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We live in a world dominated by the internet. Everywhere you go, you have an internet connection available. Be it an airport, a hotel, or cafes, we can easily go online with a good connection. But the problem with such networks, is often, they are not very secure. These aren’t private networks, and hence are used by multiple users. Not everyone is going to mind their own business, what if one of the se persons is a hacker? If you connect your computer to such a network, your data could be stolen, or worse, your identity or financial credentials?

And what if a computer which is infected with a virus connects to a public network, and your PC is also connected to the same? This is how attackers distribute viruses, and create botnets. This is something that happens in the real world, and you should protect your computer from such instances. The obvious thing to do, is to install security software to prevent attacks, both viruses (malware and ransomware) and network attacks. So, the traditional anti-virus software is only partially useful here.

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We recommend a more complete solution, called Norton Security Standard. I don’t think we need to explain who makes Norton, but if you don’t know it, its from Symantec, which has been a top rated security software company from the 90’s. The above screenshot highlights the interface of Norton Security Standard. Its light theme, large icons and clearly text labels, make it a joy to use and a very user friendly software.

The main screen displays the current status of the application, i.e, when it installed the updates, when its most recent scan was run, etc. There are four icons on the main screen, and these are Security, Identity, Performance, and More Norton.

The first option, Security, is what the program’s main functions are designed for, aka protecting your system from viruses, spyware, rootkits, etc,. There are three types of scans which you can run in Norton Security, a Quick Scan for checking the critical areas of the operating system, a full system scan for analyzing all of your files (your entire hard drive), and a custom scan option, which lets you choose which files and folders that Norton Security should scan.

The Full Scan is very powerful, and will take a longer time to complete than the Quick Scan, but we recommend running it once a month or so. All scan results are available to be exported in the form of a text file, should you wish to audit the results.

There is a fourth type of scan in Norton Security, which is technically similar to the custom scan. This is the scheduled scan, which you can select to run at a time of your choosing. You can also schedule custom tasks for LiveUpdate, or even the performance improvement tools which are available in the software.

Apart from the above mentioned Scans, there are a few extra tools listed under security. The first of these is the Norton Power Eraser, which can find difficult to remove infections aka stubborn malware, and remove them. The second tool is Norton Insight, which analyses the reputation of files you have downloaded, and shows you if they are safe. The last tool here, is the Diagnostic Report which shows important information about your PC.

You can update Norton Security, to the latest virus definitions manually, using the LiveUpdate option, or let the software do it automatically at regular intervals. Norton specializes in detecting and removing detected infections silently, but you can access the Quarantine from the Security History, under the Security tab. It also lists all the firewall rules, when apps or services used excessive amounts of memory, any intrusions (unauthorized access) etc, so it kind of acts like a security journal.

Norton Security comes with a two-way silent firewall, which not only protects from incoming attacks, but also against outgoing attacks (man-in-the middle attacks), rootkits, etc which may try to access a remote computer and takeover the system.

The second section from the main menu, is for the Identity Safe. It is the password manager and a note storing vault which also lets you save addresses and login information securely. The section also features a Safe Surfing option, which prevents online malware and phishing attacks which could impact your web browser. If you like to view stats of how many items are stored in the vault, Norton uses a pie chart, to give you that info. It even includes the number of strong passwords you have, and how many automatic logins are saved in the vault. Don’t worry about weak passwords, because Identity Safe has a Password Generator, for creating very strong and secure passwords.

Norton Security is more than just an antivirus. It can boost your computer’s performance with some useful tools. For example, it has a defragmenter tool for optimizing the hard drive, so the data is stored in clusters close to each other, hence it reads and writes files more quickly.

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There is also a cleaner tool, which can delete junk files stored in your browser, Windows’ temp folder, etc. If your PC is booting slowly, you can select which apps should run at startup with Norton’s tool. This allows you to analyze the application ratings given by other users from the Norton Community. The Performance tab lets you view graphs which show how the computer’s performance was over a time selection (week or month).

The More Norton section is where you can manage your Norton account, and the Identity Safe. For altering the program’s settings, you need to click on the icon in the right corner, which will let you configure how the antivirus, firewall, antispam, and other settings work. Symantec offers a 100% guarantee, to keep your computer free from viruses, else you can get a refund (conditions apply). No other antivirus offers such a guarantee.

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