When it comes to a full-fledged security suite, critics say Norton Internet Security 2012 takes the cake even though its antivirus chops aren't quite on par with Kaspersky's 2012 products, such as Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2012 (*Est. $25). Both Maximum PC and PCMag.com compare the suite directly against Kaspersky Internet Security 2012, as well as others, and they name Norton the victor for its robust anti-spam, anti-phishing and firewall features, which combine with the software's above-average antivirus program to create comprehensive all-around protection. The newly streamlined interface also earns high marks. The major black mark against Norton is its frequent tendency to misidentify safe files as malware. If need only antivirus protection, experts say Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2012 (*Est. $25) provides superior detection rates and fewer false positives than the standalone Norton AntiVirus 2012.
The independent testing labs are the best sources for rating Norton Internet Security 2012's antivirus capabilities. Major publications like PCMag.com, Britain's Which? magazine and Maximum PC pit the program against other security suites in comprehensive roundups, while a standalone review from Download.com also proves useful. Amazon.com is a good source for user reviews.
Norton AntiVirus 2012 -- the antivirus component of Norton Internet Security 2012 -- manages to snag an Advanced certification from the highly respected AV-Comparatives.org in this on-demand comparative test. While it proved especially effective against worms, bots and Trojans, the software stumbled against other types of malware, blocking 68.2 percent of infected files from that category (although it still blocked more than 95 percent of malware overall). It also coughed up 57 false positives, the second-worst number of any program tested.
Review: Anti-Virus Comparative, Editors of AV-Comparatives.org, Aug. 2011
Norton Internet Security 2012 earns certifications for both Windows XP and Windows 7 from the independent AV-Test.org lab. False positives aren't as much of an issue in these tests, although the software struggles with cleaning and repairing installed malware. That's especially true on Windows 7 PCs, where nonactive traces of nearly 60 percent of the malware were left after Norton neutralized the programs.
Review: Detailed Test Reports, Editors of AV-Test.org
PCMag.com's Neil Rubenking heaps praise -- and an Editors' Choice award -- on Norton Internet Security 2012. "Some suites are strong in one area but weak in another. Norton's components all are impressive," he writes, although he also finds that Norton's SONAR detection falsely identifies uncommon applications as malware.
Review: Norton Internet Security 2012, Neil J. Rubenking, Sept. 7, 2011
Maximum PC evaluates 10 security suites and standalone antivirus programs and awards Norton Internet Security 2012 a 9 rating and a Kick Ass award as the best PC protector in the land. The user interface, subsequent scan speeds and excellent malware protection are singled out as highlights.
Review: Choose Your Defender! 10 Anti-Virus Programs Reviewed and Compared, Paul Lilly, Dec. 5, 2011
5. Virus Bulletin
Norton Internet Security 2012 didn't perform as well in Virus Bulletin's independent testing. It failed to earn VB100 certification in the organization's Windows 7-based evaluation. Only subscribers can see detailed test results.
Review: VB100 Results Summary, Editors of Virus Bulletin
CNET's Download.com singles out Norton Internet Security, calling it "Spectacular" and awarding it a perfect 5 star rating. "Low-impact performance, strong security, and useful features are the hallmarks of Norton Internet Security 2012," reviewer Seth Rosenblatt says. However, user reviews posted here are more mixed.
Review: Norton Internet Security 2012, Seth Rosenblatt, Sept. 6, 2011
7. Which? magazine
Which? magazine's review of Norton Internet Security 2012 isn't as thorough as the ones found at some of the more techcentric publications, but it touches on all the major points. A percentage score and separate numerical ratings for a vast number of features are provided.
Review: Norton Internet Security 2012, Editors of Which? magazine
A large number of users review Norton Internet Security 2012 at Amazon.com. Most seem happy with their purchase, and the software maintains a good overall score, although several users rate it 1 star for various issues with design changes and systems.
Review: Norton Internet Security 2012 3User [Download], Users at Amazon.com