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Product: Norton Internet Security 2002
Company: Symantec
Estimated Street Price: $69.95
Review By: Julien Jay

Getting Started

Table Of Contents
1: Introduction
2: Getting Started & What It Does
3: Advanced Features
4: Norton AntiVirus 2002
5: Conclusion

   When NIS 2002 starts for the first time it displays a brand new configuration wizard that scans your hard drive to find programs that may access the Internet and lets you create a supervisor account and other accounts for family members such as children, teenagers, etc. After your hard disk has been scanned every program that is susceptible  is shown in a complete list, thus you can define from the main NIS window which program can access or not the Internet. However this can turn into a huge list especially if you have tons of programs! Symantec has improved the Internet Access Control applet in this version of Norton Internet Security so popular programs which use the Internet are automatically recognized: it means when you launch Internet Explorer, MSN Messenger, Outlook; Norton Internet Security 2002 automatically creates a rule to enable full access to the Internet for these software.  

Norton Internet Security 2002 Internet Applications Scanner (click to enlarge)

   From the same configuration window you can use the new home network wizard to automatically detect your home network for easy setup: that way protecting a shared connection is no longer a nightmare. Once this is done a new Norton Internet Security 2002 icon appears in the tray notification area of Windows (near the windows clock on the taskbar). When you double click on this icon the NIS 2002 main window appears: as you can see itís fully integrated with Norton SystemWorks 2002 due to its full support of the new Norton Symmetry technology. (Note: that if Norton System Works 2002 is not installed on your system, the setup asks you if you want to enable integration or not and when you install SystemWorks 2002 NIS will automatically integrate to the default main SystemWorks window).


Various Norton Internet Security 2002 Configuration Screens (click to enlarge)

   The graphic user interface of NIS 2002 v4.0 has been somewhat streamlined compared to the previous release 3.0 and adopts, once again, a brand new look and feel thatíll that matches with SystemWorks 2002. The user interface of NIS is clear and useful for all kinds of users and even if the help file is complete we regret it still doesnít use the HTML format. Norton Internet Security 2002 features the Alert Tracker module. Each time you launch windows youíll spot a small earth icon on the right side of your screen: behind this aqua icon lays a new informative bar thatíll popup in case an alert occurs. So if your IP is being scanned to find a back door by a potential invader, the icon will expand itself saying an attempt to hack your computer has just been detected and blocked. The interesting thing is that the IP of your attacker is shown by the Alert Tracker module of NIS so you can make a report to its ISP while the tray icon of NIS displays a blinking red Ď!í sign. NIS let you set your privacy and security levels at your convenience. Be careful if you set these levels too high youíll be prompted each time you visit a web site to create new firewall rule. The medium settings are the best compromise between security and ease of use.

Norton Internet Security 2002 Tray Icons (click to enlarge)

How It Works

   NIS 2002 provides a barrier (named a firewall) between your computer and the Internet. Itís a filter that blocks or enables connections and data transfers in both directions. This firewall will protect usersí data and privacy. Each time you visit a new website, NIS will automatically create firewall rules but you can also create your own security rules. When NIS 2001 encounters a new case it may prompt you to define a rule to always authorize or block an application that uses the Internet.

What It Does

   The Norton Privacy Control module of Norton Internet Security 2002 will block your privacy information which you donít want to share or to see transferred on the ĎNet without your approval such as your email address, your postal address, your phone number and itíll prevent other users from giving private information without your authorization such as your Credit Card number. It really works -for example, if a website form asks you your phone number and if you type it when NIS is running NIS will ask you if you want to send this confidential data. Previous versions of Norton Internet Security didnít protect confidential data from being sent through instant messaging software. Symantec has worked on this, so the Norton Privacy Control feature of Norton Internet Security 2002 has been improved to support Windows Messenger, MSN Messenger and AOL Instant Messenger. That way Norton Privacy Control automatically filters and blocks data you have specified to be confidential from being sent by unauthorized persons (like your children for example). However itís a deep regret to see the popular ICQ client isnít supported by Norton Internet Security 2002.  

   While youíre at work, the Norton Parental Control module will prevent children to access potentially harmful websites (like pornographic ones or ones that contain objectionable material) or even chat software (as well as email software: you can tweak easily this setting). To do so you have to create multiple users accounts with different privileges: each account has its own password so each family member can access their authorized areas. Once youíre back at home after a hard day you can switch back to your supervisor account to get full access to the ĎNet. Windows XP users will appreciate the exclusive new feature of Norton Internet Security 2002 that automatically recognizes and uses existent Windows user accounts for an unbeatable easy configuration of privileges. Norton Internet Security 2002 uses an internal, updateable database that references websites that are unsuitable and should be blocked from being viewed by children. You can also specify manually which websites are allowed or blocked.  

Norton Internet Security 2002 Interface (integrated with SystemWorks 2002)

   Norton Internet Security 2002 comes with a one year free subscription thatíll provide updates to ensure that youíve always got the latest ĎBlack web site listí and other minor improvements (and bug fixes) that can be added to the product through its life cycle, thanks to its LiveUpdate technology. NIS can also regulate the emission of cookies or definitely block them, but with this feature enabled a lot of websites will refuse to work, as they required a cookie to save users preferences. (Cookies can be tracked with Norton CleanSweep 2002).

   Your safety is the most important thing so NIS protects you from malicious Internet ActiveX controls or Java applets by monitoring them and eventually asking you if you want to run these applets each time you visit a website that uses this technology. But once again if this feature is enabled your Internet experience wonít be convenient as itíll display rule configuration wizards asking you what to do for each Active X applet that is detected.  

   As it comes with the latest version 2002 of Norton Antivirus, your incoming and outgoing emails will be scanned to check that they donít contain any viruses. But be careful because you have to often run LiveUpdate to retrieve the latest virus definition updates: indeed new email worm viruses appear each day. Another feature brought by the new Norton AntiVirus 2002 is the script blocker. You can now tell NAV to block every script like Java or Visual Basic ones that can be launched on your computer: with this feature enabled if you attempt to launch a VBScript stored on your hard disk youíll get an alert from NAV thatíll ask you what to do. Youíll be able to choose whether you want to block the script, run it, etc. This feature is especially useful as it prevents malicious scripts that can be attached to your emails to be run. However, if you frequently use VBScript files to automatically perform daunting and repetitive tasks youíll be disappointed to see you canít tell NAV to always allow a specific script to be run (so you donít have to authorize the script execution each time you launch it). Plus if you have Microsoft Visual Studio .NET installed each run of the development suite will cause NAV to display an alert asking if the scripts required by Visual Studio .NET should be run. 

   Norton Internet Security 2002 has a unique feature that will prevent websites to display banners, ads, or popup windows to speed up your Internet connection. If you turn it on most of the time you wonít see them automatically and when it doesnít work you can drag the banner to the NIS trashcan or the Alert Tracker. Itís a useful feature that really changes the way you surf the web.


ę Introduction Advanced Features Ľ


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