please contact me, I need help.

    • Hi Sharon,

      If you let me know more info about what you are looking for (via the contact form at the top of the page) I’ll see if I can come up with some suggestions for you…

  5. norton 2012 non è tanto pesante come le recenzioni ne parlano norton ha una buona pulizia dei virus. in scansione è più leggero di kaspersky,e di trend micron che divora cpu in scansione.

  6. very good review. From personal experience, i would give norton points over bitdefender and kaspersky in terms of resource usage plus the interface is way better than the other two.
    I got many false positives with Bitdefender although i liked bitdefender’s auto pilot, set it and forget it feature.
    However, the past painful memories associated with norton are hard to let go.
    Any particular reason why you gave bitdefender total security a higher rating than NIS?

    • I’d say there are two reasons why I personally rate BitDefender higher. Firstly, it had a slightly better detection rate when I tested them both (though, admittedly, it was with different samples). Secondly, like you, and as I suggested at the beginning of this post, my views were possibly skewed by older versions of Norton that certainly didn’t impress me. Having said that, this latest version is good and is certainly worthy of consideration from anyone looking for a new security product for 2012.

  7. My experience of Norton AV/NIS goes continuously back through to the 1990s when it came more or less free with my income tax software – I went through the bad phase when it was unacceptably resource demanding but also so intrusive it could not be uninstalled without crippling a Windows system, I was not only relieved but became a fan of Norton around 2007, when the low system impact and high effectiveness regime started. However, with my credentials as not being a Norton grouch, I have used the “Removal Tool” to get rid of it and replaced it for the time being with Microsoft Security Essentials. I first found NIS 2011 suddenly began disabling my XP sp3 system for 8 to 10 minutes at a time, to run unbelievably high i/o demands on the hard drive (can be identified on Task Manager – note that the RAM and CPU usage remain low, as advertised by Norton, but the hard drive is thrashed to a standstill.) Obviously the software is continuously updated, so i don’t know exactly when, but it happened. I then tried replacing it with NIS 2012, a free upgrade under my subscription, and the problem was not solved. I think you’ll find some recent references to the problem on the Norton user forums with staff saying they are looking into it. With my subscription running out in early January, I’m not waiting around for Norton to fix it. MSE will do for now, and I consider myself an open-minded consumer for anything better that comes along.

    • I’ve not experienced the hard drive issue with NIS 2012 (which is still installed on my netbook) – could you have received a huge update because you hadn’t connected to the net for some time?


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