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reading-guy02[Quick Summary: realizing this is a long article, for those not interested in the details, I’m moving away from Norton 360 and over to Kaspersky Internet Security as soon as my subscription to Norton has ended. You can CLICK HERE to visit my Amazon Store and see the latest Kaspersky pricing. HOWEVER, I do have some good Internet safety info in the article… so perhaps you should continue reading!!!]

 

Norton360-cross-outThis past September, Symantec (the makers of Norton products) quietly released two new Internet security programs (Norton Security and Norton Security with Backup) and at that same time, “ended the life” of it’s two mainstream security products, Norton 360 and Norton Internet Security.

What’s really strange about all this is how “quietly” it happened.  No big announcements, not even a news story… nothing.

Then, in early October, Symantec announced that it was breaking up the company into two separate companies, one focused on security and the other on information management. (CLICK HERE to read their news release on the breakup).

And to make matters even MORE mysterious, especially for “consumers” who use their Norton products, if you visit the Symantec web site, it’s actually difficult to find information about the Norton products! It actually took me a couple minutes of clicking on links to finally find the Norton page showing their two new Norton Security and Norton Security with Backup programs.

And then I finally found that they had created a new web site just for the Norton products (www.norton.com)… further separating the Norton brand from the name Symantec.

Wow… this is really interesting!!!

So what’s going on?

My Own History with Norton Products

I’ve personally used Norton Anti-Virus products off and on since the late 1980’s (yes, that’s 80’s), even before Symantec took Norton over from the guy who started it all, Peter Norton (who I actually got to meet at a California programming conference).

I say “off and on” because about 15 years ago, in the late 1990’s after seeing it slow my computers down, I dropped Norton Anti-Virus and switched to other protection solutions for a few years, while Symantec re-tooled Norton and then re-released it as a brand new, top-rated security solution in the early 2000’s.

I picked it back up in about 2004, and have been using it ever since.

As I write this in early November, 2014, all the computers in my household use Norton 360.

But with all that I see going on with Symantec as a company, and with the dropping of Norton 360 and the change to the new Norton Security products, I’ve decided that it’s again time for a personal change.

Now, if you are a Norton 360 user, before you panic, please read on…

Norton 360 will keep working

Software Update FrustrationFirst of all, if you are a user of Norton 360 or another Symantec product, you are still protected and there’s no need to panic.

“End of Life” for Norton 360 means that Symantec will no longer be selling the product, or updating the core program components. But what they WILL still continue doing is releasing new “virus definition updates” for Norton 360… at least as long as you pay for the yearly subscription.

So your Norton 360 program is NOT going to stop working.

However, when your virus definition subscription runs out, you’ll still have to renew it with Symantec if you want to continue using Norton 360.

And should you do that?  Hmm…  read on….

Should I Continue Using Norton 360?

As I just said, Norton 360 will keep working as long as the definitions are updated, and Symantec will continue to provide yearly virus definition subscriptions for at least another year.

Dollar-Sign-Guy02But what should you do come renewal time?  Should you pay the renewal fee and keep using Norton 360?

Honestly, I don’t think you should, and I know that I’m personally not going to.

First, renewing subscriptions directly with Symantec (versus just purchasing a new version at the local store when it goes on sale) is pricey.

A few minutes ago, I checked the subscription renewal prices and here’s what I found…

  • Norton 360 Premier Edition – 2 year renewal for up to 3 PC’s – $154.99
  • Norton 360 Premier Edition – 1 year renewal for up to 3 PC’s – $79.99

Considering that I can purchase an entirely new Internet security product from someone else for as little as $29.00, that’s a lot of money for one year of just getting definition updates!

Second, no longer getting updated “core components” bothers me, especially since protection technology is always improving as new security threats appear.

So again, in my humble opinion… it might be time for you to move on to something else when your subscription is up.

That’s what I’m going to do.

Should I get the new Norton product?

Gold Guy With QuestionI would imagine that the new “Norton Security” product has been built upon the technology of Norton 360’s security component, which means it’s probably a pretty good program.

But I’m just not yet sure.  Mainly because my favorite tech sites like PC Magazine, PC World, and CNet have yet to review the new products.

And it also really bothers me that Symantec seems to really be de-emphasizing it’s commercial products, and changing it’s focus from consumer products to the business and enterprise world.

[NOTE: One example of how Symantec seems to be moving away from directly working with consumers like you and I is the case where local vendors (who will go nameless) are “partnering” with Symantec to offer security solutions using Symantec Endpoint Protection (CLICK HERE to read about the product on Symantec.com).]

Yes, I’ve reviewed all the documentation about the products on the Norton site (you can CLICK HERE to read about Norton Security yourself), but it just doesn’t tell me enough.

So again, in my honest opinion, I would NOT get the new Norton Security product when my Norton 360 subscription ends.

