For years Norton has been synonymous with security, and aside from a name change from Norton 360, Norton Security with Backup 2015 continues its fine tradition of offering comprehensive protection for PCs worldwide. (And it now covers Macs, iOS and Android devices, too - up to five in total.)
There’s everything you’d expect in such a security suite: strong antivirus protection that monitors files and programs not just for known threats but for suspicious behaviour too, helping block malware before it can gain a foothold on your system.
There’s the firewall, of course, silently blocking attacks from both outside and inside your PC. Web Safety components check the links you click to make sure they’re safe to visit, while downloaded files are screened and checked for both security and reliability.
Norton Security 2015 also provides a spam filter, password manager/form filler, network monitor, startup program manager, bootable repair disc option, performance-related tools and more.
What’s new in version 2015? The most obvious change is a brand new user interface, based on the Norton 360 interface but updated to blend in better with the modern look of Windows 8. However, the 2015 release also debuts what Symantec terms its "next generation" anti-malware engine, which evaluates and offers protection against threats in real time using the cloud to reduce definition files by up to 80 per cent.
Other improvements include intelligent boot-time protection, more aggressive threat detection heuristics and automatic aggressive botnet scanning triggers. Smart data leakage protection has been added along with improved Norton Community Watch integration.
Browser protection is now delivered without the need for installing browser plug-ins, while protection against socially engineered attacks has also been tightened.
Finally, the SONAR engine – used to detect brand new threats – has been improved alongside performance tweaks.
The main difference between Norton Security Backup 2015 and Norton Security 2015 is – of course – the existence of a separate backup module in this version, which allows you to create backup file sets and save them to a local drive or online via a Norton Online Backup account (25GB is included).
Please note, Norton Security replaces Norton Antivirus, Norton Internet Security and Norton 360. There is no direct upgrade path from those products to Norton Security - you'll have to buy a new licence - but of course they will still protect you until the end of your current subscription.