Symantec today released the public beta of Norton 360 6. You can download the beta of Norton 360 6 for free, although readers are reminded that running beta versions of security software is not without risks.

Norton 360 6 now includes the core security technology found in Norton Internet Security 2012. Symantec has included enhanced PC tuneup and backup capabilities, it says.  

Symantec also says that in its internal testing Norton 360 6 beta outperformed version 5 in terms of PC performance. Norton 360 6 includes a cloud-based identity safe that secures your personal data and allows you to remotely store multiple passwords, and a new interface and login process that Symantec says is 'simplified.

Norton 360 6 includes a feature Symantec calls 'Norton Management'. This web-based functionality allows for remote management, meaning you can check the security of any Norton-protected device from anywhere in the world. The latest version of 360 checks every downloaded file before installation, and utilises Norton's user base to offer advice on the likely effect of downloading a particular file or program.

According to Symantec Norton 360 6 throttles non-critical updates when connected to metered networks, reducing the impact on your broadband bill.

The Norton 360 6.0 beta is available for free public download now at the Norton Beta Center.  Beta testers are encouraged to share feedback. You can download the beta from PC Advisor downloads, and we encourage feedback in the PC Advisor forum.

In describing Norton 360 version 5, we said: "It includes a powerful antivirus engine, with strong real-time protection. An intelligent firewall blocks network attacks. Browsing protection keeps you away from phishing and other fraudulent websites. An online backup tool automatically protects your most valuable files from harm, and the PC Tuneup component cleans your Registry, helps to control your Windows startup programs, and highlights processes that are using more than their share of system resources.

"There's also a capable spam filter. A password manager does a good job of automatically entering user names, passwords, and other personal details into web forms, bypassing keyloggers. There's a link to parental controls, and you'll find plenty of other features on offer: essentially Norton 360 5.0 offers everything that Norton Internet Security 2011 does, and adds backup and PC optimisation as well."