When it comes to protecting your PC, you can go a bit software crazy. There’s VPN software that lets you surf securely from an offsite computer; nanny software that lets parents control what their kids can access online; anti-malware software that protects against things like ransomware and phishing attempts; ad-blocking software; and, of course, anti-virus software. Or there’s Norton 360 that wraps all of this up in a neat little software bundle. It’s not cheap, but it is complete.
Norton 360 offers four different levels of protection that range from affordable to ouch. But, depending on your needs and how many other software programs you may be able to stop paying for, even the maximum subscription level might still be a bargain for you.
The Standard level costs $29.99 per year and includes protection against viruses and other online threats; a secure virtual private network (VPN); ad-blocking; anonymous browsing and bank-grade encryption for all your surfing activity. Norton also throws in a password manager to keep all your login details in one secure place plus 10 GB of included secure online storage for backing up your PC and 24/7 customer support.
Stepping up to the Deluxe level will cost you $49.99 per year and gets you protection for up to five devices, 50 GB of online storage, and parental control of which sites your kids can access.
The next level up, Select, costs $99.99 per year. For that significant increase in price, you get services from LifeLock, an identity-theft-protection company Norton bought in 2017. At this level, in addition to all the services offered at the Deluxe level, you also get LifeLock’s stolen-funds reimbursement insurance of up to $25,000 if any of your online accounts are breached, as well as alerts about the unauthorized use of your social security number and changes to your credit status. You get more insurance as well: up to $25,000 in reimbursement for personal expenses and up to $1 million to cover legal fees if your identity is stolen. You are also able to monitor your credit with one of the major credit reporting agencies. Plus, your online storage limit increases to 100 GB.
If you really want to splash out on security, the final level of Norton 360 might be right for you. It’s called Ultimate Plus and it costs a whopping $299 per year. For that, your online storage limit bumps up to 500 GB, the stolen funds reimbursement limit goes up to $1 million and you can monitor your credit at all three major bureaus. Norton/LifeLock also throws in the scanning of court records; data breach notifications; alerts when someone applies for or seeks to transfer bank accounts in your name; and alerts when there are suspicious changes to your investment accounts.
So are any of these plans right for you? Probably.
Our favorite choice of the bunch is the $49.99 per year Deluxe platform because of the five-fold increase in your online storage and allowable number of devices. If you feel that identity theft might be a real issue for you, then stepping up to the Select plan with LifeLock certainly makes sense. And, if money isn’t an issue for you, then you really can’t get a better all-in-one online protection suite than the Ultimate Plus plan.
Be aware, though, that the prices in this article are all based on Norton’s one-year introductory plan. After your first year, the cost of the different levels climbs significantly as you can see here. The adjusted prices are certainly at the top of the range for cybersecurity software, but you are getting protection from one of the giants in the field and you are getting a multi-pronged solution. Still, it might be best to sign up for a year and set yourself a reminder on your calendar to look for a cheaper solution when it’s time to renew.