 

Then What Should I Do? (Part One: Review of Staying Safe)

Internet ThreatsLet me digress for a moment, and remind you of the important points about staying safe online

  • Make sure you have a good Anti-Virus / Anti-Malware program on your computer and that you keep the definitions up-to-date
  • Make sure you have your Windows Firewall turned on
  • Do NOT click on links in “phishingemails (those that look like they are from a financial institution)
  • Do NOT click on Internet pop-up windows that say “Your PC needs to be scanned” or “Let us fix your PC”.
  • Do NOT answer phone calls from companies claiming your computer needs fixing.
  • Make sure you do regular backups of your important files and folders (the things you create)
  • Always create “secure” passwords for your important online accounts
  • Don’t send “private” information through email or post it on Facebook

Ok, those are the biggies I always relate to my students.

 

Then What Should I Do? (Part Two: My “due diligence” and conclusion)

Now, back to an alternative to Norton 360.

cyberscooty-computer-solutionsTo be honest with you, one problem I’ve always had with Norton 360 is that it almost tried to do TOO MUCH!  Not only did it cover the first two points I made in the previous section about staying safe (Anti-Virus / Anti-Malware / Firewall), but it also performed lots of computer maintenance stuff that really had nothing to do with Internet security.

The maintenance was nice, but honestly, I have other programs that do that same thing, and do them better (I use a program called Glary Utilities for all my computer upkeep).

So, in looking for a new product, I personally decided to focus JUST on an Internet Security product, and not the “kitchen sink”.

I started with a scan of my favorite tech sites, and the yearly reviews they do on Internet security products.

For example, one I visited was PC Magazine (PC Magazine – The Best Antivirus for 2014CLICK HERE to read it), but I also made the rounds to PC World, CNet, and other sites I trust for good technology news.

And then after looking through the current reviews, took a handful of the programs that rated toward the top of lists, and individually check out their sites and “Googledthem to see what others were saying.

And one particular program caught my eye.

But let me digress one more time….

Back in the early 2000’s, I worked as a freelance writer for PC Today, SmartComputing, and Maximum PC magazines (all of which are published by Sandhills Publishing in Lincoln, NE). Over a four year span I wrote about 30 articles on all kinds of technology topics, including a couple on Anti-Virus and Internet Security programs.

Kaspersky Internet Security 2015 (3 PCs)For those articles, I contacted all the major security software vendors of that time and got free samples of their programs.  The companies included Symantec, McAfee, EST (then called NOD), Panda, and others.  And although I didn’t give it my top review, one company’s program made a big impression on me…. Kaspersky Anti-Virus.

I didn’t give Kaspersky my top review that year because frankly, way back then the company was just becoming known in the Anti-Virus world, and their interface was really cumbersome to use.  But, when all was said and done, I took a fancy to the program, and even installed it for a year on one of my computers.

But now back to modern times….

As I looked through the reviews for this year, I saw again that Kasperskys programs had high ratings, and in looking through their site and materials, was impressed by what they offered (CLICK HERE to visit Kaspersky.com), and how much nicer and easier to use their program interface was.

So I’ve made my decision.

As soon as my Norton 360 subscription is up (late in November), I’m heading off to purchase Kaspersky Internet Security.

AND… this is now the Anti-Virus/Anti-Malware product that I’ve begun to recommended to my students, and have added it to my RECOMMENDED PAGE of the DiscoverSkills site.

 

Some Final Thoughts and Suggestions

smile-mm-guy01Before I close, I wanted to point out and suggest a couple more things for those who might be looking for a new Internet Security solution.

  • I’m going with Kaspersky “Internet Security” versus just the “AntiVirus” or the more extensive “Pure 3.0 Total Security” products that they offer. (CLICK HERE to see a comparison chart).A lot of companies offer different levels of products with different sets of “features”. The only ones I’m really interested in are (1) Anti-Virus (2) Anti-Malware (3) Firewall (4) Web site monitoring.  What I’m NOT interested in is a “backup solution”, which many offer, or a password manager.  Both of those features I can get from other programs that do a better job.

 

  • As I shop for a program, I start at the company site and check the regular retail price. For example, as I write this, Kaspersky has Internet Security on sale for $39.95 (3 PCs for 1 year, regular price $79.95). But then I head over to Amazon and check prices. In the case of Kaspersky, right now I can get it for $29.99 (3 PCs for 1 year).CLICK HERE to visit my DiscoverSkills Amazon store to see the latest Kaspersky prices.

 

  • Instead of renewing my Internet Security program subscription every year (which is WAY too expensive for my tastes), my favorite thing to do is shop for a brand new, full copy of the program. And the best time to do that is on Black Friday (the Friday after Thanksgiving).  For the past 4 years, I’ve gotten Norton 360 (full version for 3 PCs) for just $19.95 that day.  Then, I just leave it on the shelf until my regular subscription runs out, uninstall the old one, and install the new copy.

 

And don’t forget… if you’d rather not pay at all, there are free Anti-Virus programs you can download. One I often suggest to my students is AVG Free Anti-Virus (CLICK HERE to visit their site, free.avg.com).  It only gives you Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware protection, but along with your Windows Firewall, should provide enough security for most basic Internet users.

Whew…. well I really rambled on a lot here.  Hopefully, I’ve answered some of your questions about Norton 360, and maybe a few others about Internet Security in general.

 

As always, I would love to hear your comments about the subject. You can leave them below!!!

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