Norton 360 Deluxe review: A rare feature-filled security product for Mac

Most companies that are primarily PC antivirus vendors treat their Mac software as an afterthought. They cover the basics for security, but extra features are few and far between.

That’s not the case with NortonLifeLock (formerly Symantec). It offers a lot of value for Norton 360’s $50 per year for new subscribers or $100 per year for returning customers. For that money, Norton 360 Deluxe covers up to 5 devices including Macs, PCs, smartphones, and tablets. And it offers a lot more to Mac users than just malware protection. It also brings with it a password manager, free VPN access, parental controls, 50GB of cloud backup, and so-called dark web monitoring. On top of that there’s the Clean function for getting rid of duplicate files, old application files, and more.

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Norton 360 Security Deluxe with a finished scan.

Norton 360 includes multiple applications. It starts with the My Norton application, which is just a launcher for the important stuff including Device Security, the VPN, Password Manager, and Cloud Backup. There are also links to Parental Controls and dark web monitoring on the Norton website. Device Security is the main application, which houses all the virus protection.

Taking a look at AV-Test’s March 2020 Mac malware tests, Norton Security scored 100 percent against 58 samples in the widespread and prevalent malware test. That’s the  score you want, but it is against a small sample size.

AV-Comparatives’ most recent Mac security test from June 2019 didn’t cover Norton, which is too bad since its test includes Windows malware detection.

In our spot tests with the Objective See malware repository Norton had no trouble dealing with the malware we found there. The only complaint we had was that Norton wasn’t notifying us when it detected malware. Instead, it just deleted or quarantined the suspicious file. We had to open the security history log just to see what Norton did. A few days later, however, Norton started notifying us of issues. We did allow notifications immediately, but for some reason it took a few days for Norton 360 to catch up. We haven’t seen that with other antivirus products.

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Most people wouldn’t take it this far, but it’s still important your antivirus acts as a backstop for edge cases like this.

After the Objective See test we did something unusual since testing was so sparse. We visited a torrent site that often has rogue adware just to see what would happen. As soon as we landed on the site it offered to install Adobe Flash Player. That, right there, is a massive flag since rogue Adobe downloaders are a common tool for malware delivery.

So we did what any curious tech site would do and went through the installation process. Of course macOS was screaming at us the entire time that we definitely shouldn’t be installing this, but we wanted to see how Norton would handle it.