Norton offers more online security packages than any other vendor, with Internet Security 2009 being its premium offering. As with the other suites, it comes with a licence to cover three laptops in the same house, so can be used to protect all the systems in most homes.
The interface has been updated, but isn't a great departure from earlier versions. The main menu is broken down into three sections – Computer, Internet and Identity – with each section listing the core tools relevant to it.
The package offers the standard array of tools, including anti-virus, firewall, ID protection, anti-spyware and anti-phishing. Browser and website authentication tools have also been tightened up and, along with the use of parental controls, all members of the family can be protected online.
The reason for the slimmer profile is the way in which Norton now handles scanning chores. Norton Insight works from a white list of trusted files, which means it only needs to fully scan files that don't appear on this list. In practise, we found this worked exceedingly well, and it speeds up scan times considerably.
Dealing with threats has also been made more efficient due to the use of Pulse. This tool is linked with the Norton database and checks for updates every five to fifteen minutes, so should a new virus, for example, be discovered, the cure can be administered before it becomes a real threat.
It's not just security tools that are on offer, as the backup and maintenance tools have also been streamlined and make backing up your data a lot easier. Recovery tools are also included, with the big change being support for booting from a damaged hard drive, wherever possible.
On the surface, Norton hasn't made too many changes to the user experience with Internet Security 2009. However, underneath you'll find it runs much smoother and faster than before and protects your laptop far more effectively than previous versions.