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Steganos Privacy Suite 18

If a website's massive data breach compromises your privacy, there's not much you can do. It's out of your hands. But that doesn't mean you're completely helpless. There's plenty you can do to protect your own privacy, things like encrypting your files, and protecting your passwords. Steganos Privacy Suite 18 brings together a variety of useful privacy-related tools. However, the quality of the tools varies, and the suite lacks some useful features found in competing products.

With most antivirus tools, security suites, and password managers, you pay a yearly subscription fee. That's not the case with Steganos. For $59.95 you can install it on up to five PCs and use it for as long as you like. The only thing you don't get is a free update to the next version.

Earlier editions of this product included VPN protection, but the current product lineup makes Steganos Online Shield VPN a separate product. As I write this, Steganos is running a promotion that gives you the VPN for free when you purchase the suite. Note, though, that PCMag's Max Eddy gave this VP service just two out of five stars.

Getting Started with Steganos

After the quick, simple installation Steganos displays its main window. At the left is a three-by-three matrix of icons representing the suite's features: Safe, Portable Safe, Crypt & Hide, Password Manager, Private Favorites, E-Mail Encryption. Shredder, Trace Destructor, and Privacy. The suite is effectively a launch pad for these utilities.

The right-hand portion of the main window is a kind of security progress report. Just by installing the suite, you start with a 20 percent security level. Creating an encrypted safe for storing sensitive files gets you another 20 percent, and setting up the password manager raises it by another 20. Using the password manager's bonus ability to store private favorites adds 20 percent more. Configuring the Privacy components takes you to 100 percent. I like the way this simple report encourages full use of the product's features.

Standalone Products

Several components of the Steganos Privacy Suite are available as standalone products. I'll summarize my findings regarding those products. To get full details, please click the links to read my reviews.

Steganos Safe 18 lets you create any number of safes, which are encrypted storage containers for your sensitive files. You can create safes on your PC, on portable devices, or in your cloud storage accounts. When a safe is open, you use it exactly like any disk drive. When it's shut, its contents are completely inaccessible.

Steganos Safe is extremely easy to use, more so than most container-based encryption products. In addition, it offers some seriously sneaky techniques for hiding the very existence of your safes from prying eyes. For example, you can hide a fairly small safe inside an audio, video, or executable file. And the Safe in a Safe feature lets you dedicate a percentage of a visible safe for use as a discrete, invisible storage location, with its own separate password.

Along with the encryption tool, you also get Steganos Shredder, a secure deletion shredder utility. You can securely delete any file or folder by selecting Destroy from the right-click menu. With this tool you can also shred all of the free space on disk, effectively applying secure deletion to already-deleted files. It can also wipe any disk drive (except the active Windows drive) so thoroughly that a format is required when it's done.

Steganos Password Manager 18 handles the basic tasks of password capture and replay, and includes a password generator. Unlike most competing products, it doesn't directly handle syncing your passwords between devices; if you want syncing, you must connect to your existing cloud storage. You also get a limited ability to fill Web forms with personal data.

In testing, I couldn't get the password manager's Firefox extension to load. Also, some features worked in Chrome but not in Internet Explorer. If you get this password manager as part of the Steganos suite, you might as well use it. But if you're shopping for a standalone password manager, there are much better choices.

The two standalone Steganos products I've reviewed account for five of the suite's nine component icons. Password Manager and Private Favorites both correspond to Steganos Password Manager. Safe and Portable Safe are parts of Steganos Safe, as is Shredder. For the remainder of this review I'll focus on the rest of the privacy components.

Encrypt and Hide

The name Steganos comes from the term steganography, which is not the same as encryption. The aim of encryption is to ensure that others can't decipher your secrets. The aim of steganography is to conceal the fact that you have secrets. When you process a file through the suite's Crypt & Hide component and then shred the original, a hacker or snoop won't find any evidence that the sensitive data exists.

I don't know precisely how this tool processes files—it's not in the company's interest to reveal such information. But here's a simple example of how steganography could work to hide a file inside an image. First, picture that the file contains a list of numbers representing the exact color of each pixel in the image. Now round all those numbers so they're even. That tiny change doesn't make a visible difference in the image. Convert your secret file into a stream of bits, and step through the list of the image's pixels, leaving the color number unchanged for zero bits and making it odd for one bits. You've hidden the file in a way that's completely recoverable, but the image doesn't look appreciably different.

Steganos can use BMP, WAV, or JPG files as carriers for encrypted data. The help system advises using a carrier file at least 20 times the size of the encrypted data. You can also use it to create encrypted archives without hiding them, much as you'd do with a ZIP archive utility. Note, though, that the archives created by Steganos use the proprietary EDF format, not the standard ZIP format.

To create a simple encrypted archive, drag files and folders onto the Crypt & Hide dialog, or browse to locate the desired items. You can also enter a text description of the contents. Clicking Save lets you define the name and location for the resulting EDF file. The password entry dialog is the same as that used by Steganos Safe and Steganos Password Manager. It rates password strength as you type, with the option to use a virtual keyboard, or to define the password by clicking a sequence of pictures.

To create an encrypted file and also hide it, follow precisely the same procedure, but click the Hide button instead of the Save button, and choose a BMP, WAV, or JPG file as carrier. That's it. Your secret files are hidden within the chosen carrier. Don't believe it? Launch Crypt & Hide again, choose Open, and select your carrier. Once you enter the password, your files are back. Of course you must use the shredder to destroy the originals.

TraceDestructor

As you use your computer and browse the Web, you leave behind traces of what you've been doing. Sure, you hid your secret plans using Crypt & Hide, but if MyWorldTakeover still shows up in the list of recent documents, you're busted. In a similar way, your browsing history may reveal way too much about what you've been researching. That's where TraceDestructor comes in.

TraceDestructor clears various types of browsing traces from Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Microsoft Edge. For Edge, it just clears cookies and cached files. For the others, it can also wipe out such things as history, autocomplete data, and passwords. It can also empty the Recycle Bin and eliminate Windows temporary files, recently used file lists, and other traces.

Cleaning up traces doesn't take long. When the process has finished, Steganos advises you to log off and on again, for full cleanup. Simple!

Privacy Settings

Clicking the Privacy icon brings up a simple settings dialog with four on/off switches, all off by default. I couldn't test Webcam protection, because my virtual machine test systems simply don't have webcams. In addition, every time I opened Privacy Settings I got a notification from Windows that the webcam privacy component crashed.

Webcam protection does nothing but deactivate your webcam, so you must turn that protection off if you want to use the cam for videoconferencing. A similar feature in ESET Internet Security 10 lets you disable the webcam in general but enable specific programs. That would prevent webcam spying while still letting you Skype, for example.

