Service & Support

Real-World Security Wins the “Real-Life” Awards

Understanding how Internet security software is tested and awarded

We live in an era where we depend on expert advice, ratings and awards to help determine if the product or service we are considering meets the high standards we demand.

Here at Norton, we hold ourselves to the same high standards by continually enhancing our technology to give our customers the best-performing protection on the market.

We believe it is important to build effective software that defends your computer in real-world threat situations. So we’re proud of the many awards we’ve received that recognise our commitment to protecting our customers from online threats.

How is dangerous malware tested without setting off a cyber epidemic?

There are two effective testing methods used today: static and dynamic, also referred to as “artificial” and “real-world.” Both are very different.

Static testing

Static, or artificial, testing occurs when the security software is put under a highly stressful test. A huge volume of malware is manually loaded onto the computer all at once and Internet access is disconnected. The software is then scored on the amount of malware it detects, and if any program has been erroneously marked as dangerous instead of safe.

The validity of static testing is often questioned by experts when trying to figure out which software is the best value for consumers.

Senior Researcher at ESET, David Harley, says, “[The static testing] approach is highly product-specific: the fact that a threat isn’t detected by a given product under these circumstances doesn’t mean that it isn’t capable of detecting it in a different execution context.”

Dynamic testing

On the other side of the coin, dynamic testing mimics a real-life situation when malware is attempting to access your computer from the Internet. This method tests the product by allowing Internet-based threats access to the computer and then analysing how well the software performs.

Experts like Neil Rubenking of PC Magazine understand the importance of a test simulating a user’s experience, stating, “Modern labs work hard to devise tests that more closely reflect a user’s real-world experience, taking into account the fact that the vast majority of infections enter the computer from the Internet.”

An Internet connection is a vital element of dynamic testing. “It closely represents the threat environment and utilises all of the proactive technologies provided in a product,” explains Alejandro Borgia, Senior Director of Product Management at Symantec.

Furthermore, Dennis Labs, a British independent testing lab renowned for its real-world testing methods agrees, stating “Real-life testing provides a realistic user experience that is important in order to illustrate what really happens when a user encounters a threat on the Internet.”

And the award goes to…*

While Norton products perform well in both static and dynamic testing, the awards that we find most relevant and useful to consumers are those in the dynamic category.

The Norton team does not design products to satisfy artificial testing. Naturally an Internet connection is integral for the performance of an Internet security product. Eliminating it doesn’t reflect a user’s true experience. On these grounds, we don’t believe this is valuable to the customer when considering what product to buy, and more importantly, to trust.

In 2015, Norton Security was awarded the AAA rating, and achieved 100% Accuracy by Dennis Labs, in a test that is “carried out in a realistic way, closely reflecting a customer’s experience.”

“Over Dennis Labs’ history, we consistently place at the top of the stack, and every year we improve our technology to make sure we stay at the top of that stack … and those are the awards we think are valid,” says Robert Reynolds, Product Manager at Symantec.

As the 37-time winner of the coveted PC Magazine Editors’ Choice Award — the most Editors' Choice Awards in this class in the history of PC Magazine — the Norton team is proud of the results that are setting the high standards for Internet security software on the world stage in 2015.

Our latest offering, Norton Security, the most comprehensive Norton service we’ve ever delivered, is the latest Norton service to receive an Editors’ Choice award from PC Magazine. With an overall 4.5/5 star review, Norton Security delivers “top-notch phishing protection, intelligent firewall block[ing] exploits and powerful local and online backup,” says Rubenking. He concludes, “It’s our Editors’ Choice for cross-platform, multi-device security.” Rubenking personally tests the products he reviews, noting Norton Security’s “ease of use in the real-world” result.

Recently, German independent testing lab AV-TEST also carried out their examination of Norton Security, focusing on realistic test scenarios challenges against real-world threats. Basing the results on 3 criteria: Protection (against viruses and other unique pieces of malware), Performance (speed in daily usage) and Usability (user friendliness). Each criteria is graded on a scale of 6, and Norton Security’s results were almost perfect with a 6/6, 5.5/6 and 6/6 score, giving us an overall award of 100% Detection and Best Usability.

We build Norton for you, your family and the people you care about

While there may be some merit to static testing in other categories of the software world, we believe that the results in Internet security do not translate into real-world use. Consumers are often misled by artificial tests results that show inaccurate product comparisons. We don’t build our products to satisfy testing methods, we build our products to perform in real-world situations.

The sheer amount of awards and accolades earned by Norton is one measure of our relentless dedication to providing unparalleled Internet security. Another is the 43 million customers that choose Norton to protect hundreds of millions of devices connected to the Internet.

Our confidence in the ability to protect you, your family or your business is substantiated through the unique Norton Virus Protection Promise.

Dynamic testing and real-world experience are the results we think matter most when you consider which security product to purchase and trust with the protection of your personal data and family devices.

Ultimately, when our customers are happy with Norton and are safe from online threats, that’s the award that matters the most.

*Awards mentioned are valid for 2015. 

  • Editors’ Choice Award 2015
    37-Time Winner of this award. The most wins by one company in the history of PC Mag.

    PC Mag / Neil Rubenking

  • Best Performing Product in 2015
    Norton came in at 94 points ahead of Trend Micro, which placed last.


  • 9.2/10
    “At tests conducted and respected by independent software labs, Norton security accomplished perfect protection and usability score, which is achieved at the expense of a barely perceptible impact of system performance.”

    Top Ten Reviews / Randall Sutherland

  • 17.5/18 100% Detection & Best Usability
    AV-TEST’s winning criteria is based upon results in Protection, (functionality), performance (speed) and usability (user-friendliness).


  • Norton Mobile Security wins ‘Innovation Award’ 2015
    “First and only consumer mobile offering with proactive app protection.”


  • 5/5
    “Full of handy features and a reliable defender against malware, Norton Internet Security 2015 is this year’s best AV product.”

    Expert Reviews

  • AAA – 100% Total Accuracy Rating

    Dennis Labs  

  • 4.5/5 Stars
    “One of the best security solutions of the year.”

    Tom’s Guide

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