Norton is no doubt one of the biggest names among antivirus software out there alongside McAfee and Kaspersky. The first version of Norton released sometime in 1991 and has continued to be updated throughout the years. The most recent version, Norton Security Suite 2018, came packed with a few extra goodies as well as some chrome extensions for use with your preferred browser. In this article, I will go over these extensions and provide details on what they do and as well as a few of my thoughts on each.
Keep in mind that to use all of the provided extensions, you will need to have purchased Norton Antivirus and installed it onto your PC (or Mac). The extensions themselves are free, however.
The Norton Extensions & Toolbar
After purchasing Symantec Norton Suite for your PC (or Mac), you’ll need to install it. You will also need to create an account on the Norton website in order to activate your copy of the antivirus program. Norton provides extensions for Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome browsers.
To install the extensions:
- Upon installing Norton for the first time, your browser will launch a new session, opening up to feature the Browser Protection page in a new window. You also have the ability to launch the Browser Protection page directly from the Online Safety pillar by clicking on the Set Up Now option.
- While on the Browser Protection page, look for “Norton Safe Web” and click the Add option. A pop-up will appear with an Add Extension button. Click it.
- Once Norton Safe Web is enabled, you can then too enable the Norton Safe Search, Norton Home Page and Norton Password Manager extensions for your browser. Just click the Add option and follow the provided on-screen instructions. If you wish to add them all at once, there is also an Add All Norton Extensions for Free button you can click instead. If you choose not to add any of the extensions within 7 days, you’ll receive a “Chrome Protection Removed” alert notification when launching Google Chrome. The same can be said if you forego adding the Norton Safe Web extension.
- After choosing which (or all) of the extensions you’d like to add, click the Install Now button and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation. You can always add the extensions at a later time. To do so, click the “Remind Me Later” option if you wish to be reminded or “Do not ask me again” if you’d rather not be bothered.
The extensions are not mandatory to enjoy Norton Antivirus Suite. However, if you wish to easily access all of the browser-specific features that Norton Security offers, you will need to enable each extension. Here is a rundown and review on all of the extensions offered.
Norton Safe Web
Search, surf, and shop safely online with the Norton Safe Web extension. It will analyze all visited websites to detect any viruses, spyware, malware, or other threats lurking within the pages. Once a page has been analyzed, Norton Safe Web provides a safety rating for each of the websites, prior to your next visit.
Using Google, Yahoo, or Bing while searching for specific pages or sites on the internet, you’ll see a Norton rating icon beside each search result. Hovering the mouse cursor over one of these Norton icons will display a pop-up with information on the site and how safe it deems the shopping experience.
Take it a step further and click the icon to receive a full report pop-up window that allows you to view a detailed report directly on the Norton Safe website. You can also click on the Full Report option to receive the same detailed report.
Every website analyzed contains a detailed site safety status report. What these reports allow the user to do is:
- -View both the Norton and community rating for the site.
- -View other user reviews or add your own.
- -Take a look at a list of tagged keywords attached to the website.
- -Read over the general information about the website as well as information on any potential threat visiting the website may pose.
Norton Safe Web uses 5 website safety ratings to determine the threat level of the site prior to your visit. These ratings are:
- -Secure (indicated by a Norton Secured icon) – Symantec analysis determined that the website is VeriSign trusted and is safe to visit.
- -Safe (indicated by a green ‘OK’ icon) – Norton Safe Web analysis determined that the site is safe to visit.
- -Untested (indicated by a gray question mark ‘?’ icon) – Norton Safe Web does not have enough data to analyze the site; it is recommended that you do not visit this site.
- -Unsafe (indicated by a red cross ‘x’ icon) – Norton Safe Web analysis determined that the site is unsafe to visit. This website may attempt to install malicious software on your computer.
- -Caution (indicated by an orange exclamation mark ‘!’ icon) – Norton Safe Web analysis determined that this site has some threats that are classified as Annoyance Factors. The site is not dangerous, but it can install unwanted applications on your computer without your permission.
Norton Safe Web hasn’t presented me with any issues during my limited use of its features. It seems to do as it claims, though in other reviews I have heard it mentioned often that some websites deemed “Unsafe” are incorrectly rated. If a site doesn’t have the HTTPS (as opposed to sans ‘S’) it analyzes it in a negative light. This can get a bit annoying if you run a few sites and have users complaining that they get a Norton warning when they try to visit.
I know that Norton provides users with a way to report issues like these through the Report Issue option that will be located on the blocked website page. You can use this option if you feel that the website should be considered legitimate and you’d like to report it in an attempt to have the evaluation corrected. You can also choose to ignore the warning/rating and click “Continue to site” to view the webpage.
Norton Safe Web also uses Scam Insight. It’s a feature that provides reputation ratings for every website on the Internet. All provided ratings are based on information gathered from the age of a site (how long the site has been up) and the millions of Norton customers who have visited or reported them.
Norton Safe Search
Enhance your web search experience with Norton Safe Search. Norton Safe Search uses Ask.com to generate the search result for you and provides a site safety status for each result. Using Norton Safe Search, you can expect a safety rating similar to that of Norton Safe Web.
