Tag Archives: PC

Review ~ Norton Security 2017 for Macs and iDevices

Serious protection for Macs and iDevices — How times of changed. Once we used to laugh (well, I did) at all those PC, then Android users constantly beset with viruses, malware, keyloggers (which record and transmit every keystroke you make) and other forms of security breach. We were always as susceptible to spam and phishing attempts, of course: these are usually just emails trying to fool you into going to a dodgy website or worse, to enter credit card details somewhere nefarious. (I’ve said it many times before but it’s worth repeating: New Zealand banks are NOT allowed to contact you via email for account details.)
However, despite stellar efforts by Apple engineers over many years to keep Macs and iDevices safe, Apple’s profile has risen and this makes it a much more attractive target. In fact, I thought the surge in attacks would have started about seven years ago. That it hasn’t is testament to those engineers and Apple’s increasingly powerful security measures, as irksome as all that password and two-factor authentication can be.
But now we’re definitely on the radar, whereas we used to be in the room next door with the flowers and canapés … you will notice Apple patching its system with little updates that seem to increasingly mention not just security, but actual exploits.
Macs are still safer than PCs, but we’re vulnerable now in a way we weren’t even two years ago.

One installation covers everything — Now, thanks to the venerable security company Symantec and its Norton brand, you can get one installation that protects not just a Windows PC with its long-proven susceptibility to malware, but also a Mac (macOS and the previous two versions) along with iPhone (iOS 7 and later) and Android smartphones, all from one pack.. This makes sense since a typical small business or family environment these days may have an iPhone, an Android smartphone, a PC, a Mac and who knows what else? Mixed environments, anyway. Of course, you can also just cover your iMac, MacBook, iPad and two iPhones …
Norton’s latest packs can be bought for one device, three or five, and all come with one-year subscriptions. The Security software defends against viruses, spyware, malware, phishing, software vulnerabilities, and other online threats. It’s a tall order covering the full gamut for PC and Android (hence the one-year subscription to be able to load all the new virus profiles into your defences). Be warned that only two or four Apple-centric ones might appear each year, and most of those are so obscure, many people don’t even hear of them, much less go into those cyber-spaces that might be infectious. From the moment you subscribe, a Norton expert is available to help keep your devices virus-free, or give you a refund. That’s pretty impressive.
More obviously useful, perhaps, is the level of defence to stop people getting into your machine, and/or data. Norton Security Premium works to safeguard your identity and online transactions and helps ensure that email or links actually came from trusted sources.
While most iOS software comes through Apple’s mediated and checked online App Store, Android’s market is much more Wild West. Norton security alerts you about risky Android apps before you download them.
Other features include helping you manage protection for all your devices via a web portal., protects your kids from unsafe content and can even manage and balance your kids’ time online and offline. It also guards against over sharing online.
You should have a 5GB (free) or larger (paid) iCloud subscription, but the five-pack offers 25GB to which you can automatically back up photos, financial files and other personal information in a secure way (iCloud is pretty secure, please note). You can add more storage to this if you need. 
You buy a product key pack, go to the link provided, enter the key code enclosed in the pack, follow the on-screen instructions and voila. You can also just buy the pack online and download all that you need with the product key you are sent.

Console — You can add devices easily from your Mac. The console loads from the top-right menu that installs with your Product Key. So it tends to suit a sort of master security person who then adds others to the system. Under Customize you can turn protection on or off, further configure the Firewall (which stops people infiltrating your device through networks), protect Safari, Firefox and Chrome browsers (includes warnings or blocking harmful websites, Phishing protection presuming you use webmail, and allows you to submit suspicious sites you might find), File Guard (add files to prevent people opening or modifying them), and Activity to show what activities Norton has been dealing with, allowing you to see potential attacks. Each has a little configure button beside it. You can also undertake a quick or deep scan as soon as you install, to deal with anything you may have picked up in the interim.
You can also sign in via this console to your account, where you can turn on or off the automatic subscription renewal (this process takes you to a secure account page at Norton).

