Following numerous compatibility issues with version 2.0 and Jaguar, Symantec has updated Norton Internet Security to version 3.0. Like its predecessor, Internet Security 3.0 is a bundle of Norton Antivirus, Personal Firewall, Privacy Control, and iClean by Aladdin Systems. In addition to upgrades of Antivirus and Personal Firewall to versions 9.0 and 3.0 respectively, Internet Security 3.0 now integrates parental controls into the privacy tool and also has support for Windows viruses for improved cross-platform protection.
Getting Internet Security up and running is easy enough via the familiar OS X installation routine; however, the hefty 131MB of required disk space must come from your system partition. After the required reboot, Firewall will automatically detect any services - such as FTP (port 21), Sendmail (port 85), MySQL (port 3306) - that require an open port. If this is the case a window will appear asking if you would like to change, don't change, or open Personal Firewall. If you leave the settings unaltered this nag screen will reappear unless told to stop.
Furthermore, Antivirus is also activated upon start-up and will scan any disks in your CD drive for viruses. Amusingly, Antivirus proceeds to check the installation CD if left in the drive.
By default, an Internet Security menu is placed on the menu bar allowing quick access to AutoProtect and Personal Firewall, also options for AutoProtect and QuickMenu appear in System Preferences under “Other”.
The real plus about using a GUI tool such as Personal Firewall to secure your system lies making complex tasks user friendly. Personal Firewall has 70 predefined services (and their default port numbers) that can be manipulated in one interface. The most common services are listed by default, but adding a new one is as simple as clicking New= and selecting it from a list. Hence, to change the firewall settings to allow printer sharing with CUPS (port 631), simply click on that service and select Allow from the Settings menu. Rules can be set to allow or deny access for incoming and outgoing traffic for all or specific sets of IP addresses. Personal Firewall is much easier than OS X's native firewall application, ipfw (IP firewall), which takes time to master.
Once you're familiar with the basic firewall rules, the summary and access history details provide good summaries of your Mac's defences. A point to note about the security check utility within the self-test option is that it's Web-based and thus spawns the default browser.
Although nowhere near as virus prone, OS X now has an antivirus application that protects itself from native viruses as well as those from its Windows counterpart. A quick scroll through the default list of 27,409 viruses is testament to fact that most are written for the PC.
Upon starting Antivirus, you will be prompted to perform a LiveUpdate, which at the time of writing is simply an update of the virus-definition list. For those who want to automatically update their virus definitions, Scheduler can be set to do this at regular intervals as well as update the suite's software.
If security concerns are more focussed on content than intrusion or viruses, Privacy Control combines Ad blocking, data protection, and parental controls in the one application. With Ad blocking enabled, those large banner ads will not appear on Web sites saving you both screen space and bandwidth. Ad blocking works well with Safari and Internet Explorer, but doesn't work with Mozilla.
Other privacy-control features include confidential data blocking and parental control of undesirable Web content by virtue of theme (alcohol, crime, etc) or specific Web sites. Both of these require administrator privileges to alter.
Macworld's buying advice
Norton Internet Security 3.0 makes securing your Mac simple and intuitive, and although not cheap at £79 it is better value than purchasing Personal Firewall and Antivirus (£50 each) separately. For Mac users looking for an integrated security and privacy suite that is much more comprehensive than OS X's default offerings, Norton Internet Security remains the best option. But since Apple has a habit of upstaging third-party utilities for free, don't be surprised if similar functionality pops up in Panther.