Kaspersky Total Security also offers webcam blocking for all but permitted programs. It extends similar protection to the microphone, to head off the possibility of a snoop listening in on your activities.

Internet advertisers work hard to profile your personal surfing habits, so they can target ads based on your interests. If you've ever bought (or looked at) a product on one site and then seen an ad for that product on a different site, you've seen this process in action. You can set your browser to send a Do Not Track header with each request, but sites aren't compelled to obey this header. The Prevent tracking option in Steganos filters out tracking activity before it reaches the browser.

Some trackers skip the usual techniques for tying together all data about your online activity, instead trying to create a fingerprint of your devices and activity, including precise data about the browsers you use. Steganos lets you replace your actual browser details with a generic fake set, to anonymize your browser type. Finally, you can choose to block advertisements altogether. The Block ads, Prevent tracking, and Anonymize browse type settings are simple on/off switches.

In testing, these three privacy elements initially didn't work. I confirmed this using various online tests. I reinstalled the product, to no avail. I installed it on a physical system, thinking that it might be incompatible with running in a virtual machine. Here, too, the privacy elements just didn't work. Tech support determined this was due to the absence of a proxy process that provides all three types of filtering.

Going back and forth with tech support, I determined that the installer failed to create a necessary configuration file. Even after I manually copied the config file that tech support supplied, it did not launch the proxy process. After more back and forth, I got the proxy running on both systems. It seemed to be running smoothly on the physical system, but its output on the virtual system contained many error messages. That being the case, I focused on the physical system.

There's no way to tell if the Prevent tracking feature is working, but Anonymize browser type should change the user agent string that your browser sends to every website. It did not do so. And although the filter's output log contained tons of ad blocking reports, the ads visibly weren't blocked.

The worst thing about this component is that even when its proxy failed to load, it didn't display any kind of error message. The privacy features work silently, so you'd have no idea that they weren't functioning, unless you noticed its failure to block ads.

There is one icon I haven't covered, E-Mail Encryption. I've skipped this one for several reasons. First, it is not a Steganos product; it's from another company, MyNigma. Second, on a PC it only functions as an Outlook plug-in, and my test systems don't have Outlook. Third, it only works to encrypt email between other users of MyNigma, so it's not useful for general-purpose encrypted communication.

Another Take on Privacy

Abine Blur is another suite of tools aimed at protecting your privacy. Its active Do Not Track component goes way beyond just sending the DNT header, which websites can ignore. Furthermore, unlike Steganos, it makes its activity visible. It includes a simple password manager, but goes beyond Steganos by offering a safety report that flags weak and duplicate passwords.

Blur protects your privacy by masking email accounts, credit cards, and (on a smartphone) phone numbers. Suppose you make a purchase from a merchant using a masked email account, and a masked credit card. Mail from the merchant reaches your inbox, but you can delete the masked account if it starts getting spam. And a merchant who doesn't have your real credit card number can't sell the card data or overcharge you. Read my review for a full explanation.

Blur doesn't block ads, and it doesn't include file encryption, but all of its components are directly aimed at protecting your privacy. Even if you do install the Steganos suite, consider trying Blur's free edition for additional protection. Note that if you do opt for a $39-per-year premium subscription, you can use Blur on all your devices.

Do You Already Have It?

You may also find that you've already got significant privacy protection courtesy of your security suite. For example, Kaspersky and AVG Internet Security include an active Do Not Track system, like what Blur offers, and Kaspersky can block banner ads. Webcam protection in Kaspersky and ESET goes farther than what you get with Steganos.

As for encrypted storage, the core of Steganos Privacy Suite, you can find a similar feature in many suites, among them McAfee LiveSafe, Bitdefender, Kaspersky, and Trend Micro. Admittedly, none of the suites build out this feature into the comprehensive encryption system that is Steganos Safe.

As for password management, it's becoming a common bonus feature in larger suites. Webroot includes a version based on award-winning LastPass, and McAfee comes with all the multi-factor authentication glory of True Key. Symantec Norton Security Premium, Trend Micro, ESET, Kaspersky, and Bitdefender are among the other suites with a password manager built right in.

Before you purchase a set of privacy tools, check to see what you already have right in your existing security suite.

A Mixed Bag

Steganos Safe is easier to use than other container-based encryption programs, and has some nifty features to both encrypt and hide your files. However, Steganos Password Manager lacks advanced features, and some of its features didn't work in testing. The Crypt & Hide component is a kick, as it truly hides your secrets, leaving no trace. But the browser-related privacy filters just didn't work in testing. Steganos Privacy Suite is a mixed bag, for sure.

There aren't many utilities specifically devoted to privacy. Abine Blur Premium remains our Editors' Choice in this interesting field. I look forward to seeing more competition in the specific area of privacy protection.

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Many security suite product lines form a simple progression, at least on the Windows platform. It goes like this: basic antivirus, entry-level suite, feature-rich mega-suite, and cross-platform multi-device suite. With ESET Multi-Device Security 10, you can install the antivirus or entry-level suite on Windows, but not the mega-suite. It also offers a choice of antivirus or suite on macOS devices. As for Android, you can install mobile security, parental control, or both. In fact, this suite shines under Android more than it does under Windows or macOS.

For $84.99 per year, you get six licenses to install ESET protection on your Windows, macOS, and Android devices. At the $99.99 per year level, you get 10 licenses. Kaspersky offers a bit less for $99.99, just five licenses. For $89.99 per year, Norton gives you 10 licenses plus 25GB of hosted online storage for your backups, and McAfee LiveSafe lets you protect all your devices, without limit. ESET's pricing fits right in with these products, and the fact that you get six licenses at the base subscription rate makes it a better deal than many. Also, the previous edition's requirement that one-half of your licenses go to Android devices has been lifted.

To start, you click a link in the activation email, which also contains your license key. In most cases, you'll start by installing ESET on a Windows device, but the download page offers you the choice of Windows, macOS, or Android. Additional installations require either the activation code or the username and password supplied along with the activation code. Unlike F-Secure, Symantec Norton Security Premium, Bitdefender, and others, ESET does not let you manage licenses using an online account. Rather, My ESET is the place to go for antitheft, Android parental control, and social media scanning.

Windows Protection

If you choose to download protection for Windows, ESET Multi-Device installs ESET Internet Security 10. This suite's antivirus gets good scores in our tests and in independent lab tests. It includes a Host Intrusion Prevention System, a secure browser, and a simple spam filter. The firewall's program control is old school, however, either doing very little or spewing popups. Furthermore, the parental control is limited, and it fared poorly in our antiphishing test. For full details, read my review of this suite.

