Symantec – Norton Internet Security 2003 review

multi-pronged Internet protection suite
Photo of Symantec – Norton Internet Security 2003
£39 + VAT

Norton is already considered one of the best providers of anti-virus software in the market. It also does a pretty good software firewall and to combine the two into one product, together with intrusion detection and some useful extra utilities, is a logical step. Norton Internet Security 2003 is precisely this product and offers protection to the single user on a dial-up, ISDN or broadband connection.

Norton Anti-Virus is a clean-cut, easy-to-use product which takes very little setting up and works away in the background, protecting incoming and outgoing e-mails from carrying unwanted payloads. Updates are carried out automatically and transparently while you are already online and a little pop-up informs you each time your virus definitions have been updated. You receive a year’s update subscription with the product.

We found some trouble with the option to scan outgoing e-mail on a dial-up connection, as the connection to several ISP mail servers dropped prematurely. Symantec’s solutions were to turn off automatic disconnection after mail transfer or to disable outgoing scanning, neither of which is satisfactory.

The Norton Firewall is pretty unobtrusive, except to hackers and other miscreants. You can specify networks you trust, so if your PC is on an intranet at home or in the office you can specifically include all the machines linked to it.

When configuring the firewall, Norton Internet Security scans your PC and informs you of all programs capable of accessing the Internet – under test, the program showed up over 70 Internet-ready applications and offered to restrict or allow each one to log on. Spend time checking this list and you can tailor exactly which programs can go out to play.

Linked to the firewall is Norton’s Intrusion Detection, which can be set to inform you of attacks on your PC. Although they should be blocked by the firewall, you may want to take action against an attacker, by reporting their IP address to their ISP. This is helped by a function called Visual Tracking, which can zero in on the geographical location of a given address and show you it on a map of the world.

The suite includes an online Security Check, which calls a Symantec site to look at the exposed ports on your PC and offer advice on tightening up your protection regime. It also includes three useful extras: Privacy Control, Ad Blocking and Spam Alert.

Privacy Control helps prevent inadvertent sending of confidential data, such as credit card numbers, onto the Internet. Ad Blocking stops banner and pop-up advertisements while you’re browsing and Spam Alert sticks the phrase Spam Alert in front of any incoming e-mail it considers dubious. It’s pretty accurate and an easy job to establish a filter which knocks all Spam into a separate folder.

Company: Symantec

Contact: 020 761 65600


Verdict
Norton Internet Security 2003 consolidates Symantec's main safety applications into one cohesive suite. Norton Anti-Virus is already a market leader and with its Firewall and Intrusion Detection combines to make an efficient Internet shield.