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A safer Net

Norton Internet Security should ease your mind.

It’s too bad that the Internet can’t simply be enjoyed without taking precautions, but the chaotic nature of the Web seems to tempt those who enjoy doing harm. While computer users have learned to expect viruses and spam as an unavoidable aspect of Internet life, we don’t have to put up with it. That’s where products such as Symantec’s Norton Internet Security 2001 Family Edition can help us deal with just these kinds of problems and annoyances.

This software is a bundle of utilities that helps provide a first line of defense against hackers, viruses, and damaging ActiveX controls and Java applets. It also provides control over cookies and banner ads. When used on certain ISPs, some cookie and ad eliminators won’t let you access certain home pages because they create a proxy server to intercept unwanted downloads. The program includes a full version of Norton AntiVirus 2001, which is must-have software for anyone spending time on the Net.

If there are young surfers in your household, parental controls will be a welcome addition. The default settings are comprehensive, but can easily be modified to suit your particular situation. Multiple accounts can be set up so adults will have more access, but a younger child will face a more stringent set of rules.

Installation of the package is automatic and straightforward. If you’re not a computer whiz and you don’t particularly care to fool around with IP numbers or DNS settings, you’ll enjoy the way Norton Internet Security 2001 Family Edition installs. If manual setup is more to your liking, opportunities for fine-tuning and tweaking abound. A Firewall Rule Wizard assists you in the setup, addition, removal, or modification of any existing rules.

With most of the software I review, I install it and then watch to see how it performs, but Norton Internet Security 2001 Family Edition works best when you don’t see it working. In fact, the package is virtually invisible in operation. The only way you can tell if it’s working is to look at the status page. At one point, the status page showed that 723 out of 1,000 attempts to access my computer were blocked, and 32 of 100 browser intrusions were not allowed. During this same online session, 24 ads were blocked, so I believe there must have been a not-so-obvious performance benefit as well.

Currently Norton Internet Security 2001 Family Edition is a Windows-only package, and I tested it on a Windows 2000 OS. If you’re using Norton SystemWorks 2001, you’ll notice how well Norton Internet Security 2001 Family Edition integrates with this package by adding an icon to the right side of the taskbar, making it easy to access all of its features. By integrating parental control and multi-user support to the family edition, this is definitely an Internet-protection package that will remain on the computer. A full year of free updates of virus definitions, firewall rules, and Web site filtering lists are included. With its street price of $55, this package appears to have something for everybody.

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