ESET's mega-suite, ESET Smart Security Premium 10, adds a number of advanced features not found in the entry-level suite. These include a password manager based on Editors' Choice Sticky Password Premium, an encryption system that creates secure virtual drives or secure mobile storage, and an anti-theft system for Windows devices. Smart Security Premium also uses an unusual pricing model, with no multi-license bundles. But, once again, ESET Security Multi-Device does not let you access these premium features.

F-Secure, Bitdefender, Kaspersky, and most other cross-platform suites assume that you'll want a full security suite on Windows. ESET gives you the option to install ESET NOD32 Antivirus 10 rather than the full suite, if that's what you prefer. To do so, you download and install the product as usual, then enter the license key you received with the activation email.

ESET on Mac

On a Mac, ESET Multi-Device likewise gives you a choice. You can install the ESET Cyber Security (for Mac) antivirus, or the ESET Cyber Security Pro suite. Note that there's no protection offered for iOS devices.

The Mac antivirus scans for malware on demand, on access, and on schedule. It also scans incoming POP3 and IMAP email messages for dangerous attachments. On the chance that your Mac might act as a carrier for non-Mac malware, it scans for Windows and Linux threats as well.

To keep you safe online, the Mac product includes Banking Protection as well as protection against malicious and fraudulent websites. You can also invoke its social media scanner to check for potentially dangerous links.

This suite's firewall aims to block malicious network attacks, and to control network usage by apps. Firewall experts can block specific services, ports, and IP addresses, but ordinary users shouldn't meddle with such firewall rules.

ESET's Parental control on the Mac is similar to what it offers for Windows, which means it's fairly limited. For each child, you can configure it to block websites matching specific categories, or just accept the default blocking categories for your child's age. It also logs attempts to reach blocked websites. That's the extent of parental control.

Security for Android

ESET Mobile Security provides a full range of expected Android security features. To get started, just install it from the Google Play Store. As with the Windows product, the installer requires that you actively choose whether to block Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUAs). PUAs are not as risky as malware, and you may have even given permission for their installation, but they tend to do annoying things, like bombard you with ads.

The installer offers a free trial of the app's premium features. These include anti-theft, automatic updates, antiphishing, scheduled scanning, and more. Don't bother with the trial, as you already have a license for the premium edition.

Activating that license is a bit awkward. You can do it by typing the registration code from the activation email, but that code is 20 characters long. There's also an option to activate using your username and password. I tried typing the username and password from my ESET account online; it failed. As it turns out, what it wants here is the random username and password assigned to you in the activation email.

ESET's antivirus component scans for malware immediately after install. Real-time protection watches for active malware. You can set up a scheduled scan, or (and this is clever) set it to scan any time it's charging.

Anti-theft isn't enabled by default, because it requires that you change your Android settings to make ESET a Device Administrator. You also must link this installation to your online My ESET account. Uninstall Protection prevents a thief from just turning off ESET.

The Proactive Protection feature snaps a screenshot after a failed unlock attempt. After a specified number of failed attempts (two, by default) a countdown starts in the background (15 seconds, by default). If the countdown finishes before the correct code is entered, the device goes into lockdown, just as if you had locked it remotely. A Good Samaritan who found your lost device could click a contact button to see your email address.

By logging in to the My ESET online portal, you can manage anti-theft remotely. When you mark a device as missing, ESET locks the device and starts monitoring, periodically sending the device's location, and snapping photos using the camera. You can trigger a loud alarm to help find a nearby device. And if you lose all hope for recovery, tapping the Wipe button erases all of the device's data.

Bitdefender Mobile Security and Antivirus (for Android) offers a similar set of anti-theft tools, but adds one unusual item. Once you pair your device with an Android Wear watch, you get a warning if you walk away leaving the device behind.

The anti-phishing component only works with browsers that support its integration. Tapping its button displays a list of supported browsers on your device. On the Nexus 9 that I used for testing, only Chrome appeared in the list. Avast Mobile Security blocks malicious sites in a wide variety of browsers.

Security Audit is disabled by default; you should turn it on. It warns if you're connected to insecure Wi-Fi, and if you've enabled debug mode, or installation of apps from unknown sources.

More importantly, Security Audit checks all your apps and reports how many of them have specific potentially risky permissions: using paid services, tracking your location, reading identity information, accessing messages, and accessing contacts. For each category, you can tap to see a list of programs. On my clean test device, only Speedtest triggered a warning—it needs to know your location to pick the closest server.

After I installed ESET's own Parental Control, described below, it triggered all five Security Audit warnings. Of course, that makes perfect sense; parental control is a kind of invasion of privacy. Note that the similar auditing feature in Norton Security and Antivirus (for Android) takes the concept to the next level, offering warnings about iffy apps before you even download them.

All of my Android test devices are tablets. On an Android smartphone, more options become available. If a phone thief changes out the SIM card, ESET can send the new SIM card details to a trusted friend that you've specified. You can also enable the device to receive remote lock, locate, wipe, and siren commands through SMS.

On a smartphone, ESET's SMS and call filtering lets you control who can call and text you. You make the rules, for specific numbers, for masked numbers, or for numbers not in your contacts list. Rules can apply to calls, SMS messages, or MMS messages. You can also set each rule to apply during specific times or date ranges. I imagine you could use this to block calls during the night but allow calls from your most important contacts.

The similar feature in Avast logs the content of blocked text messages, but just dumps blocked calls to voicemail. Bitdefender's Android app does many things, but call and text blocking isn't among its features.

The Security Audit component adds a couple entries for a smartphone. Specifically, it checks to be sure that data roaming and call roaming are not active.

Norton, Bitdefender, and Avast are our Editors' Choice products in the Android security realm. However, ESET covers most of the same features; it's a good choice for Android protection.

Android Parental Control

ESET's Parental Control app for Android is completely separate from the basic Android security app. In fact, you must use one of your licenses to activate the parental control system. However, once you've done so you can install it on as many Android devices as you wish.

Parental control on Android is significantly more feature-rich than on Windows. See my review of ESET Parental Control (for Android) for full details. I'll summarize here.

The same app that enforces the rules on a child's device can be used to make the rules on a parent's device. In fact, you can log in to the parent app from your child's device, if necessary. You can also manage and monitor the system from the My ESET console.

ESET blocks access to websites in categories you've defined as inappropriate. You can optionally have it log access to such sites without blocking them. It handles secure (HTTPS) websites, so kids won't evade its reach using a secure anonymizing proxy.

The Application Guard feature blocks the use of inappropriate apps, naturally. For apps defined as Fun & Games, it imposes a daily limit, and also lets parents define a weekly schedule for when such apps are allowed.

From the parental control home page, you can see an overview of the child's website and app usage, as well as a location map, and can click on the overviews for detailed reports. A few features work only from the app. Parental Message is perhaps the most important of these. It lets parents send a text message that locks the device until the child responds. That will teach them to ignore you!

