Norton Secure VPN review: Why we don’t recommend this familiar brand’s VPN

In information security, there are few better known names than Norton and LifeLock. A NortonLifeLock virtual private network, long known for its competitive anti-virus protection and adaptability to an ever-changing security industry, sounds promising from the start. Given the limited server options and some Dealbreaker security issues, it’s clear that the Norton Secure VPN has some work to do before it can meet the high standards of its sibling security products.

Norton Secure VPN has yet to develop its security and server network. I would recommend sticking out before signing up for this service. In the meantime, check out our list of the best VPN services of 2020.

Linus Strandholm / EyeEm / Getty Images

speed

  • Average loss of speed: 57%
  • Number of servers: 1,500 (1,200 virtual)
  • Number of server locations: 29 countries, 73 cities
  • Number of IP addresses: 1,800 plus

Norton does not publicly publish its server count on its website, but the last time there were 1,500 servers.

I ran my speed tests over a period of three days in two locations with both wireless and ethernet connections. One location offered slower broadband speeds and the other offered higher speeds over fiber optic internet. Internet speeds in the United States vary widely by state and provider. For any speed test, the results depend on your local infrastructure. The hyper-fast internet service delivers higher speed results.

This is one of the reasons I’m more interested in testing the speed loss (which is usually half or more on most VPNs) for high speed and slower connection types and using tools like speedtest.net to level the playing field. Overall, Norton’s speeds are comparable to other mid-tier VPNs, reaching only about 43% of the average speed of 187 Mbps achieved on a 1 Gbps fiber connection during the test, while still one worldwide Average of around 81 Mbit / s is maintained.

Unlike many other VPNs, Norton doesn’t let you choose which city you connect to – only the country. Norton’s servers in Hong Kong have reduced overall speeds by an average of just 6 Mbps. So if you are looking for a VPN to use while traveling in China, consider another option. Australian servers performed slightly better with an average of 50 Mbps.

The results on mainland Europe could have been better and crossed the finish line at an average of 78 Mbps as the French servers outperformed the German ones. While US servers hit a disappointing 92Mbps average, UK servers shone with an average of 181Mbps. The inconsistency in connection speeds and load times can be greatly improved by letting you choose which city you are connecting to. Speed ​​in the US in particular could be improved if you could choose which coast to connect to.

Continue reading: ExpressVPN Review: A VPN Speed ​​Guide With a Safe Reputation

Security and privacy

  • Jurisdiction: USA
  • Encryption: AES-256
  • Leaks: IPv6, DNS
  • No kill switch

In addition to the city-specific server selection, the publication of further information about the servers would also significantly improve Norton’s security offering. To this end, a Norton spokesman told Tips Clear in September 2019 (before Symantec sold Norton in November) that new security assessments were in preparation.

“Symantec has worked with (international accounting firm) RSM to conduct a third party privacy assessment of Norton Secure VPN, which is currently being finalized,” said the spokesman.

Norton offers what is known as bank-grade encryption (standard AES-256). The company does not offer a kill switch that prevents network data outside of the secure VPN tunnel from being lost if the VPN connection fails. A lack of kill switches I would generally consider a deal breaker.

Norton did not mask my IPv6 address, and several DNS leaks occurred while testing with IPLeak.net. These leaks reveal user-identifying data that compromises the privacy of your location. While Norton describes itself as a no-log VPN provider, its privacy policy details how it collects usage data, including “temporary usage data to help you debug a problem with the service”. Norton informed Tips Clear that there are no plans to stop logging this data.

“NortonLifeLock is committed to helping consumers protect their online privacy. When we learned of the issue reported during the review, we tested Norton Secure VPN extensively on all major operating systems and were unable to detect the alleged data loss replicate. Norton Secure VPN seems to be working to protect our customers’ online privacy as intended, “a Norton spokesperson said in an email to Tips Clear.

Norton Secure VPN offers a streamlined ad tracking blocking feature in the app. While you can’t customize it, it worked like a charm with every test device I’ve tried.

Continue reading: The Best VPN Services for 2020

costs

  • Ease of use: Extremely simple
  • Platforms: Windows, Android, Mac, iOS
  • Price: $ 60 annual 10-device plan
  • Number of simultaneous connections: plans available for 1, 5, or 10 devices

Norton’s inability to overcome the geoblocking described above is also likely the reason we struggled to access country-specific catalogs for streaming services like Netflix. Norton also doesn’t support torrenting or peer-to-peer networks. If you’re looking for a VPN that will allow you to access your regular media subscriptions when you travel, we recommend finding a different VPN first.

Norton Secure VPN is only available on the four main platforms – Windows, Android, Mac, and iOS. The number of devices you can use at the same time – either one, five, or 10 – depends on which plan you choose. The most affordable plan is the $ 5 monthly plan, which only allows one device at a time. The most expensive is the 10-device annual plan for $ 60.

These prices are higher than expected due to the limited capabilities of the VPN. Meanwhile, the major players in the VPN space are getting more competitive on pricing. IPVanish offers comparable speeds and unlimited concurrent connections for $ 78 per year, and NordVPN is offering a 68% discount that sets its two-year plan at $ 89.

You can pay for Norton with either credit card or PayPal, but currently not with cryptocurrency. Norton offers a 60-day money-back guarantee, but this offer is only available to annual, not monthly, subscribers. Norton also offers a seven-day trial.

Continue reading: NordVPN test: Still the best value for security and speed Norton Secure VPN.

Correction, 1:08 p.m.: This article has been updated to indicate that Norton has partnered with LifeLock.

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