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Norton 360 for Windows review: excellent antivirus packed with extras

Norton antivirus scan is in progress on the screen of a Windows PC.
Norton 360 Deluxe
MSRP $119.99
“Norton security software provides excellent malware protection at a low starting cost with several great extras.”
  • Excellent malware protection track record
  • Bargain prices for the first year
  • Affordable multidevice plans
  • Lots of features
  • Privacy policy allows third-party marketing
  • Late 2022 customer data breach

Norton is the biggest name in antivirus and security software. Parent company Gen Digital owns several cybersecurity companies, including Norton LifeLock, Avast, AVG, and Avira, protecting computers and mobile devices worldwide.

Norton’s broad resources help it maintain a great reputation as one of the best antivirus solutions available. The question remains whether Norton software provides the ease-of-use, special features, and customer support you need at a competitive cost.

Tiers and pricing

Norton has antivirus and cybersecurity plans for any budget.
Norton has antivirus and cybersecurity plans for any budget. Norton

Norton offers a free malware recovery tool called Power Eraser that can clean up an infected computer. While it’s great to get rid of a computer virus, it’s even better to prevent it. For that you need a subscription. Power Eraser takes a different approach than other top-rated free antivirus software, doing a quick reputation search for installed apps and quickly flagging anything suspicious. While that works, it can sometimes be too aggressive and remove apps that aren’t actually malware.

Instead, you might want to start with a free seven-day trial of Norton Antivirus Plus, Norton 360 Deluxe, and Norton 360 with LifeLock Select. Norton also offers 50% off the first year, so keep in mind the annual renewal price could more than double.

Antivirus Plus is the cheapest plan, covering one Windows PC, Mac, or phone for $30. Even the most basic Norton antivirus service includes extras like a password manager, ransomware protection, and 2GB of cloud storage for backing up files.

Norton 360 Standard starts at $40, protecting up to three devices. It also adds a VPN and dark web monitoring.

I chose Norton 360 Deluxe, since it supports up to five devices, and I wanted to test it on my PC, Mac, iPhone, and Android phone. This $50 plan increases cloud backup to a more usable 50GB and adds privacy and parental monitor options.

There are three higher-price tiers, each with Norton’s LifeLock identity theft protection, credit monitoring, and more. The subscription fees range from $100 to $300 annually and come with 250GB to 500GB of cloud backup space.

There’s even a version called Norton 360 for Gamers starting at $45 that made our list of the best antivirus software for gaming PCs.

Norton’s has a complete list of its cybersecurity software renewal prices for every plan and option.


My PC was protected as soon as Norton's installer finished.
My PC was protected as soon as Norton’s installer finished. Digital Trends

Getting started is easy. I downloaded and ran a small installer from Norton’s website, which in turn downloaded more components and data before guiding me through the setup process.

I skipped dark web protection, cloud backup, and some other steps at the beginning, but switched on the VPN and began adding the recommended browser extensions.

I installed Norton’s Safe Web extension that rates websites on trustworthiness, alerts me to ecommerce hacking, suspicious social media links, and phishing attempts. That covers many of the threats that come with browsing the web.

Norton offers several browser extensions and Safe Web is the best.
Norton offers several browser extensions, and Safe Web is the best. Digital Trends

I was prompted to install the remaining extensions. I didn’t want the Home and Coupons extensions, which are more promotional than protective. I scrolled down to find the individual links and added Norton Safe Search.

With my browser secure, I went back to the Norton app to see what else I wanted to set up. A handy feature tour popped up to show me around.

I enabled the VPN included with Norton 360 Deluxe and found a Split Tunnel option. I could let some apps bypass the VPN, which would be a great feature if it were more user friendly. I enabled the VPN split, but I couldn’t find Netflix or Microsoft Teams in the file selector.

Norton's Split Tunnel VPN didn't see all my apps.
Norton’s Split Tunnel VPN didn’t see all my apps. Digital Trends

Cloud Backup setup offers a quick default that securely copies your photos, music, financial files, documents, contacts, and other files to Norton’s server. The Norton 360 Deluxe plan can store up to 150GB, so I switched off media files.

The Norton Password Manager requires a master password that’s used to unlock your passwords across devices. I downloaded a recovery key to print and store, then deleted the file from my computer for security. I imported my Edge passwords, so I’d have all my logins. Norton Password Manager can store logins, credit card data, addresses, and notes.

I can add notes, addresses, and credit cards to Norton's Password Manager.
I can add notes, addresses, and credit cards to Norton’s Password Manager. Digital Trends

Dark web monitoring can be set up to check for leaked records with your email, address, mother’s maiden name, driver’s license, financial information, and more.