Like most search engines, Norton Safe Search features search-as-you-type automation to display suggestions and provide a more efficient experience. Simply type in a few words and Norton Safe Search will attempt to complete your phrase.
Using Norton Safe Search is easy:
- Open your browser of choice (Chrome preferred).
- The Norton Safe Search box will appear in the (ugly) Norton toolbar. Type in the search string that you wish and either click Safe Search or select one of the suggestions it provides.
Nothing too impressive with this extension. Just a standard search box with the presumed appearance of safety. I haven’t noticed a real need for this feature whatsoever. I suppose it’s meant to provide peace of mind or just something added onto the total Norton package to make it seem more appealing for purchase.
Norton Home Page
Norton Homepage turns your homepage into a Norton one using Norton Safe Search to enhance your web search experience. You can find site safety status and Norton rating information for every search result generated directly on the page.
This also changes your new tabs from the default version to Norton protected ones. After installing Norton, you are prompted to add the Norton extensions to your web browser while also given the option to set Norton Home Page as your default browser home page.
You can use Norton Home Page for any of the following browsers:
- -Internet Explorer (version 8.0 or later)
- -Firefox (latest version and two previous versions)
- -Chrome (latest version)
- -Safari (only on Mac computers)
Norton Safe Search is available for use even after disabling the Password Manager feature which I’ll go into later.
If you’d rather do without Norton Home Page as your default home page, you can change it back at any time.
To disable this extension in Chrome:
- Launch the Google Chrome browser and open the Menu tab located at the top-right corner of the screen. It is indicated by three vertical dots.
- While in the Menu, navigate down to “More tools”, click it and select Extensions from the additional dialog box.
- On the Extensions page, uncheck the box next to Norton Home Page to disable it and revert back to your default homepage.
- Restart your browser.
You can also remove Norton Home Page completely. To do so:
- Head back into the Chrome Menu tab.
- Navigate back to Extensions by way of “More tools”.
- In the Extensions page, instead of deselecting the Norton Home Page, click the trash can icon next to it.
- Confirm the removal in the dialog pop-up box received.
Norton Homepage is only enabled when attempting to add the Norton extensions to your browser. In this, you may assume that it is an extension itself but it really just houses them. All it does is turn your homepage into a Norton advertisement. You do have the benefit of accessing the Norton Search results quicker but other than that, nothing I would consider necessary. Thankfully, you can easily revert back to your original homepage at any time you desire.
Norton Password Manager
Store and manage all of your sensitive information like passwords and personal & financial information with Norton Password Manager. All information provided is both encrypted and stored in a cloud-based vault for easy access from any device you own.
In addition to serving as a vault for your sensitive information, Norton Password Manager also:
- -Shields your online transactions from identity theft while using potentially fraudulent or suspicious websites.
- -Allows you to quickly fill out requested credit card information using an auto-fill feature.
To use Norton Password Manager will require a Norton account and credentials. You’ll use these credentials the first time you attempt to log in to Norton Password Manager at which point you’ll be prompted to create a new one to use for Norton Password Manager.
Set a strong password as it will be the only one you should need to remember when using this feature as all other passwords for every site you visit which requires one, can be auto-generated and stored for quick and secure access.
Here is everything you can expect to store within the Norton Password Manager cloud vault:
- -All of your website login credentials including those used for online bank accounts, emails, and shopping websites. You can choose to not save any of this information if you plan to remember multiple passwords for varying sites. Using the same password for every site is never a good idea and leaves you open to theft.
- -Personal information such as phone numbers, addresses, and forms of identification.
- -Financial information like credit card details, online wallets, and bank account information.
The data that is saved to the Norton Password Manager is automatically backed up to your computer in a DAT file. You can also choose to backup everything manually and import it back into the vault if you so choose.
Norton Password Manager is a decent extension and addition to the Norton Antivirus suite but its features are surpassed by other free options like LastPass or Dashlane. Still, it’s not bad and is a pretty good feature for those who may not yet be familiar with the use of an online password manager.
However, NPM isn’t without its faults.
Norton doesn’t support two-factor authentication nor does it come with a browser UI similar to the better password managers on the market. This may be the only extension really worth a look but still isn’t much to be giddy over.
Not an extension but I think it bears a mention. Just a toolbar Norton provides for web monitoring and quick access to its extensions. In Chrome, it’s an extension itself that opens up as a toolbar when clicked on. You don’t have to have the toolbar open to maintain protection but it does display green checks for verified sites (as well as other ratings).
It’s rather ugly (not a fan of bulky toolbars) and doesn’t serve many purposes aside from quick access to the extensions. Not a fan and it’s ultimately not needed. I feel if they made it a bit more visually appealing, I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss it. Unfortunately, it continues to remain nothing more than an eyesore when in use so I cannot recommend it.
Overall, I would say that the Norton extensions are okay at best, completely worthless at worst. There are better extensions out there that do the same job or better and don’t require you to purchase a specific antivirus to enjoy them.
When it comes to Norton’s chrome extensions, I’d suggest giving them a hard pass and looking elsewhere.