Symantec today released the 2013 versions of its Norton 360 and Norton Internet Security security software, claiming that its new products offer greater levels of security and a faster experience than ever before, as well as being Windows 8 certified. Indeed, a Norton spokesman told us that PassMark's "Real World Performance Test" suggested that replacing Windows 8's native security with the new Norton products would make that OS run up to 50 percent faster.

Symantec was at pains to stress that Norton 360 and Norton Internet Security offer better security than Windows 8, too, citing an AV-Test report from July of this year that shows Norton offering up to 20 percent better protection that Windows Defender in its native settings. More importantly, according to AV-Test Norton was able to detect and block threats Windows Defender missed.

But according to Norton's Stefan Wesche the company isn't over-worried by Microsoft's decision to bundle antivirus into Windows 8. When asked to comment on the threat to Norton's business from a natively secure Windows 8, he said: "We think it is a bigger danger for freeware vendors". See also: Group test: what's the best security software?

New Norton products: price and availability

Norton ISS 2013 The latest versions of Norton 360 and Norton Internet Security are available now from the Norton online store. They'll be in the shops in the next couple of weeks. Norton 360 costs £59.99 for one year for up to three PCs, Norton Internet Security is £49.99 for the same terms. Existing Norton customers can update their products via the Norton Update Centre

Today's launch is the first time that the two major Norton internet security suites have been revamped at the same time, and the company has dropped the date from the products' branding: you won't be able to buy 'Norton Internet Security 2013', but simply: 'Norton Internet Security'. Updates will be applied automatically and without rebooting - something else Norton has in common with Windows 8. Everything is managed from a simple web interface which - in a further nod to Windows 8 - has been designed for touch input.

New Norton products: five layers of protection

Norton 360 Symantac told us that the new Norton products offer 'five patented layers of protection'. The company has focused on increasing social protection and combatting scams in which the end user is the weak link, as well as improved cloud-enabled features. These tools work via behavioural protection, expert and crowd-sourced insight into scams running in the wild, intrusion protection and anti-phishing.

The products have been optimised to take advantage of multi-core processors and, according to Norton, offer faster boot and shut-down times. They should also protect battery life in portable devices: crucial to what Microsoft hopes will be a burgeoning multi-device Windows 8 platform.
"According to this year's Norton Cybercrime Report, one in 10 social network users said they'd fallen victim to a scam or fake link on social network platforms.  Today, consumers are living nearly every aspect of their lives online and often putting personal information at risk," said Janice Chaffin, Group President, Consumer Business Unit, Symantec.  

"With our latest releases, Norton responds to this and other consumer vulnerabilities with stronger social media and scam protection to ensure consumers are safe in the multi-device, Wi-Fi-enabled world."

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