Parental controls can set screen time limits, block certain apps and websites, and monitor the location of children if they carry a phone with the Norton Family app.

Setup was mostly easy, but it took quite some time since there were so many features. You don’t have to set up everything, of course, but it’s important to review all the options to get the most value from a Norton 360 Deluxe subscription.


Norton maintained an excellent malware protection score from AV-test.
Norton maintained an excellent malware protection score from AV-Test. AV-Test

Norton has a great track record for malware protection, achieving a perfect 6 out of 6 from security researcher AV-Test for nine straight years.

With a great security rating protecting me, I moved on to some spot testing. Norton 360 Deluxe detected the harmless malware test on before I even visited the “dangerous” part of the website. I accepted the risk and continued. The Norton Safe Web extension showed a red X with a more-detailed warning message when I selected it to learn more.

Norton Safe Search might be useful, but there are too many ads.
Norton Safe Search might be useful, but there are too many ads. Digital Trends

I did a search to see what Norton Safe Search was like and was immediately disappointed. The top six search results for “Microsoft Teams” were ads. I had to page down twice to see the actual web results. I quickly removed the Safe Search extension and kept Safe Web.

I set the VPN to the U.K. to test how convincing it was. While the BBC blocked me from watching Doctor Who, I did see search results for England and prices in British pounds.


Norton's live chat had a reasonable response time and was helpful.
Norton’s live chat had a reasonable response time and was helpful. Digital Trends

From the Norton app, I selected the question mark icon and searched for information about the free trials. Results appear within the app. For more help, I chose the Contact Us link to open Norton Support in a browser.

The support page offered several categories to guide me to useful information. I didn’t see any articles that answered my question, so I used the link at the bottom to get more help.

The contact page has several options for assistance. I could ask the community, message Norton on Facebook and Twitter, chat with support, or call support. I chose the chat option.

Chat starts with a virtual assistant. I typed my question and answered a couple of multiple-choice questions before I was put in a queue for a live agent.

The chat assistant said my wait time would be less than five minutes. In my test, the wait time was actually 15 minutes. Wait time always varies, so delays aren’t surprising, but it’s worth noting that it might take longer than expected to get through to support.

I found the live agent to be friendly and knowledgeable. I was able to get questions about subscription renewals answered.

Privacy and security

Norton's Privacy Policy allows targeted ads.
Norton’s Privacy Policy allows targeted ads. Digital Trends

Norton’s global privacy statement confirms the company collects your account, payment, identity, and contact information, along with network traffic to provide security. That’s a necessity for the app to do its job.

Like most other antivirus and security software solutions, Norton will comply with legal requests for your data. That means your personal data can be accessed by law enforcement and government agencies in certain circumstances.

Norton also uses your personal data for internal and third-party marketing purposes. Norton’s parent company Gen Digital, its resellers, and advertising partners can also access portions of your information to show targeted ads.

Norton ads about upgrades to security and services sounds reasonable, but I didn’t like the sound of sharing data to third-party advertisers. Norton provides links to two organizations, the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI) and the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA), that allow you to opt out of targeted marketing.

There are worse things than interest-based advertising. Norton had a data breach in December 2022 that exposed some customer names, phone numbers, and addresses.

Bleeping Computer quoted Norton LifeLock’s statement: “In accessing your account with your username and password, the unauthorized third party may have viewed your first name, last name, phone number, and mailing address.”

Norton’s subscriber base is about 500 million users and the attack affected 925,000 accounts, less than two-tenths of a percent.

Excellent security at a bargain price

Norton’s antivirus and security plans boast among the best protection available. They’re also packed with features that competitors charge extra for. That makes the first year of Norton one of the best deals on antivirus software.

However, the renewal rates for some plans are double the price of the first year. Bitdefender also offers big discounts to entice you to subscribe. While Norton 360 Deluxe costs $50 with a $120 renewal, Bitdefender Premium Security offers top-rated security at $80 with a $160 renewal.

Unlike Norton and Bitdefender, Malwarebytes doesn’t lure you in with a lower price only to increase rates after the first year. Malwarebytes Premium Plus is a great upgrade over Microsoft Defender for $80 annually and offers a small discount if you order two years up front. Its protection rating is slightly lower, however.

Every antivirus software comes with pros and cons, so picking the right plan requires some comparative research. Think about what you need, and check pricing for antivirus solutions that fit the bill. Also, watch out for increased costs when your subscription nears the renewal date.

Editors' Recommendations

Alan Truly
Alan is a Computing Writer living in Nova Scotia, Canada. A tech-enthusiast since his youth, Alan stays current on what is…
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