On its own, the ESET parental control app is impressive, provided that you only need to cover Android devices. It comes close to our Editors' Choice product for Android parental control, Norton Family Parental Control (for Android).

Uneven Security

ESET Multi-Device Security 10 lets you use a single license to install protection on your Windows, macOS, and Android devices, but it doesn't offer consistent protection across all platforms. Its Android support is the best of the lot, with a full-features antivirus and anti-theft component plus a parental control app that rivals the best. If you're an all-Android household, this could be a good choice.

On Windows, antivirus is ESET's best feature—other components like firewall and parental control don't come up to the same mark. In addition, Windows users don't get the premium features found in ESET's top-of-the-line suite. The Mac product does give you more than just antivirus, but it lacks many features found in the other platforms.

If you need top-notch security for your Windows, macOS, and Android devices, consider Symantec Norton Security Premium. You get 10 licenses for less than what ESET costs, along with 25GB of online backup storage. Don't want any limits? Your McAfee LiveSafe subscription is good for every device in your household, even iOS devices. These two are our Editors' Choice products for cross-platform multi-device security.

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An avid audiophile might pore through mountains of specifications looking for the very best in every component category. Why not? But looking for the best antivirus, best firewall, and so on just doesn't sound like much fun, especially when you can't be sure they'll all play nicely together.

Getting your security in the form of an integrated suite is both easier and smarter. You don't have to scour the Internet for multiple components, and your all-in-one suite causes less of a performance hit than an unrelated gaggle of separate tools. The top security vendors offer security suites that integrate a variety of features.
Some stick to the basics, while others pile on tons of useful extras. Just read through PCMag's reviews of security suites and select one that has the features you need.
I've rounded up a collection of top-notch suites, varied enough that one should be just right for you. This article briefly mentions the many tests we use to evaluate security suites and determine which ones are best.
If you want more details on the torture tests we perform on every product we review, please read the full explanation of how we test security software. Basic and Advanced Security Suites Most security vendors offer at least three levels of security products, a standalone antivirus utility, an entry-level security suite, and an advanced suite with additional features. Most entry-level suites include antivirus, firewall, antispam, parental control, and some sort of additional privacy protection such as protection against phishing sites, those frauds that try to steal your passwords.

The advanced "mega-suite" typically adds a backup component and some form of system tune-up utility, and some also add password managers and other security extras. When a new product line comes out, I start by reviewing the antivirus.
In my review of the entry-level suite, I summarize results from the antivirus review and dig deeper into the suite-specific features.

And for a mega-suite review, I focus on the advanced features, referring back to the entry-level suite review for features shared by both. Your choice of a basic or advanced security suite depends entirely on what features matter to you. Symantec is an exception to this pattern. Previously the company offered various antivirus and suite products for PC, Mac, and Mobile.

All the standalone Norton products you may remember were retired a couple years ago, rolled into Symantec Norton Security. However, Symantec recently brought back a standalone antivirus product, Norton AntiVirus Basic. One more thing: The suites we've rounded up here are aimed at protecting consumers, for the most part. You can definitely use any of them in a small business, but as your company grows you may need to switch to a SaaS endpoint protection system.

This type of service lets an administrator monitor and manage security for all your company's computers. Core Antivirus Protection Antivirus is the heart of a security suite; without an antivirus component, there's no suite. Naturally you want a suite whose antivirus is effective. When evaluating an antivirus, I look for high marks from the independent antivirus testing labs.

The fact that the labs consider a product important enough to test is a vote of confidence in itself.

The very best antivirus products get high ratings from many labs. I also perform my own hands-on testing.

For one test I use a relatively static set of malware samples that's replaced once per year.
I note how the antivirus reacts when I try to launch those samples and score it on how well it protects the test system.

For another, I try to download very new malicious files from URLs no more than a few days old. Lab test results, my own test results, and other aspects like ease of use go into my antivirus rating. Firewall Choices A typical personal firewall offers protection in two main areas. On the one hand, it monitors all network traffic to prevent inappropriate access from outside the network. On the other, it keeps a watchful eye on running applications to make sure they don't misuse your network connection.

The built-in Windows Firewall handles monitoring traffic, but doesn't include program control.

A few security suites skip the firewall component, figuring that Windows Firewall already does the most essential firewall tasks. The last thing you want is a firewall that bombards you with incomprehensible queries about online activity.
Should OhSnap32.exe be allowed to connect with 111.222.3.4 on port 8080? Allow or Block? Modern firewalls cut down the need for these queries by automatically configuring permissions for known programs.

The very best ones also handle unknown programs by monitoring them closely for signs of improper network activity and other suspicious behaviors. Have Some Spam These days, most of us hardly ever see spam messages in our inboxes because your email provider filters them out.
If you don't get this service from your provider, it can be hard to even find your valid mail amid all the offers of male enhancements, Russian brides, and quick-money schemes. If your provider doesn't squelch spam, it's smart to choose a suite that has spam filtering built in. Look for one that integrates with your email client.

Client integration lets it divert spam into its own folder, and sometimes let you train the spam filter by flagging any spam messages that get through or, worse, valid messages that wound up in the spam pile. Privacy Protection The best antivirus in the world can't help you if a fraudulent website tricks you into giving away your security credentials. Phishing sites masquerade as bank sites, auction sites, even online game sites. When you enter your username and password, though, your account is instantly compromised.
Some clever ones will even pass along your credentials to the real site, to avoid raising suspicions. Steering users away from phishing sites definitely helps protect privacy, but that's not the only way suites can keep your private information out of the wrong hands.
Some offer specific protection for user-defined sensitive data, credit cards, bank accounts, that sort of thing.

Any attempt to transmit sensitive data from your computer sets of an alarm.
Some contract with third-party vendors to offer credit protection.

And some supply a hardened browser that lets you do online banking in an environment isolated from other processes. What About Parental Control? I don't penalize a suite for omitting parental control. Not everyone has kids, and not every parent feels comfortable about controlling and monitoring their children's computer use. However, if parental control is present, it has to work. Blocking inappropriate websites and controlling how much time the child spends on the Internet (or on the computer) are the core components of a parental control system.
Some suites add advanced features like instant message monitoring, limiting games based on ESRB ratings, and tracking the child's social networking activity. Others can't even manage the basics successfully. Don't Bog Me Down One big reason to use a security suite rather than a collection of individual utilities is that the integrated suite can do its tasks using fewer processes and a smaller chunk of your system's resources. Or at least, that's what ought to happen.

Few modern suites have an appreciable effect on performance. For a hands-on measure of just what effect installing a particular suite has, I time three common system actions with and without the suite installed, averaging many runs of each test. One test measures system boot time, another moves and copies a large collection of files between drives, and a third zips and unzips that same file collection repeatedly.
Suites with the very lightest touch have almost no effect on the time required. Backup and Tune-Up Utilities In a sense, having a backup of all your files is the ultimate security.

