Experts say Norton Internet Security 2012 fixes most of the problems found in earlier versions, and it is the best all-around Internet security suite money can buy. The core components of the suite -- antivirus, firewall, anti-spyware, anti-spam and anti-phishing -- are all very effective (and sometimes perfect) in testing, there are a bevy of extra features such as parental controls and password management and the interface earns high marks for being uncluttered and easy to use. Norton's impact on system performance is lower than ever, as well. Norton's one major downfall is its SONAR behavioral protection system; while SONAR helps Norton block new malware very effectively, it is often overly enthusiastic and frequently flags obscure, yet safe files as being malicious. If you need to protect only a single PC or want to spend less money, consider Bitdefender Internet Security 2012 (*Est. $40), instead.
The best independent reviews of Norton Internet Security 2012 come from organizations like AV-Test.org and AV-Comparatives.org. Although these testing labs focus on the software's antivirus performance, AV-Comparatives.org also touches on usability issues that include the interface and installation ease. We also found helpful test-based reviews at PCMag.com, NotebookReview.com, Maximum PC, Britain's Which? magazine and Expert Reviews. Other technology reviewers usually rely on performance testing by the third-party labs, but the reports at Download.com, Computeractive magazine, ITReviews.com and PC Advisor are useful for their details on ease of use.
Norton Internet Security 2012 blocks more than 95 percent of the malware thrown at it by AV-Comparatives.org, an independent testing lab. However, a high number of false positives -- 57, the second-highest number among all programs tested -- costs the software an Advanced+ certification.
Review: Anti-Virus Comparative, Editors of AV-Comparatives.org, Aug. 2011
Norton Internet Security easily earns a certification from AV-Test.org, another independent testing lab. Although the software's malware removal rates are average at about 95 percent, it blocks every attempt at intrusion from new and widely known threats.
Review: Detailed Test Reports, Editors of AV-Test.org
PCMag.com reviewer Neil J. Rubenking sings Norton Internet Security 2012's praises en route to giving it an Editors' Choice award in this lengthy, detailed review. The only flaw he finds is the SONAR component's tendency to toss out false positives.
Review: Norton Internet Security 2012, Neil J. Rubenking, Sept. 7, 2011
NotebookReview.com conducts its own tests of Norton Internet Security 2012's antivirus, firewall, anti-spyware, performance impact and more. In addition to discussing results, the publication also provides individual numerical ratings for a number of different categories. The overall suite earns a 4.5 out of 5 star rating.
Review: Norton Internet Security (NIS) 2012 Review: Protecting Your Whole Family, Charles P. Jeffries, Dec. 7, 2011
CNET's Download.com awards Norton Internet Security 2012 a perfect 5 star rating. Reviewer Seth Rosenblatt finds little to complain about. "The tight integration of behavioral threat detection, in conjunction with serious attention to download stability, makes Norton a compelling choice," he writes.
Review: Norton Internet Security 2012, Seth Rosenblatt, Sept. 6, 2010
6. Expert Reviews
Kat Orphanides gives Norton Internet Security 2012 a 4 out of 5 star rating. The program allowed 4 percent of viruses through in the publication's testing; not much, until that's combined with Norton's higher sticker price. That combination prompts Orphanides to recommend Bitdefender Internet Security 2012 instead.
Review: Symantec Norton Internet Security 2012 Review, Kat Orphanides, Dec. 3, 2011
7. Which? magazine
Norton Internet Security 2012 is one of more than 20 security programs reviewed by Britain's Which? magazine. Discussion and extensive numerical ratings are provided, and the publication's favorite software earns a Best Buy award.
Review: Norton Internet Security 2012, Editors of Which? magazine
8. PC Advisor
Simon Williams' discussion of Norton Internet Security 2012 is brief but full of the insights he received during hands-on use and testing. He gives the software a 4 out of 5 star rating, but like PCMag.com's Neil J Rubenking, he runs into problems with the SONAR behavioral protection flagging false positives.
Review: Symantec Norton Internet Security 2012 Review, Simon Williams, Dec. 6, 2011
9. Computeractive (U.K.)
Computeractive magazine gives Norton Internet Security 2012 its Buy It! award and a perfect rating. Cliff Joseph says the software is full of minor tweaks, rather than major changes, compared to the previous iteration.
Review: Norton Internet Security 2012 anti-virus and protection software, Cliff Joseph, March 3, 2011
Paul Lester conducts hands-on usability and performance testing on Norton Internet Security 2012, coming away impressed. He gives the software a 4 out of 5 rating. "It's still one of the most effective security suites on the market today," Lester writes.
Review: Symantec Norton Internet Security 2012 Review, Paul Lester, Sept. 27, 2011