XP or Vista; 256MB
RAM, 350MB available hard disk space, Microsoft Internet
Explorer 6 or later for phishing support, Firefox 1.0 or
later, Opera 8 or later; AOL® Instant
Messenger 4.7 or higher, Yahoo! ® Instant
Messenger 5.x or 6.x, MSN® Messenger
6.0 or higher
Internet Security 2007 now consists
primarily of a powerful antivirus scanner and a
very good firewall, coupled with protection from
phishing, pharming and rootkits. However, somebody
has to talk to the development mavens at Symantec.
As the biggest keep getting bigger, the degree
to which normal humans are able to grapple with
the massive feature and function sets offered by
products such as Norton Internet Security 2007,
seems to be diminishing with each successive revision.
At 350MB, Norton Internet Security 2007 is the
biggest pantload to date from Symantec. Even at
that enormous size, the AntiSpam component is no
longer included in the installed package — you've
got to pick it up separately from Symantec, along
with the Ad Blocker and the confidential information
protection component. Norton
Internet Security 2007 appears to be Symantec's attempt
to redefine this suite category by not including antispam
or backup functions.
first hint of trouble after installing Norton Internet
Security 2007 occurred during an automated run of WebRoot
SpySweeper, a third-party spyware scanner. The WebRoot
scan halted and would not restart. Norton actually
seemed to detect the WebRoot scan as malware
of some sort and apparently tried to kill the process.
We encountered six other conflicts with third-party
software over the two week real-world review period.
Color us unimpressed.
relaxed somewhat however, after running Internet Explorer
7 into some known phishing sites. The new antiphishing
toolbar in Norton Internet Security 2007 worked brilliantly
and managed to nail every one of the thirty or more
phishing attempts we encountered. Bravo. Virus detection
is equally robust. Unfortunately, we could not do the same
thing with Firefox because Norton Internet Security
2007 is not yet fully compatible with the popular browser.
relaxed even more while testing the antivirus component.
We simply downloaded unfiltered email from a dozen different
business accounts we maintain, and observed the detection
rate, clean up or deletion success rate. Color us thoroughly
relieved and impressed. Norton Internet Security 2007
still ranks at or near the top when it comes to detecting
and cleaning out viruses of all kinds. Apparently too,
it's ability to detect so-called zero day threats (viruses
deploying in the wild during the first couple of days
of their existence, and before the antivirus software
makers have come up with a cure) has also improved dramatically.
The only problem with zero day threat detection is that
you will still encounter a lot of false positives. Inexperienced
users will sometimes allow a false positive to be killed,
resulting in the eradication or disabling of a perfectly
good program or file. All antivirus software makers have
to do better in this area.
redesigned Norton Internet Security to protect your computer
against the assaults of all the aforementioned problems.
In fact, while the competition in this product category
is active, enthusiastic and growing rapidly, there are
few other programs quite as robust as this one. However
(and more important), we really missed the antispam component
and we think that any internet security suite which fails
to include protection from spam should really stop calling
itself an internet security suite. In terms of direct
competition for the feature and function crown, have
a look at Zone Alarm Internet Security v7 or McAfee Internet
Security 2007, both of which offer excellent and somewhat
more inclusive feature and function sets. The user interface
redesign is evident everywhere in Norton, so upgraders
will have to spend some time poking around to refamiliarize
themselves with the location of various controls, features
and functions. We like the redesign however, because
after a very short familiarization period it appears
to be laid out much better than previous versions.
true power in Norton Internet Security 2007 resides in
the antivirus component. You'll
get a look into that robustness immediately after installation.
An initial system scan of a Windows XP Professional
PC (almost identical to the PC we used in 2006 to test
the previous version of the software)
and a Windows Vista Home Premium PC, both showed minor
improvements in scanning speeds. Email scanning in all
cases was almost instantaneous. The depth and thoroughness
of the scan is excellent.
firewall component is quite good, but we noticed that,
just like the antivirus component, the software no longer
talks to you. You can turn on alerts for both components
of course, but the default silence is disconcerting for
advanced users. So Symantec appears to be respecting
the needs of inexperienced or simply non-technical PC
users by silencing the sometimes startling intrusion
attempt warnings. We think that this is a decent enough
concession to many end users, but something that provides
a false sense of security in many situations. Instead
of expending programming and development efforts on this
type of usability or interoperability decision, we could
wish that Symantec put more effort into reducing even
more the chance of false positives in all components.
We spent about two hours trying to fool the firewall
into allowing various prohibited items, but we were unsuccessful.
Internet Security 2007 installs itself very deeply into
Windows. In fact, thoroughly uninstalling the product
is more a matter of labor, stress and time than it
is representative of a product designed to respect the
customer who purchased it. That's a problem. The uninstallation
process is admittedly more thorough than previous versions.
Simply uninstalling via
Windows Add/Remove Programs control panel applet just
doesn't do the trick thoroughly however. Some
Registry entries are still left behind including one
for the automated Site Advisor component. Symantec provides
freely available uninstallation instructions on the product
tech support pages, but we still think that anything
other than a quick and thorough uninstall is an abuse
of personal time. As of this writing (February 2007)
the proprietary new AntiPhishing toolbar is not yet compatible
with Firefox — Internet Explorer 7 only for now. Despite
being positively huge, the program is now missing
several important components which have to be downloaded
separately. We really missed the antispam component and
we think that any internet security suite which fails
to include protection from spam should really stop calling
itself an internet security suite. With computer security
at the top of every tech pundit's list of hot topics,
Symantec has released a monstrously large product into
a market place looking for versatility, speed, agility
and compatibility. It's a jungle out there and Symantec
apparently thinks it's the lion, completely free to do
whatever it pleases.
detection leads the industry. The firewall provides equally
robust protection and it appears to be as malware resistant
as anything else on the market — really well done. The
AntiSpyware scans appear to be accurate and well controlled
with no false positives during the entire review period.
The user interface is easier to navigate than previous
versions. Symantec appears to have put some serious effort
into reducing system resource usage (RAM and CPU usage
primarily), making Norton Internet Security 2007 less
of a load on the system while at the same time being
a better antivirus, firewall and antispyware product.