Protection for iPhone — The worst thing that can happen with an iPhone is someone stealing it before the screen locks. Even the police have been known to snatch and grab to get access to data. Download Norton Mobile Security onto your iOS device from iTunes App Store, and then sign into your Norton Account to register your device.
Protection for your iDevice is pretty basic compared to all the android hopes it hast jump through what with their open system developments and unverified app stores and what not: it’s just anti-theft and backup (and backup’s already handled by your iCloud account, although this gives you more space). Backup only seems to handle your Contacts, though – important nonetheless. But iCloud securely backs up your list of iTunes-bought bought music, apps and settings.
The anti-theft features are available via web and SMS to find and protect your lost device once you log into Norton’s website with your profile. You can lock your lost device from the Norton Mobile Security website or by sending an SMS; make a voice call over Internet to your iOS device; trigger an audible alarm to find your lost device if it is nearby; and finally locate a lost device on map or receive the location coordinates via SMS. You can also securely delete all your data and personal information on the lost device.
In some regions of the world (I could not ascertain where New Zealand sits in this), you can even take a snapshot using the device’s camera to help find a lost device, but this feature is not available through SMS, only online. However, users can upload and display pictures even when devices are locked.Conclusion — I have trialled security software before, and I always end up uninstalling it as 1/ until recently there have been no real threats, and 2/ I resented the subsequent impact constant scanning and updating had on my system. But I have to say, on my Mac and iPhone 6, I have become aware of no slowdown at all. So that’s a big plus.
But note you’ll be shocked how many – and how many times – what looks like innocuous software on your Mac is accessing the net (pictured above). You get to allow or disallow this activity.
You have to put your faith in Norton. For Symantec to find viruses before they infect you personally is quite a task, but hey, there’s that money-back guarantee. Norton has considerable resources online to help you install, uninstall, problem-solve and learn this software, plus that help line, so that’s all very positive.

What’s great — Protecting an iPhone, iPad and a Mac with one solution is smart.
What’s not — This kind of security does a lot more for a Windows PC, both from need and in features (ie, the Startup Manager and Rootkit Protection, whatever that is), than it will for a Mac.
Needs — People who don’t feel secure enough already; travellers; those with lots of precious data on their devices who don’t want to go through the constantly-evolving procedures to keep them secure on wifi networks etc and, particularly, mixed environments that are more vulnerable than just completely Apple ones.

Norton Security Premium for Five Devices – The five-license version currently costs NZ$134.99 (discounted from $169.99); the three-license pack is $104.99, and for one device $69.99. (If you do the maths, that’s $69.99 to protect one device, but if you buy a five-device pack that’s effectively $27 for each.
Norton Virus Protection Promise offers a 100% refund assurance. If your device gets a virus we can’t remove, you get your money back.

System — Current and previous two versions of macOS X. Password Management feature not supported. iOS 7 or later on iPhone, iPad, and iPod (and Android 2.3 or later, must have Google Play app installed, plus Microsoft Windows XP (all 32-bit versions) with Service Pack 3 (SP 3) or later; Vista (all versions) with Service Pack 1 (SP 1) or later; Windows 7 (all versions) with Service Pack 1 (SP 1) or later; Windows 8/8.1

Available from — retailers including Noel Leeming, or purchased online.

Andrew Hale, Auckland photographer, on why he prefers PCs

Recently I showed off an i5 iMac to a group of AIPA (Advertising and Illustrative Photographers’ Association) members while Andrew put that and a custom-built i7 PC through its paces. Needless to say, I don’t agree with everything he says, as I wrote about on my last Apple Watch on the NZ Herald, but I thought it would be interested to post his comments in full (reader’s comments are also welcome – and yes, I get to vet them, so keep ’em seemly):

Andrew Hales, professional photographer and AIPA member, wrote “Photography has always been a two part process; there is the medium used to capture the image, and there is the process of taking the photo.

