Hunting down malware is a never ending process for anti-virus and security solution companies. Every year brings new updates with promises of improved performance and more features. Symantec has been in the security solution business for a long time and they’ve released their latest iteration of their all-in-one solution – Norton Internet Security 2012. 

User interface

Installation of the suite is simple and it requires the user to enter the license key, which is about the most complicated part of the installation. Symantec has worked on improving the interface on their products and since their major user interface overall a few years back, the interface on NIS 2012 has been tweaked a little more. The experience of using a security suite with a ton of features has gotten simpler over the years. The choice of colours, styling and icons through the interface makes it less intimidating than some of the products in the market today. For example, a bright green status indicator tells you that an update is complete or if the system is secure.

The Advanced view

The Advanced view

It also maintains its sophisticated look when you switch the Advanced view mode, of course. In this mode, there are all the familiar terms and features that you’re used to seeing. In the simple interface, there are no more controls other than the scanning and updating features. Settings and other performance related menus are still accessible though. There’s now a Windows 7 widget on the desktop, which lets you access some of the important features of the suite. The fact that help is provided when you hover the mouse pointer over a feature, also helps new users get accustomed to the features.


Once installed and registered, Norton Internet Security takes over the task of updating the engine and the malware definition updates. This process is seamless and takes under 10 minutes, depending on the speed of your internet connection. When we first installed the suite, it downloaded a 90MB update. 

Lots of customisation options

Lots of customisation options

Unlike Norton 360 which is an all-in-one solution that takes care of parental controls, backup and a host of other features, Norton Internet Security has always been a core malware removal and prevention tool. Presence of the features you would miss are present at the bottom of the user interface. 

The Scan feature allows you to do a standard scan, which is done in the traditional way. There’s also the newly added, Reputation Scan which scans files and programs and compares them with other users who have files with the same signature as others using the service. The last and the unexpected feature is a scan for your Facebook wall. The feature scans your profile and items on your Wall for any insecure content.

Features (Continued…)

The Settings menu unveils a flurry of customisation options that are available to users. There are a whole bunch of other features as well – credit card and web site password management. Most of the features can also be turned off if required. Support for Chrome and Firefox browsers are present, but there’s still no mention of Opera. For example, there are tweaks available for the performance monitoring feature in the suite. Users can choose to get alerts for CPU, memory and disk as well as use between tolerance presets for when a device is on battery power. There’re also options that enable quiet detection modes while using HTPC software so you aren’t interrupted all the time. You can also manually add programs. This is useful when you’re gaming.

Tons of features, but with explanations for each one

Tons of features, but with explanations for each one

Instant messenger scanning is also present. MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, Trillian are supported but other third party ones such as Miranda and Pidgin aren’t. There are some gaps such as support for some messenger and browser applications as far as security cover goes. 

The Performance settings window allows for a whole bunch of optimisations to the suite. It lets users monitor processor utilisation and memory consumption patterns by applications. The feature keeps a record of this data for software across days, weeks or even months. 

The installation disc that comes with the package doubles as a bootable disc. Booting into it takes a while, but at the end, there are two main features – Norton Power Eraser Recovery Scan, which downloads itself from the net but is used to fix most commonly found malware from the PC and the Norton Advanced Recovery Scan, which is more of a thorough scanner. 


Symantec’s products were known to be highly demanding on system resources a few years back, but that has changed drastically. For example, Norton Internet Security 2012 hardly uses 15MB of memory on idle. CPU utilisation at idle is 0 percent, which is also a good thing.

A very basic interface

A very basic interface

While scanning, this number goes up to an average of 12 percent. On a quad-core system, like the one we used, some cores were more burdened than the others. This means that, while scanning speed may not be optimum, it does let you work on other applications without bogging down the system to a crawl.


Norton Internet Security 2012 is available online for Rs. 1,220, which is a little more expensive than some other competing products in the market. Norton Internet Security 2012 is an update to the previous version. There’s not a lot more but if you’re a Symantec user, you should consider upgrading to 2012. However, if you’re looking for data backup you’ll probably find Norton 360 to be more enticing. 

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