March 2012: A new version of this software is available. Please see our review of Norton Internet Security 2012.
When all factors are considered, more experts point to Symantec's Norton Internet Security 2011 as the best all-in-one Internet security solution for most users. The latest versions have overcome complaints that it's a system hog, and most say that Norton runs so lightly that most won't even notice it doing its job. When it comes to thwarting viruses, spyware and other malware, most testers say that Norton gets the overall job done as well or better than any of its competitors.
When it comes to firewalls, however, results are mixed. Matousec.com, the most highly respected tester of firewall performance, gives Norton Internet Security 2011 a low grade and a not recommended rating. On the other hand, PCMag.com conducts its own testing and reports that the firewall comes through with flying colors. If those conflicting opinions are a source of concern, and you place a high priority on a bulletproof Internet firewall as part of an all-in-one security solution, Kaspersky Internet Security 2011 (Discontinued) is worth a look. Its firewall ranks among the best, experts say, and other parts of its suite are competitive with Norton, though perhaps a small step behind in some aspects.
When it comes to firewall performance, the most helpful -- if contradictory -- resources are Matousec.com and PCMag.com. Though firewall performance is not directly addressed, TheTechHerald.com pits Norton Internet Security 2011 against Comodo Internet Security, a free security suite that includes a firewall that is regarded as one of the best available.
Matousec.com ranks Norton Internet Security midrange in comparison to similar software. Its "very poor" label following a rigorous 148 tests for virus and malware reflects the 40 percent success rate it achieves.
Review: Proactive Security Challenge, Editors of Matousec.com
PCMag.com conducts its own testing of the firewall in Norton Internet Security 2011, and unlike some reviewers, comes away impressed by its performance and how little it bothers the user. Inbound and outbound protections are robust, and Norton successfully fended off attempts to disable it. Other parts of the suite also test well, leading PCMag.com to give the program its Editors' Choice award.
Review: Norton Internet Security 2011, Neil J. Rubenking, Sept 10, 2010
Norton Internet Security is matched up against Comodo Internet Security free version and scores very well on a long list of technical, induced and real-world tests by Steve Ragan. Norton prevails, but Ragan notes that the competition was close.
Review: Review: Comodo Internet Security vs. Norton Internet Security 2011, Steve Ragan, Sept. 27, 2010
4. PC & Tech Authority (Australia)
Norton Internet Security 2011 is the recommended security solution at this Australian web site. The firewall is called effective at protecting your PC.
Review: Norton Internet Security 2011, Norton Internet Security 2011, Sept. 20, 2010