What is Norton Safe Search?




Norton has teamed up with Ask.com to provide you with a safer search experience! Conveniently available and always on, Norton Safe Search is a search environment developed with a focus on online safety. The primary purpose of Norton Safe Search is to ensure that the sites you visit are safe.


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Norton Safe Search Features:

  • Provides a Web site’s safety and shopping rating for all your search results.
  • Automatically filters out known risky sites.
  • Warns you about sites with potentially dangerous downloads.

Read Frequently Asked Questions

Want to minimize your online shopping risks?
Look for Norton shopping safety indicators.
Don't want to see sites that are not safe to visit?
Let Norton Safe Search automatically filter out unsafe sites from your search results.
Don't know how to spot unsafe sites?
Norton Safe Search makes it extremely easy to spot unsafe sites using simple safety icons.
Worried about your search privacy?
Turn on Privacy Safeguard to automatically erase your search trail from our Norton Safe Search servers.

Frequently Asked Questions



Q. What is Norton Safe Search?

A. Norton Safe Search is a security feature of Norton Safe Web, a Web site rating service included in Norton 360 version 3.0 or higher, Norton Internet Security 2009 or higher, and Norton Internet Security 5 for Mac.


Q. How does Norton Safe Web work?

A. Norton Safe Web is a Web site rating service that makes it easy to differentiate safe Internet Web sites from potentially malicious ones. Norton Safe Web provides visual site ratings within search results as well as when a user navigates directly to a particular site. Norton Safe Search is a security feature of Norton Safe Web.

In order to rate Web sites, Norton Safe Web performs thorough analysis using signature-based file scanning, intrusion detection engines, behavioral detection and install/uninstall analysis to identify security risks such as phishing sites, malicious downloads, browser exploits and links to unsafe external sites.

Norton Safe Web benefits from a network of more than 20 million Norton Community Watch end-points that automatically submit in real-time suspicious URLs to the Norton Safe Web server for detailed analysis. This allows Norton Safe Web to quickly hone in on newly infected sites.

In addition to analyzing suspicious sites submitted by Norton end-points, Norton Safe Web also actively crawls the Web and performs thorough analysis on millions of Web sites.


Q. What are Norton Safe Web’s shopping safety indicators?

A. To help make online shopping safer, Norton Safe Web checks each ecommerce site to see if it:

  • Is an official site or affiliate site of a large brand
  • Is a member of a well-known consumer advocacy group such as the Better Business Bureau
  • Publishes a privacy policy on its site and whether the privacy policy has been certified by organizations such as TRUSTe
  • Uses a valid digital certificate (SSL) from a certificate authority to protect your personal information
  • Has been certified by a third-party network scanning service

The shopping safety information is included on the search results page to help users make informed decisions when shopping at an unfamiliar site.


Q. How is Norton Safe Search different than using Norton Safe Web on Yahoo! or Google search?

A. Norton Safe Web does annotate search results for Google, Yahoo! and bing.com (formerly Live.com). Our objective with Norton Safe Search was to create a custom search environment that we could have greater influence over from a safety perspective. For example, with Norton Safe Search, we can offer unique features such as auto-filtering of unsafe sites and displaying an interstitial warning page when a user clicks on unsafe search results.


Q. Is Norton Safe Search available globally?

A. Norton Safe Search is included in online and retail editions of Norton Internet Security and Norton 360 in Australia, Canada, Germany, UK and US. Norton Internet Security 5 for Mac offers Norton Safe Search in Australia, Canada, UK and US.


Q. Can I disable or enable Norton Safe Search?

A. Yes. You can disable or enable Norton Safe Search manually via the Norton Toolbar menu. To disable or enable Norton Safe Search, click on the Norton logo on the Norton Toolbar and select disable/enable Norton Safe Search from the drop-down menu.


Q. Does disabling Norton Safe Search leave me open to online threats?

A.No. You get the full protection offered by Norton Safe Web regardless of whether or not you disable Norton Safe Search. If you do disable Norton Safe Search, Norton Safe Web (the client component) will continue to annotate searches on Google, Yahoo! or bing.com. Norton Safe Search utilizes the same site safety ratings as Norton Safe Web—it just provides a customized search experience.


Q. Does the Unsafe Site Filtering feature apply to all search results?

A. The Unsafe Site Filtering feature removes unsafe non-paid search results. Unsafe paid search results (sponsored links) will not be removed.


Q. I’m concerned about data privacy. If I use Norton Safe Search, does Symantec send my information to Ask.com?

A. If you submit a query through Norton Safe Search, your query will be passed on anonymously to Ask.com to allow Ask.com to process the query and determine search results. After you arrive on the Norton Safe Search results site hosted by Ask.com, Ask.com collects certain information as described in Ask.com’s posted privacy policy found here, including: your IP address, the origin of your search, your browser and platform type and language setting. Ask.com may share this information with third party content and sponsored links providers.


Q. Does Symantec track my search activities through Norton Safe Search?

A. Symantec takes protecting your data privacy seriously. Our detailed privacy policy can be viewed here.


Q. I’ve heard that Ask.com will track my search activities. What information is being gathered? How is it used?

A. Ask.com uses cookies set to your computer or browser to remember your preference settings. All of your search queries and interactions with search results on the Norton Safe Search results site are associated with your unique cookie ID. As a Norton Safe Search user, Ask.com will not use your cookie information to profile you for ad targeting nor will the company share your cookie information with anyone.


Q. If I turn on Privacy Safeguard, will Ask.com stop tracking my search activities?

A. If you use the Privacy Safeguard feature, you will activate AskEraser and your search information will be removed from Ask servers within 24 hours except in exceptional circumstances as described in Ask.com’s posted policy for AskEraser found here.

Once you turn on the Privacy Safeguard, AskEraser will be activated until you turn it off or until you clear your cookies from your browser. If you do clear your cookies, you will see the Privacy Safeguard feature as turned “OFF” on the Norton Safe Search results site. You can turn it back “ON” at any time.


Q. If I use Norton Safe Search, will Ask.com drop tracking cookies on my computer that track what I do online?

A. When you use Norton Safe Search, Ask.com will set a tracking cookie to your computer or browser as described in Ask.com’s posted privacy policy. Only search queries and interactions with search results on the Norton Safe Search site are associated with your unique cookie ID. Ask.com records the origin of your search (either from the Norton Toolbar or from the site where you conducted your search), your search query text, and your interaction with Norton Safe Search, including your clicks on search results. Ask.com does not collect any information while you visit other web sites.


Q. Why do search queries I type into my Google search box show up in the Norton Safe Search box?

A. When Norton Safe Search is enabled and you type a search query into your default search box, your query will be auto-populated into the Norton Safe Search box. The query is auto-populated for your convenience to enable you to conduct another search without re-typing the entry. The search term or query is not sent to Ask.com unless you actually click on the search button adjacent to the Norton Safe Search box. If you have disabled Norton Safe Search, the query will not auto-populate.


Q. Why does Symantec add Norton Safe Search to the list of search providers on my Internet Explorer 7/8, Firefox and Safari?

A. Based on consumer feedback we’ve learned that many users prefer to use the search box that is part of Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari. By adding Norton Safe Search to the list of search providers, users can select to search using Norton Safe Search if they choose. We do not make any changes to your default search provider.