Even ifransomware destroys your data, you can still restore from backup.
Some vendors reserve backup for their mega-suite offering, while others include it in the entry-level suite. Read my reviews carefully, as backup capabilities vary wildly.

At the low end, some vendors give you nothing you couldn't get for free from Mozy, IDrive, or another online backup service.

At the high end you might get 25GB of online storage hosted by the vendor, along with the ability to make local backups. Tuning up your system performance has no direct connection with security, unless it serves to counteract the security suite's performance drag. However, tune-up components often include privacy-related features such as clearing traces of browsing history, wiping out temporary files, and deleting lists of recently used documents.

For a dedicated system-cleaning app, read our roundup of the Best Tune-Up Utilities. What's Not Here We have more high-scoring suites than can fit in a top-ten chart, so a few had to be cut.
Symantec Norton Security Deluxe is identical to Symantec Norton Security Premium, except with half as many licenses and no online backup; that was an easy choice. McAfee Total Protection and McAfee LiveSafe differ only in their selection of high-end bonus features; unusual biometrically secured storage won LiveSafe a spot in the top ten. Then there's Webroot SecureAnywhere Internet Security Plus (2016), which lacks the backup and tune-up components found in Webroot SecureAnywhere Internet Security Complete (2016). Naturally I gave the nod to the more complete suite. What's the Best Security Suite? The chart at top details ten security suites that we definitely recommend, including multi-device suites, mega-suites, and entry-level suites.
If you're looking for a suite that covers the basics without getting in the way, Bitdefender Internet Security and Kaspersky Internet Security are our Editors' Choice winners.
In the mega-suite range, Editors' Choice goes to Bitdefender Total Security and Kaspersky Total Security, with more features than you can imagine.
Symantec Norton Security Premium protects up to 10 devices, and McAfee LiveSafe doesn't put any limit on the number of devices—these two are our Editors' Choice products for cross-platform multi-device security suite. With one of these powerful tools protecting your devices, you can relax and enjoy some time off. FEATURED IN THIS ROUNDUP

McAfee LiveSafe (2017)

Would you rather have 10 cookies, or all the cookies you want? Unlimited cookies clearly seems better, even though you probably wouldn't even eat 10 of them at one sitting.

The same holds for security suite licenses. Rather than limit you to protect...
Do you know how many Internet-connected devices are in your household? Now, how many of them have an antivirus or security suite installed? With one subscription to McAfee Total Protection, you can install protection on every single one of those devic...
You absolutely need antivirus protection for your Windows boxes—that's a given.

But a full-scale security suite does much more than just protect against the various types of malware.
Symantec Norton Security Premium contains virtually every security component you can imagine, and a number of them are Editors' Choice products in their own right.
It lets you install Norton security on up to 10 Windows, Android, macOS, and iOS devices.
If you need to protect a large collection of diverse devices, look no further. A 10-license one-year subscription for Norton Security Premium costs $89.99, and includes 25GB of hosted online backup.

Bitdefender Total Security Multi-Device 2017 gives you five licenses for that price, or ten for $10 more. Kaspersky is a little more expensive, with five licenses for $99.99.

And for the same price as Norton, McAfee lets you install protection on every device in your household. Required ReadingMy typical pattern when reviewing a security product line is to start with the standalone antivirus and then summarize the antivirus review as part of my review of the full security suite.
If there's an even bigger mega-suite in the mix, I summarize the entry-level suite review. However, I'm going to take a different path this time. This product has precisely the same excellent security components as Symantec Norton Security Deluxe.

These include top-scoring antivirus, award-winning Android security, no-hassle firewall, consistently accurate phishing protection, a full security suite for macOS, and more.

The Premium edition adds five more licenses along with parental control and online backup, neither of which is tightly coupled to the suite's other components. Please read my review of the Deluxe edition first, then come back here for my evaluation of the added Premium features. Online and Local BackupSecurity suite vendors like to promote that their products include online backup—it gives them a nice check mark in the features table. However, all too many of them simply offer a branded version of some partner product that their users could get for free directly from the partner.

Check Point ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 2017 offers 5GB of backup space that you could just as easily get directly from IDrive, for example. Norton's Windows-specific backup component is a completely in-house product, and sells separately for $49.99 per year. PCMag's Max Eddy didn't think much of Norton Online Backup, comparing it unfavorably with other standalone backup services.

But compared with backup components in other security suites, it looks pretty good. The online backup component comes pre-configured with a default backup set that defines what to back up, where to store backed-up files, and when to run the backup.
It includes files in and below the Documents folder for each user, but specifically omits possibly massive video files and email files by default. You can edit this backup set to fit your own needs, or create any number of additional backup sets. The default destination for your backed-up files is Norton's secure online storage, but you can also back up locally. While CD/DVD backup was removed in this edition due to low usage, any other drive that shows up in Windows Explorer is a fair target.

That includes local hard drives, remote drives, network drives, and even some cloud storage services.

The backup system in Kaspersky Total Security doesn't come with online storage, but you can link it to your Dropbox account. By default, backup occurs automatically when your computer is idle.

That's probably best for ongoing maintenance, but you may want to manually launch the first backup when you're done with your system for the day, as the first time can take a while.
Subsequent backups only transmit new and changed files, so they run much faster. You can also schedule a backup set to run on a weekly or monthly schedule. You can also choose to throttle back the bandwidth used for backup, an option that's only needed if you don't choose to back up during idle time. The restore feature also comes pre-configured with logical defaults.
It restores files from the most recent backup (though you can choose another) to their original locations (though you can select a different destination).

By default, it waits for you to search out the file or files you want to recover. You can optionally browse all backed-up files, or restore the entire backup set.

And you can access your backup sets as if they were local files and folders by opening the Norton Backup Drive in Windows Explorer. Webroot SecureAnywhere Internet Security Complete also offers 25GB of hosted storage for backing up and syncing files.
It keeps up to ten versions of files and lets you create links to securely share backed-up files.

BullGuard Premium Protection also lets you share files from its 25GB of online backup. Norton just keeps the latest version, and secure sharing has been dropped in the current version.

Few consumers actually used the feature, and it made overall security more complex, according to my Symantec contact. The fanciest backup system in the world won't help if it never gets used. Norton makes backup almost effortless, which is as it should be. Parental ControlYour Norton Security Premium subscription also includes Symantec Norton Family Premier, a $49.99 value if purchased separately. Yes, the combined price of Norton Online Backup and Norton Family Premier is greater than the price of this entire suite, and much greater than the $10 you spend to upgrade from Norton Family Delux.