“In the world of negative based film photography this meant processing the film in a dark room and turning the negatives into prints.

“Digital photography is no different, a process has to occur that turns the RAW data from the sensor into a viewable image. In your phone, or point and shoot camera, this is done by software you have little, to no control over.

“A professional photographer however often uses specialist software to take control of this process. It’s the difference between dropping a roll of film of at the chemist for automatic processing, and doing it yourself in the darkroom.

“Just like having a properly equipped darkroom is important for processing film, having a proper computer is important for processing digital photos.

“Being creative types, a lot of photographers took a lead from designers and printers and bought into the Apple system. This worked well when the Mac Pro was a well built stand alone computer and Adobe wrote software that performed better on Apples processors. But the world of Mac computers has changed, the iMac has become more consumer focused, while the new Mac Pro is aimed at high end video editing and needs attached high end storage solutions to be usable. Apple now use the same intel processors as everyone else, along with monitors based on LG panels, the same as the best from Dell or HP, or even Eizo, and of course Adobe now writes it’s code to favour Windows based systems.

“It means there is now a very strong argument for choosing a windows based workstation that you have built for you, instead of a Mac.

“It can be cheaper, you can get better performance, and the machine can be set up to suit your style of workflow and meet your needs. It also gives access to wide gamut screens and 10bit image display, something you can not do with an iMac.

“And of course it becomes progressively upgradeable, and is it worth mentioning the 3-5yr Warranties you get with the components?

“To put things to a test at a recent AIPA meeting I asked Mark to bring along a Mac, and Billy from Computer Lounge to bring a PC.

“I sent both a spec list before hand, based around my current work station, an i7, 16GB RAM, 2 x 256GB SSDs, 8TB of internal storage and 3 monitors, 2 of which are wide gamut running off an Nvidia 670GTX. Including my Wacom tablet, high precision mouse and keyboard and a few other bits, total replacement cost would be around $6500.

“Computer Lounge’s Billy brought along a 6 core i7 based computer with 32GB of ram, 2 x 256GB SSD’s and 8TB of storage. They added in 2 27in sRGB monitors with 2560×1440 resolution, a Wacom tablet, high end keyboard and even a mid range graphics card, all for just under $5,500.

“To give you an idea of how flexible things can be, I am going to build a system for a friend that uses an i7, 256gb SSD, 16GB ram, 2TB hard drive and a 24in Monitor for only $2,000. A similar spec and performance iMac costs $3,999.

“While Mark and Billy stated their case for Mac or PC, I used both to do some work in Lightroom.

“Since the Mac was only an i5 I found the results quite interesting.

“First of all, my own work station was a lot faster than the Mac at rendering and exporting photographs. The Computer Lounge system was even faster again, considerably so.  I’ve since worked out I can upgrade my computer to match for about $600.

“What was interesting was working on individual files, there was very little, if any real difference. For those on a tight budget, or working at a more enthusiast level an Intel i5 based computer could be a good choice.

“Where the Mac was really let down however was being able to choose your storage options. The Fusion drive is fantastic, but you never know if the data you want to work with is on the fast SSD, or the slower spinning disk. With the PC I was able to chose where to put it, and affect performance accordingly.

“I was impressed by how quiet the iMac remained, previous generation iMac’s I’ve used have gotten very loud when pushed hard. This one made about as much noise as the PC did, that is none.

“A base model Mac Pro would have performed as well as the offering from Computer Lounge, and one of the dual CPU hexa cores would have been even faster. But if that is what you need, Computer Lounge can just as easily build the same thing, or faster. PCI based storage is readily available for any computer now, the only limit to performance is how much you want to spend.

“We then had an interesting debate with photographers from the audience, and it is clear there is lots of brand loyalty out there, along with some still mis-informed opinions about Macs and PCs.

“The only real conclusion we came to was Apple gives you a limited number of options, while having a system built for you gives you total freedom. “