Norton Internet Security 2010 review

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 17, 2009
Updated • Mar 9, 2017

Norton Internet Security 2010 is a security software for the Windows operating system. One could say it is an advanced version of Norton Antivirus 2010 as it contains all the antivirus protection capabilities of that software plus additional means of protection that include a two-way firewall as well as network, email and identity protection.

The only element that it does not offer is a backup module which Norton reserves for its flagship product Norton 360.

Symantec's Norton suite has seen dramatic improvements in the last two years. The two most notable changes are a concentration on lower resource usage which was already noticeable in last year's Norton Internet Security but becomes even more apparent in this year's.

Additional improvements are the new behavioral detection engine Quorum which uses a cloud based reputation system to identify threats and offers faster response times to new or mutating malware threats and additions to Norton Insight which has now been split to the four areas Download Insight for better control of file downloads, System Insight for system diagnosis, File Insight for file analysis and Threat Insight.

Here is a quick overview of what Norton Internet Security 2010 offers:

  • Anti Virus
  • Anti Rootkit
  • Bot Protection
  • AntiSpam
  • Nortonâ„¢ Safe Web
  • Smart Firewall
  • Network Monitoring
  • Spyware Protection
  • Identity Protection
  • Parental Controls


Installation is a breeze. The most important change to installation is that no reboot is required to complete the installation of Norton Internet Security 2010. The installation process itself has also been improved as it now takes less than a minute (a bit more if you use an installer that downloads the components from the Internet) to install the security software on the computer system.


The interface is easily accessible and gives the user an immediate overview over the protection state of the computer system. Switches are provided in the main interface to switch the state of a specific module to on or off with the interesting option to turn a feature off for a specific time only.

The protection is divided into the three groups computer, network and web each with their own associated security modules, settings, information and options.

Another indicator that Symantec takes performance serious is a cpu meter that is displayed in the main interface. This cpu meter displays the cpu usage of the computer system and that of Norton Internet Security. A click on the provided performance link will lead to a performance monitor that displays the cpu and computer memory usage of the system and Norton Internet Security over time.

Other links in the main interface lead to Norton Tasks which displays a similar performance graph and the background tasks that are configured in Norton Internet Security 2010. Here it is possible to see their impact on the computer system with an option to start any of the background tasks right away.

norton tasks

Application Ratings is a very interesting module that displays Norton Insight information about files and programs of the computer system. It will for instance rate all running processes, startup items, loaded modules and even all files so that it is possible to get a quick overview of the danger of certain files.

Norton Insight uses a trust level, resource usage and Norton Community Usage as indicators for a file's rating.

norton insight

The remaining subscription days and links to the Norton account, help and support and feedback are provided in the main interface as well.

Computer Protection

Computer Protection consists of the four modules Insight protection, antivirus, antispyware and SONAR protection. It contains additional links to running a live update, accessing the history and quarantine, start a scan and to open the settings.

The settings are extensive and contain several optional modules that are not activated by default. It is here for instance possible to enable Microsoft Office Automatic Scan to protect Office documents. Modules can be turned on and off in the settings but there are also advanced options available. This includes configuring exclusions (good for false positives for instance or files that should not be accessed by Norton Internet Security), real-time protection features and scan performance profiles.

  • Insight Protection - The Insight Network scan uses the Cloud technology wherein a remote server on the web contains the latest virus definitions.
  • Antivirus and Antispyware - Security risks, such as spyware and adware, can compromise your personal information and privacy
  • SONAR Protection - Symantec Online Network for Advanced Response (SONAR) provides real-time protection against threats and proactively detects unknown security risks on your computer.

Network Protection

Network Protection consists of the Smart Firewall, Intrusion Prevention and Email protection modules. A settings link is provided here as well that leads to the options for the listed modules. Configuration options for the firewall are divided into several menus. One element that seems to be missing is an overview of all the computer or network connections.

  • Smart Firewall - Smart Firewall monitors communications between your computer and the other computers on the Internet.
  • Intrusion Prevention - Intrusion Prevention scans all the network traffic that enters and exits your computer and compares this information against a set of attack signatures.
  • Email Protection - Email Protection protects your computer against the threats that you might receive through email attachments

Web Protection

This group contains the parental controls, identify safe, browser protection, safe surfing and download intelligence modules.

  • Identity Safe - The various features of Identity Safe help you manage your identities and provide additional security while you perform online transactions
  • Browser Protection - (Firefox and Internet Explorer only) When you turn on Browser Protection, Norton Internet Security proactively blocks new or unknown malware programs before they attack the computer system.
  • Safe Surfing - When you install Norton Internet Security, it adds the Norton Toolbar to Internet Explorer and Firefox.
  • Download Intelligence - Download Insight provides information about the reputation of any executable file that you download using the Internet Explorer 6 and Firefox 3.0 browsers or later.


Norton Internet Security 2010 is an impressive product that has a much lower resource footprint than previous versions of the software. The new performance monitor emphasizes this to give the user hard facts about the performance usage of the security software.

Modules like the application ratings and the new Norton Insight modules make it easier than ever to stay on the safe side.

The settings for each individual module are on the other hand somewhat hidden in the program. It would be more comfortable if links to individual settings would be provided in the main interface.

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