That's a great deal. As with Net Nanny, Qustodio Parental Control 2015, and other modern parental control systems, all configuration and reporting takes place online, with a small client app on each Windows, Android, or iOS device, to handle local monitoring and enforcement of House Rules.
Sorry, Mac users, this component isn't for you. To get started, you log in to your Norton account online and create a profile for each child.

The profile includes name, birth year, gender, and an optional photo or avatar. You can also add personal information that you don't want the child to share online. Next, you add a device that the child uses or, if it's a PC, the child's Windows user account. You can install the local Norton Family parental control agent on the current device or email a link. Keep going until you've created a profile for each of your kids; there's no specific limit on the number of child profiles or devices. With that task out of the way, it's time to define House Rules for each profile.

First up is Web Supervision, which manages content filtering.

Based on the child's age, Norton selects from the 47 content categories and determines whether to block those categories or just give the child a warning. You can pick your own custom set of categories and choose to block, warn, or just silently monitor.

ContentWatch Net Nanny 7 is even more flexible, letting you choose allow, block, or warn separately for each category. When Norton blocks access to a site, it displays the reason.

The child can send parents a message explaining the attempt to visit the site, or report that the site is categorized incorrectly.
If a child proceeds to the site despite a warning, parents get notification. Norton actually checks page content if necessary.
I found that it allowed access to a short-story website but blocked its erotic stories.
It filters secure (HTTPS) traffic, so kids won't evade it by using a secure anonymizing proxy.

And it didn't cave to a simple three-word network command that disconnects some less-clever parental control systems.
I couldn't find any sites that should have been blocked but weren't. Forcing Safe Search has become difficult now that popular search portals enforce use of HTTS.

Bitdefender and Trend Micro simply dropped that feature from parental control, though Trend Micro Maximum Security attempts to cover up naughty pictures in search results. Norton has taken a different tack.
Search Supervision enforces Safe Search on Ask, YouTube, Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
It does so using a browser extension, so a clever child might work around this restriction. Your child can turn off Safe Search and briefly see inappropriate links or pictures until the browser extension turns it on again. Video Supervision keeps track of the videos your child watches on YouTube or Hulu.
Social Media Supervision simply tracks the existence of your child's Facebook account and reports if the child used a spurious age to set up the account, or posted personal information. All of the components I've mentioned thus far are enabled by default, but Time Supervision is not.

Turning this feature on automatically schedules when the child can use the device and sets a daily maximum for screen time, based on the child's age.

For example, my imaginary 13-year-old's schedule allowed access from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. daily, and until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Screen time was capped at two hours for weekdays, five hours on the weekend.
If you want to tweak these settings, you must edit each day separately. You can also choose whether to cut off access or just issue a warning. Kids can check their remaining time by clicking the Norton Family icon in the notification area.

There's also an option to send a request for more time.

Android devices can still be used after hours, but Norton prevents all app activity other than calling emergency contacts. Note that time scheduling applies separately to each device the child uses.

The equivalent feature in Net Nanny is cross-device, so your kid can't time out on the PC and just switch to Android. Mobile Parental ControlThree more components become available when you assign an Android device to the child's profile.

Android protection is equivalent to Norton Family Parental Control (for Android). Some mobile parental control systems offer geofencing, meaning you can get notification when your child enters or leaves a specific location. Norton's Location Supervision doesn't do that, but if you enable it the child's device reports its position periodically, and you can view current and past locations on a map. App Supervision lists all non-default apps installed on the child's Android device.
See something you don't like? Just check the box to block use of that app. I couldn't actively test the advanced Text Supervision feature, because my Android test devices all lack cellular data connection. Here's how it works.
In the default Monitored mode, the child can text with any contact that's not specifically blocked. Norton logs all text conversations with unknown contacts. Parents can review the conversations and mark the contact as Blocked or Unmonitored.
In Blocked mode, unknowns can't contact your child at all until and unless you mark them as Unmonitored.
In Unmonitored mode, all contacts not specifically marked as Blocked are permitted, with no logging. If your child uses an iOS device, you can still install Norton's parental control, the equivalent of Norton Family Parental Control (for iPhone). However, there's just not much to it. You do get content filtering, but it only works in the app's internal browser.

During installation, the app explains how to set up Restrictions so your child can't use Safari or Chrome, disable Norton, or download other browsers. Once that's done, you get the full power of Web Supervision. Location Supervision is also available, just as it is on Android.
Video Supervision and Search Supervision both work. However, on an iOS device there's no Time Supervision, Mobile App Supervision, Text Message Supervision, or Social Media supervision.
If you really need full-powered parental control on iOS devices, look to Editors' Choice Kaspersky Safe Kids (for iPhone). Parental Reporting and NotificationSo far I've just talked about how you use Norton to define and enforce House Rules.

The other half of the equation is what Norton calls Activities—the logs of what your children have been up to.

The Activities summary shows the same eight types of supervision, with an overview of the latest activity. You can filter the summary to just look at one device, in which case you'll see a message stating "This feature is not supported" for categories that don't apply to that device. Clicking on one of the panel opens a more detailed view, and in most cases you can drill down even farther.

For example, the Web Supervision summary shows the most-used categories.

Clicking it gets a full list of all sites visited, warned, or blocked.

And clicking a specific site displays that site's categories, a thumbnail, and any message that the child sent.
Search Supervision displays a word cloud of search words in the summary and lists precise search terms when you click. On the Video Supervision summary, you see thumbnails of the videos your child has watched.

Drilling down lists the videos, along with the device used for viewing and a date/time stamp.

And clicking an item in that list lets you view the video's description or jump straight to the video itself. Your Norton Family account can have more than one designated parent—that makes sense, but it's not a common feature. Parents get email notification of quite a few events.

These include visiting a blocked site, sending information that was defined as personal, and installing an app that blocks Norton Family, among other things. You can turn off any or all of these if they get to be too much. As you can see, this is an extremely comprehensive parental control system, its only weakness being the limited iOS support.

As a standalone product, it's an Editors' Choice. A Star-Studded SuiteIf Symantec Norton Security Premium were a movie, it would have a star-studded cast.
Its antivirus component is an Editors' Choice, as is parental control system.

As a separate product, its Android security app is also an Editors' Choice.
Various components earn excellent scores in independent lab tests and in our own tests.

And it even offers a full security suite for macOS, something few competitors accomplish. Norton Security Premium is an Editors' Choice for cross-platform multi-device suites, and it's a great choice as long as its ten licenses suffice for your needs.
If your household needs security for even more devices, consider our other Editors' Choice in this area, McAfee LiveSafe.
It doesn't score as well as Norton in testing, but you can use it on every device in your household, no limits. Sub-Ratings:Note: These sub-ratings contribute to a product's overall star rating, as do other factors, including ease of use in real-world testing, bonus features, and overall integration of features.Firewall: Antivirus: Performance: Privacy: Parental Control: Back to top PCMag may earn affiliate commissions from the shopping links included on this page.

