How much would you pay for anti-virus security software? Nothing? Maybe £25 or so for an all-inclusive package with some impressive sounding protection features? How about £99.99?
That’s how much Symantec is charging for Norton One, its new premium security service. Norton One does have some advantages – you get a year’s protection for up to five devices, be they computers, Android smartphones or tablets.
You also get a very high level of support – not only is it designed to be easy-to-use via an internet-based control panel, but Symantec’s promise of a dedicated Norton advisor within two minutes also sounds great.
Of course, after the first year is up, you’ll then have to pay a renewal price of some sort. Let alone the fact that many of us seem to be doing just fine with free security software these days.
What’s wrong with free anti-virus?
I’ve been using AVG’s free anti-virus and Microsoft Security Essentials over the last few years. This, combined with careful internet-use and a computer kept up-to-date with all of Microsoft’s periodic updates, and I haven’t had any virus problems so far.
My colleague John Bogue, from the Which? Computing team, also hasn’t paid for security software since he bought his first computer 20 years ago. And many of my Which? Tech colleagues seem to do be doing just fine with free anti-virus software as well.
However, our tests have found that some security software isn’t the most straightforward to use, with tricky installation, confusing virus messages and other issues. This is where the selling point of Norton One lies – it’s designed to look as clear and simple as possible, with as much hand-holding as you need.
But for a penny short of £100? Is this the price you have to pay for good technical support? I’ll stick to my free anti-virus software, thank you. Will you?