Norton 360 Platinum is the latest iteration of the long-running antivirus and security suite primarily aimed at home users.
Like most long-term PC users, I think of Norton and I think of antivirus software. Gem (Formerly NortonLifeLock) has moved on since the 1990s when Norton was just synonymous with protecting against and removing viruses.
Norton 360 Platinum is a one-year subscription to a comprehensive suite of security applications and services to protect your data. Some are more useful than others. You get five licences with your subscription, so you can protect all your mobile phones, tablets, and PCs with one payment.
To start with you need to go to the MyNorton site and set up an account. Here you can buy the software, select the tier that you want or input the key purchased from a third-party vendor. You can then download the software onto your PC and away you go.
From the Norton 360 home screen you get several options, the most prominent being an invite to run the Smart Scan, which I suggest you do straight away. The Smart Scan told me that my PC was, thankfully, free of any viruses.
To the right of the home screen there are five icons each representing an application or service included in the Norton 360 Platinum. These are Device Security, Software Updater, Secure VPN, Cloud Backup, and Password Manager.
In my mind device Security is the most import all these. Clicking this opens up the more traditional Norton interface, offering even more utilities. Here you will find tabs for security, internet security, backup, performance, and a quick link back to the My Norton home screen. Amongst these many menus you can select different levels of virus scan, performance reports, authorised camera applications, the password manager, the password generator, browser extensions, cloud backups, and PC optimisation.
Most of the above are self-explanatory. For me, the important ones are the scan options, which can be selected from a quick scan or a comprehensive scan of your entire PC’s file system, and the various performance optimisations. The Norton software can take a look at your system and optimise the disks, clean up your files, and startup programs. The way you can check your start-up programs at a glance is pretty good, enabling you to identify and choose the programs that run in the background when you start your PC.
Internet security is an optional feature that allows the Norton software to look after your password and monitor your browser for malicious sites. It may not be for everyone, but most definitely worth setting up for novice users and kids’ PCs.
Your Norton 360 subscription comes with 150GB of cloud storage. You can choose exactly which folder and type types to back up. The home screen has a button to launch a backup of your selected files.
For more advanced users, the most important icon on the Device Security panel is the “settings” cog icon at the top. Here the functionality of the Norton software can be tweaked to your requirements. It is the most powerful feature in Norton 360, setting it apart from many of its competitors.
As part of the Norton 360 subscription, users get some important additional security and online identity features available on the MyNorton website. This is easily overlooked, as there seems to be no obvious link to get you from the Norton 360 application to the exclusive website features.
The Norton 360 Platinum subscription includes Identity Advisor an extensive online identity monitoring service accessed via the MyNorton website. The service monitors your identifying details for suspicious online activity. You can input up to five addresses, emails, and telephone numbers, as well as your mother’s maiden name, driver’s licence, and insurance details. You can even add up to five gamer tags., Norton 360’s Social Media Monitoring can be used to keep an eye on your social media account. The Dark Web Monitoring feature can be used to check up to ten bank accounts and ten credit cards to ensure they have not been leaked onto the Internet.
Also included and available as part of the Identity Advisor feature is Restoration Support. Should your identity be compromised a dedicated restoration specialist can help resolve disputes with merchants and other relevant parties, including credit card companies, financial institutions, government agencies, and other official parties. The subscription also includes 24/7 live support for any concerns or questions regarding Norton 360 security monitoring, or if your data has been compromised.
The parental control options on the MyNorton website come in useful for monitoring kids’ devices and Internet access. Web searches and websites visited are recorded. Screentime and options for age-appropriate content can also be set. This can be set up individually for each child.
Out of the box, Norton 360 provides a comprehensive set of features working silently in the background. For novice users, simply switching on all the subscription’s features not only offers peace of mind but also optimisations to keep their PC in good running order. Having been the family “IT guy”, I’d 100% recommend a Norton 360 subscription for elderly and novice relatives. Also, if you do have concerns about Internet and PC security, Norton 360 Platinum offers all the extra cover that you need for safe and secure PC use.
More experienced users may feel slightly more cavalier when it comes to PC and Internet Security. You may find that the software can be a bit intrusive, with annoying pop-ups and the way it integrates with your operating system. If this is the case, you’ll find options to minimise or curtail completely Norton’s pop-ups and warnings.
The beauty of Norton 360 is the way that you can scale the software to your required level of security. The suite’s modular design allows for customisation from simply switching off or not using certain features, like the password manager or VPN, to adjusting scan settings and exceptions.
I do have some issues with the otherwise polished and easy-to-use suite of security utilities. I don’t like how a smart scan of your PC highlights “performance issues” that can only be remedied by an additional payment for the Norton Utilities Ultimate upgrade. Feels like a protection racket and I expect better from such a reputable company. The suite’s commendable customisation options are let down by dated, unintuitive interfaces and menus. Many of the most important settings are hidden away in hard-to-find menus.
In the past, I’ve had concerns that Norton utilities have triggered PC performance issues, but I have not come across any problems this time. Whilst there’s a lot of the suite that I’d not bother with, the online identity monitoring, quick virus scanning, and deep scans make the product worthwhile even if you are sceptical of third-party PC security software.
Norton 360 Platinum offers users a comprehensive suite of security features. Novice users will find reassurance that the software is looking out for them by continuously protecting and monitoring their devices. More experienced users will find the software’s customisation options useful to balance Norton 360’s protection whilst not being quite so obtrusive. Gem Digital, in its many forms, has been protecting PC users for a long time, and the company’s Norton 360 suite would be my first choice for digital device and online security.