These commissions do not affect how we test, rate or review products.

To find out more, read our complete terms of use.
There are security suites that contain every feature you can think of, and then there are suites that contain way, way more components than you'd expect.

Bitdefender Total Security Multi-Device 2017 falls into the latter category; it's what I like t...
Only a handful of brands have as much weight in the security suite as Symantec's Norton.

The 2017 edition of Symantec Norton Security Deluxe continues a long tradition of top-notch security, as confirmed by independent labs and my own hands-on testing and evaluation.
Installed in Windows, it's a top-tier security suite, and Mac users also get a suite, not just an antivirus.

As for the Android edition, it's an Editors' Choice.
Support for iOS is pretty limited, but that's typical. Overall, the suite is excellent, but it's just shy of an Editors' Choice award. A $79.99 per year Norton subscription lets you install Norton's security products on up to five Windows, Android, macOS, or iOS devices. Webroot charges the same for five licenses, while Trend Micro lists for $89.95.

For about the same as Trend Micro's price, you can install McAfee's top-level security software on all the devices in your household. Oh, and for that rare individual who just has one device, Norton Security Standard protects a single PC or Mac for $59.99 per year. You'll find that all of these prices are frequently discounted, sometimes deeply. As with many cross-platform multi-device suites, Norton's online console is central to managing and installing protection. You start by creating your account and entering your license key.

At that point you can download and install Norton Security for your Windows system. You can also extend protection for up to four other devices.
I'll go into detail about protection on other platforms later in this review. Appearance-wise, there's not much change since last year.

The main window still features four panels devoted to Security, Identity, Performance, and More Norton.

Clicking a panel slides down the whole panel row, revealing additional icons related to the panel you clicked.

For example, when you click Security, you get icons for Scans, LiveUpdate, History, and Advanced. Most of the new developments are invisible. New Protection LayersKeeping up with the very latest malware innovations requires expertise, study, and analysis. Having researchers perform that analysis can take too long, so a couple of years ago Symantec launched an initiative focusing on machine learning.

According to my Symantec contact, the team "consists of 10 PhDs and two research Engineers from top schools, with combined 100+ years of experience in applied machine learning." That's quite a brain trust. Symantec has always taken a layered approach to system protection.

At the network level, Norton fends off attacks and blocks contact with malicious websites.
If a malicious file makes it onto your disk, the antivirus scan may wipe it out. Other factors such as file prevalence and behavior-based blocking come into play. The current product line adds several new layers to the protection mix. Proactive Exploit Protection actively prevents exploit techniques such as heap spray and ROP (Return Oriented Programming).

Threat Emulation handles malware that has been encrypted, packed, or obfuscated by running it in a controlled environment and evaluating it after it self-decrypts, much like Check Point ZoneAlarm Extreme Security 2017's similar feature.

And a predictive machine-learning algorithm aims to catch even the freshest and most innovative malware. These new layers aren't visible to the user (or even the expert).

But they help Norton keep malware out of your system. Shared AntivirusAfter a brief hiatus, Symantec again offers antivirus product, Symantec Norton AntiVirus Basic.

Feature-wise, the suite's antivirus protection is identical. However, where users of the standalone antivirus must rely on FAQs and forums for support, the suite adds a full range of tech support, and a Virus Protection Promise—if Symantec's tech support agents can't rid your system of pesky malware, the company will refund your money.

But as far as features go, the suite's antivirus protection is identical. Read my review for all the juicy antivirus details. Norton doesn't participate with all of the independent testing labs that I follow, but those that do include it give it high marks.
In the three-part test performed by AV-Test Institute, it got top marks for malware protection and low false positives, though it slipped in performance, taking 5 of 6 possible points.
Its total of 17 points is good, but Trend Micro Maximum Security, Bitdefender, and Kaspersky managed 18 of 18 possible points in the latest test.

There's nothing second-rate about a perfect AAA rating from Simon Edwards Labs, though.

And Norton is one of a very few products to pass two tests performed by MRG-Effitas.
Its aggregate lab score, 9.7 points out of a possible 10, beats all others except Kaspersky Total Security. Norton also did very well in my own hands-on tests.
Its detection rate of 97 percent and malware-blocking score of 9.7 are among the best, though Webroot did manage a perfect 10 points. When I tested Norton with 100 very recent malware-hosting URLs, it blocked 98 percent of the malware downloads.
In some cases, its Web-based protection kept the browser from even visiting the malicious URL, but mostly the Download Insight feature eliminated the malware payload. Only Avira Antivirus Pro 2016 has done better in recent tests, with 99 percent protection. I use Norton as a touchstone for measuring antiphishing success, reporting the difference between the tested product's protection rate and Norton's. Webroot, Bitdefender Internet Security 2017, and Kaspersky are the only recent products that have done better than Norton.

And of course it's significantly more accurate than the phishing protection built into Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer. Other Shared FeaturesDespite the word Basic in its name, Norton's standalone antivirus offers a lot more than just the basics.
It doesn't include full firewall functionality, but in testing, its Intrusion Prevention component did an impressive job blocking exploit attacks, stopping them at the network level and identifying many of them by name. You'll also find a complete antispam component that filters POP3 email accounts and integrates with Microsoft Outlook. A Norton Insight scan lists all the files on your computer, along with the trust level for each, prevalence among Norton users, and impact on system resources.

The antivirus scanner uses Norton Insight results to avoid scanning known and trusted files.

The Norton Safe Web browser extension uses red, yellow, and green icons to flag safe, iffy, and dangerous links in search results. You can click through for a full report on just why a given site got the rating it did. The Symantec Norton Identity Safe password manager is free for anyone to use, but having it integrated with your Norton protection is convenient.
It handles all basic password manager functions and syncs across all your devices, though it lacks advanced features like two-factor authentication and secure password sharing. Several of the shared features aim to improve your system's performance. Using the startup manager, you can reversibly disable programs from launching at startup, or set them to launch after a delay.

The File Cleanup tool wipes temporary files that waste space.

There's even a disk defragger, in case you don't have Windows optimizing disk fragmentation in the background. See How We Test Security Software Intelligent FirewallAs noted, the standalone antivirus includes a powerful Intrusion Prevention tool, a feature more commonly associated with firewall protection. With the suite, you get a complete two-way firewall. The built-in Windows firewall completely handles the task of stealthing your PC's ports and preventing outside attack.

Any firewall that aims to replace the built-in needs to do at least as well. Norton passed my port-scan and other Web-based tests with flying colors. What you don't get with the Windows firewall is control over how programs access the Internet and network.

