Norton Confidential 1.1 Review

One of today’s biggest threats is phishing, or attempts to get people to enter their credit card numbers or passwords on bogus websites that look exactly like those of major online vendors, banks, and auction sites. Norton Confidential 1.1 addresses this threat by examining sites while you’re browsing to see if they’re legitimate.

In default mode, a toolbar displays at the top of your Safari or Firefox window and warns you when potential fraud is detected by displaying a large graphic in place of the dangerous web page. For some questionable sites, it displays a Possible fraud detected alert. However, when the program is not sure, it merely reports No fraud detected. Users might become complacent when seeing this and assume that such sites are safe.

Norton Confidential offers several other features. One blocks security holes in certain internet programs like browsers and media players. However, of the more than 800 vulnerabilities the program lists, only a dozen or so are relevant for Mac users, and most, if not all, have been corrected in recent versions of the software they affect. Information Guard prevents your computer from allowing protected data to exit. By default the program only protects sending by web and email; you must manually set additional blocking options (for chat and file transfer) or choose total protection for internet services.

File Guard protects files in much the same way that Information Guard protects data. But, in addition to preventing protected files from leaving your computer, by default it also prevents you from moving files in the Finder. This feature is unreliable: it asks for authorisation when you try to move files, but you still can’t always move them. You can enable the Allow Mac OS X access option, but this doesn’t resolve the problem. Symantec recommends manually turning off the feature when you want to move a file, but this seems onerous. You also need to enter a password whenever you want to save a protected file. We found this feature annoying. Symantec is investigating ways to make the Finder operation go more smoothly for future versions.

OUR VERDICT

While Norton Confidential doesn’t slow down web surfing or other activities, it seems superfluous – its features probably belong in a more comprehensive firewall program. While its phishing protection is good, education works even better: just don’t click on those links asking you to enter your credit card number or password.

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