It is a never ending battle between the good and the bad guys. The bad guys (malicious software coders) are constantly thinking of innovative ways to install malwares onto user’s computer without being detected by antivirus and the good guys (antivirus company) are just constantly catching up. Every year around the same time Symantec will release new Norton products with a major update on the version number incorporating new and improved features to provide better protection against viruses.
From what I see, Norton Antivirus 2012 provides 3 major levels of protection. The first is based on its virus definitions where it contains specific information that allows Norton Antivirus to detect viruses and malicious codes. Second is the SONAR (Symantec Online Network for Advanced Response) which is basically a heuristics detections where it monitors your computer for malicious activities and it is most useful to detect unknown security risks. I have seen malwares that is able to bypass both signature and heuristic detection but the third one which makes it really good and complete is the Norton Insight Network.
A while back I tested more than 100 different antivirus software against a malware made fully undetectable with Incognito Crypter. Norton was one of the few that was able to successfully block the infection even though scan time was detected as clean, thanks to the Insight technology. So far the Norton Community has collected a file count of over 300 million, classifying between known good or bad files and a small number of file’s reputation being built. Through this technology, I believe that the number of false detection is greatly minimized.
If you go to Symantec’s website and click on the Download link where it tells you that you can try their products for 30 days before you buy, you may be required to enter your debit or credit card for the opt-out trialware. If you forgot to cancel your Opt-Out trialware order before the 30 day trial period ends, you will be automatically charged the the rather expensive 12 month subscription fee.
In my opinion, you should NEVER buy a license directly from Symantec themselves because of the absorbitant subscription fees. It really pays to shop around and you can get the same license elsewhere for way less than half what Symantec charge!
Fortunately I found a few links where you can download Norton Antivirus 2012, Norton Internet Security 2012 and Norton 360 v5 for free without entering your debit or credit card and they all come with 90 days trial subscription instead of the default 30. Simply download and install, no product key is required.
Do note that you should only install 1 of these products at a time and NOT all 3 because it won’t work. When you install the software, on first run you will be asked for an email address, and on the next screen you will be asked to retype the email, enter the password twice and select a country. Those boxes highlighted in red below.
Although the email address doesn’t actually have to be real, you do need to remember what it is because the program will ask you later on for the email and password on the subscription and activation windows etc. Once done, it will be ready to go and you will have 90 days left.
Something I would recommend is to run Live Update straight away because it will download a large update for the latest version (NIS was around 200MB). I had to run Live Update and reboot 4 or 5 more times to get completely up to date.
NOTICE: I have seen a few people asking for a key to run the software in the comments. I have just tested all 3 of these on a clean install again and will repeat; They DO NOT need a key as it’s already built in to each product. If you are being asked for one it’s possible you still have old Norton product information on the system or in the registry. In that event you should run a cleanup tool first and then try to install. Have a look in the Antivirus Removal Tools article for more information.