Don't worry; Norton won't bombard you with confusing queries about what ports and IP addresses a given program should be allowed to access.
It handles such matters internally, automatically assigning network permissions to the vast number of known and trusted programs in its online database. When Norton encounters an unknown program attempting Internet access, it cranks up the sensitivity of its behavior-based malware detection for that program, and keeps an eye on its connections.
If the program misbehaves, Norton cuts its connection and eliminates it.

This isn't quite the same as the journal and rollback technology that McAfee and Webroot SecureAnywhere Internet Security Complete apply to unknown programs, but it's effective. I always do my best to disable firewall protection using techniques that would be available to a malware coder. Norton doesn't expose any significant settings in the Registry, so that route is out.

Both of its processes resist termination.

And its single Windows service can't be stopped or disabled.
It's worth noting that this isn't always the case.
I completely disabled all processes and services for ThreatTrack Vipre Internet Security Pro 2016, for example.

And while the majority of McAfee's 14 processes and 13 services resisted attack, quite a few succumbed. Excellent Android ProtectionNorton's standalone antivirus is PC-specific. With the suite, you can cover your Mac, Android, and iOS devices as well.

Click More Norton in the program's main window, then click the Show Me How button to get started.
Sign in to your Norton account and enter the email address used on the device you want to protect. Unlike the similar feature in McAfee LiveSafe, you don't have to choose the platform.

Clicking the emailed link on the device automatically selects the proper download. On an Android device, you get Norton Security and Antivirus (for Android).

Along with Bitdefender Mobile Security and Antivirus, this product is an Editors' Choice for Android security. Please read our review of that product for a deep dive into its features.
I'll summarize here. Note that the Android app has gotten a significant user interface redesign since our review, and more new features are due in the coming weeks. Immediately after installation, the antivirus runs an update and a scan. You also must activate the app for Device Administration in order to make use of its anti-theft features, and give it Accessibility permission so it can scan apps on Google Play. Norton scans for malicious and risky apps, as expected. More interestingly, its App Advisor works inside Google Play, checking every app you tap and reporting the risk level.

Tap the small notification at the bottom to see details of App Advisor's findings. Norton's extensive set of anti-theft features can be triggered either by logging in to the Web console or by sending coded SMS commands. Naturally you can use it to locate, lock, or wipe the device, and the scream feature helps find a misplaced device at home. When you lock the device, it displays a contact message of your choice, so someone who finds your lost device can arrange to return it. The Sneak Peek feature lets you remotely (and silently) snap a photo of whoever is holding the device. When you lock a lost or stolen device, it automatically snaps a photo every 10 minutes, and reports its location every five minutes. You can also remotely back up your contacts before resorting to the Wipe command, which performs a factory reset. There's a link to install the free separate App Lock app, and another to install a trial of the Norton WiFi Privacy VPN (Virtual Private Network).
It offers call blocking on Android smartphones.

And you can extend protection to another device directly from within the Android app. Suite for macOSIt's fairly common for multi-platform suites to give macOS short shrift, but Norton doesn't follow that trend. Norton Security on a Mac is a full security suite, not just antivirus. My Norton contacts say that the definition file size is down by two thirds in the current edition, which means faster scans and lower memory usage. As expected, the antivirus component scans files on access, on demand, and on schedule.
It can also scan inside ZIP files.

The full-scale firewall blocks dangerous network connections and controls how programs access the network.

The related Vulnerability Protection feature blocks port scan attacks and attacks attempting to exploit system vulnerabilities. Norton's Safe Web website reputation monitor installs in Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, marking up search results and optionally blocking access to dangerous sites, just as with the Windows edition. Phishing protection is likewise parallel to what you get with Windows. The File Guard feature aims to protect your most important files from unauthorized modification. You can set it to guard up to 250 specific files.
It doesn't protect an entire folder the way Trend Micro's Folder Shield or Bitdefender's Data Shield do.

Files under guard can't be opened, moved, copied, or deleted. You can optionally let system processes like Finder and Spotlight manage guarded files.
If you want to manipulate or modify a file that's under guard, you simply enter your password in the popup notification. Find Your iOS Devices You may want to think twice about using up one of your five licenses to protect an iOS device, as the feature set on iOS is seriously limited. Norton does offer to back up your contacts, just as it does under Android. You can use the Web portal to locate your iOS device.

And you can trigger a loud alarm to help find a nearby device.
Is it under the sofa? Or in that scruffy guy's backpack? But that's the extend of anti-theft. You can't lock or wipe the device, and you certainly can't snap a sneak peek photo. The iOS version does offer one unusual feature.

As long as you're using a device with microphone and speakers, say, a laptop or another mobile device, you can make an Internet call to the lost or stolen device. Note, though, that this won't work if the device is locked with a PIN or passcode. That's the extent of mobile security on iOS devices. No Performance WorriesAround 10 years ago, Norton had a reputation for being a resource hog, offering security at the expense of performance.

The developers quashed that reputation by spiffing up the suite's performance, and they continue to work toward less and less performance impact. I check performance using three tests that measure boot time, the time to move and copy a ton of files between drives, and the time to zip and unzip that same collection of files.
I average the results of multiple tests with no suite installed, then install the suite and average another round of testing. Norton's results were outstanding, quite a bit better than last year's.

They were so outstanding that, just to be sure, I uninstalled the product and repeated the whole process.

The results were the same within a few percent. Norton had no measurable effect on the boot time test or zip/unzip test.

The file move and copy test took 16 percent longer with Norton watching over the test system, well below the current average of 24 percent.
It's pretty clear that you don't have to worry about Norton dragging down your system's performance. Overshadowed by PremierAntivirus protection in Norton Internet Security Deluxe is excellent, with very high marks in my hands-on tests and in independent lab tests.
Its phishing protection is so good that I use it as a touchstone for evaluating other products.

Add a self-sufficient, tough firewall and a straightforward antispam tool and you've got a fine suite for your Windows devices. Norton's Android security product is an Editors' Choice, and it offers more under macOS than many.

Granted, it doesn't do a lot on iOS devices, but they do tend to need less protection. The main reason this product isn't an Editors' Choice for cross-platform multi-device suite is that its big brother, Norton Internet Security Premier, is significantly better.

For just $10 more, Premier gets you twice as many licenses, plus some significant added features.
It's a seriously better deal, well worth an Editors' Choice. Our other top pick in this category, McAfee LiveSafe, doesn't offer quite the stellar protection that Norton does, but a single subscription lets you install protection on every device in your household. Sub-Ratings:Note: These sub-ratings contribute to a product's overall star rating, as do other factors, including ease of use in real-world testing, bonus features, and overall integration of features.Firewall: Antivirus: Performance: Privacy: Parental Control: n/a Back to top PCMag may earn affiliate commissions from the shopping links included on this page.

These commissions do not affect how we test, rate or review products.

To find out more, read our complete terms of use.