FutureFive New Zealand - Consumer technology news & reviews from the future
Story image
Hands-on review: Norton Secure VPN
Thu, 21st Jul 2022
FYI, this story is more than a year old

I will freely admit that when it comes to VPN services, my knowledge is that of a layman. When the boss wrote to me and asked if I could chat about “torrenting support, split tunnelling, and anonymous browsing,” I must admit that I panicked. However, the nice people at Norton have made my job easier, explaining what these terms mean, and how they affect the overall security of your system.

Norton says that “Some VPN companies can see all the websites you visit. Choosing a brand you can trust is paramount.” This comment was backed up by one of my online gurus who recently warned of the dangers of some free VPN providers, some of whom will happily sell off your data. Norton, on the other hand, states that, “we don't track, log or save your browsing activities.”

Norton Secure VPN has some new services, but be aware that some of them only work on Windows and Android devices. However, some of the universally available services will make non-Windows and non-Android users want to know more.

In recent times I spent a lot of time making use of on-line services in hospitals, hospices and rest homes. Most of these services will give you a caveat, usually along the lines of, “we can't ensure your safety from other users.” Norton Secure VPN offers a Compromised and Insecure Network Detection that “will automatically secure your connection if you “connect to suspicious Wi-Fi networks.”

Anonymous Browsing ensures that you stay anonymous while you are online. This feature, Norton advises, will “Help protect your data through an encrypted tunnel that masks your activities and blocks hackers, mobile carriers, and ISPs from accessing your information while on Wi-Fi."

On the Go Access ensures that you can safely connect to sites, videos and apps that you use at home. I would often be doing on-line banking when we were on the go, and would have loved the “bank-grade encryption” that Norton Secure VPN offers.

Before I talk about the Windows and Android-only features, I'll explain some key benefits of ther Norton Secure VPN.

Online Privacy is an issue no matter where you are. If you are working from home, you will no doubt want to ensure that any work you are doing, especially on-line, remains secure and protected. Norton Secure VPN helps:

  • protect your privacy by shielding your internet data and your location from advertisers, websites and cybercriminals. 
  • Block ad tracking technologies to avoid being tracked online by advertisers and other companies, helping to eliminate many of the targeted ads that follow you around the web. 

This is great news for me. For years one particular website has hounded me to use them for proof-reading and improving my already impeccable copy. They pop up in You Tube, on websites and even on subscribed sites. I would love to be rid of them and all the ear-wax removal ads that pop-up ad nauseam.

If you are like me and are a frequent user of hot-spots, Norton Secure VPN will ensure that my data will remain just that- mine and not any hackers.

Split Tunneling enables you to choose what traffic you want to encrypt. If you are like me and always checking your health data and booking a consultation to discuss your latest episode of hypochondria, Split Tunneling lets you encrypt that data. This is one of the two services that are only available on Windows and Android.

Kill Switch is the other Windows and Android only feature, and I like it. If you suddenly lose your connection, which happens frequently in some hospitals I frequented, Kill Switch will make sure you are automatically disconnected.

Norton is obviously serious about your privacy. They have a “No-log” policy, which simply means that they do not track or store any of your on-line activities. The more I delved into this area, the more I thought. What if my arch nemesis with the fancy You-Tube site is stealing all my Pulitzer-deserving reviews? With so many of us working out of home, often on home computers, security should be on all our minds. If your employer hasn't gotten around to ensuring their data privacy, make sure you email them a link to this review.

Currently Norton are offering Norton Secure VPN for $69.99 for the first year. They have a variety of options to cover up to five devices. If you need a VPN, make sure that you choose one that, like Norton, ensures your anonymity out there in cyberspace.