Norton Secure VPN is a ridiculous, but slightly cold, attempt at internet security from the antivirus giant Norton. Many will probably be attracted to the credibility that comes with the well-known brand, but since there are several better alternatives for the same or lower price, Norton's VPN not recommendable.
The user interface is reasonably simple to access and the download speeds are good, but there are not many servers to choose from (though in Denmark). P2P is blocked and a test showed DNS leak, which compromises user anonymity.
However, no data is stored about users' use of the service, so Norton Secure VPN greatly protects privacy. So do most others VPNservices too, so it's not enough to give a better overall rating.
On the website, information about the encryption used is sparse. Here it is immediately stated that the same encryption is used as the banks use. It sounds fine, but what it more precisely covers is not stated.
The idea is that "ordinary people" do not care about the kind of technical details and are therefore left out for the sake of clarity. However, it is quite essential, as one might as well choose one VPNprovider that uses the best encryption such as OpenVPN or IKEv2 so it should be clear
Little digging in various articles regarding VPN and encryption on the website revealed that Norton is actually mostly using OpenVPN encryption. OpenVPN is an open source project where the source code is freely available and therefore no backdoors or other debris can be hidden in the program without being detected.
The strength of the encryption is not mentioned, but the 256 bit encryption keys, which are the most common (and used by the banks), are not used.
The exception is iOS devices (iPhone and iPad) that use IPSec encryption. Apple is quite heavy to dance with, so using Open is difficultVPN on their mobile devices. However, on MacOS there are no problems, so here is used OpenVPN.
IPSec is not open source and there are rumors that the protocol has been compromised by the NSA as part of their mass surveillance. It probably doesn't matter to most people, but it would have been nice if only open source encryption had been used.
Despite using IPsec on iOS devices, Norton gets Secure VPN almost top notch for safety, as it does not matter to “ordinary people” - to whom these reviews are aimed.
Security: 9 / 10
Norton Secure VPN is a no-log VPN, where no sensitive information is stored about customers' use of the service. Thus, Norton does not record which websites, web services, etc. a user has visited or used, and it is not possible to see which files have been downloaded.
Users' IP addresses are also not saved, so attempts to track someone who has used Norton VPN, will be useless as some users cannot be identified.
Data access and collection:
1. Subscriber information and mobile device information, including device name, type, OS version and language,
2. Total bandwidth usage,
3. Temporary usage information to help fix a service issue.
While using Norton Secure VPN we direct the user's internet traffic through Symantec's network, which is a log-free network. This means that Symantec does not store the user's original IP address when connecting to Norton Secure VPN, and therefore Symantec cannot identify individuals. Symantec's automated rule-based traffic management may require real-time analysis of Internet data traffic, including destination websites or IP addresses and original IP addresses, although no log file is maintained over this information. Symantec does not store information about the applications, services or websites that the user downloads, uses or visits.
Thus, little data is collected for e.g. to be able to provide the service and to troubleshoot, but if you can rely on the above, then no person-sensitive is stored.
Anonymity: 10 / 10
Servers, features, etc.
With 73 server locations in 29 countries, Norton has Secure VPN one of the smallest VPNnetworks in the industry. However, there is a fine selection of servers in Europe and the United States, which are the locations most in demand - including servers in Denmark - so that most needs will be met.
There is not immediately a killswitch built in, which completely disconnects the Internet if connected to VPN the server is disconnected. Otherwise, it is a good security measure if VPN- the connection is lost, because otherwise you are no longer protected by warning VPN and one's IP address is freely exposed.
Servers, functions, etc.: 6 / 10
Subscriptions and prices
It is only possible to subscribe for one year at a time and the price depends on the number of units you can be connected to at the same time. Here you can choose between 1, 5 and 10 units and prices are respectively. 299, 399 and 499 for the first year corresponding to 25, 33 and 42 per month. It should be noted that the app can of course be installed on an unlimited number of devices, but can only be applied to the number covered by the subscription at any given time.
After one year, the subscription will automatically renew if it is not unsubscribed before, and then prices will rise to 399, 599 and 799 DKK per year for the future respectively. 1, 5 and 10 connections. This corresponds to approximately 33, 50 and 67 per month. Fortunately, it is easy to turn off automatic renewal with a single click in the account settings on the website.
You can get the money back throughout 60 days, which is perhaps the longest return period in the industry. After trying out Norton Secure VPN I used the chat feature on the website to request a refund and I quickly got it without any problems. Shortly thereafter, I received a confirmation email and within an hour after I requested the refund, the money was back in my Paypal account.
Norton Secure VPN test tanks
Below is a brief overview of:
- The user interface
- Speed test for Denmark and the United States
- Access to Netflix USA
- Access to DR.dk
- DNS leak test
Norton VPNThe user interface is immediately one of the simplest things you can imagine. The images below are screenshots of the Windows 10 user interface. There are not many frills - you can choose server location and switch the connection on and off. Under settings, you can pretty much not set anything - only if you need to connect to the most recently used server at device startup.
Speed test on speedtest.net connected to servers respectively. Denmark and the United States showed that the speed of Norton Secure VPN was damn good. Encryption is resource-intensive so you will generally experience lower speeds when using VPN. The loss is dependent on several things such as physical distance to and resources on the server.
Especially on the Danish server, the whole 321 Mbit went down in download speed and the 92 Mbit obtained via the USA is also absolutely acceptable. Both are at least more than sufficient for e.g. to stream in 4K. However, this test only shows what it looked like for a single user at that time, so other users may have a different experience. Of course, one will also be limited by the speed of one's own internet.
Many use VPN to access Netflix USA, where there is more content than in Danish Netflix. The trick is to connect with a US IP address, so Netflix'believe' system, located in the United States.
However, I could not log in Netflix while I was connected to a Norton VPN server in the United States. Here I got a message that I was using VPN and therefore could not access. So you can't immediately see American Netflix with Norton Secure VPN.
However, I could easily access through a Canadian server and here the committee is actually on par with the US. It is at least significantly larger than the Danish one.
It's not safe, Norton VPN will always be blocked Netflix United States, or will always be open via Canada, for boats Netflix and Norton can make changes. Netflix can e.g. unblock the US IP address or start blocking the Canadian. Conversely, Norton may get new IP addresses that are not blocked, so things can / will change over time.
It worked fine to stream from DR.dk if I was connected to the server in Denmark, so immediately the service can be used to watch Danish TV from abroad. At least to see DR.
A possible weak link in the chain when using VPN, is DNS leaks. It goes without saying that, despite the fact that I use VPN, my ISP records which URLs I visit. This does not mean that downloads, etc. are registered, but that you just visited a given URL (eg www.tv2.dk).
Some VPNservices protect against this type of leakage by using its own DNS or ensuring that DNS queries are made through VPN but this is not immediately the case for Norton Secure VPN, for a test showed that my own ISP's DNS was used.
The simple user interface, good speed and servers in Denmark add up to the overall assessment of Norton Secure VPN, but it pulls down that the P2P / torrents are locked, that there is no killswitch built in and that there is a DNS leak. Furthermore, the range of servers is quite thin, which also pulls down.