No security software Group Test would be complete without an appearance by Symantec, and this is no exception. Symantec's offering is its Norton Internet Security Suite, specifically targeted at the standalone desktop machine, or those connected to smaller networks. Because of this, it is only available for non-server versions of Windows.

Installation of the product is extremely straight­ forward, aided by the very well-written documentation; as you would expect, considerable emphasis is placed on the prevention of viruses. The product very much urges you to take responsibility for your own actions, and the manual contains a very useful guide to the risks the internet can pose - something many home users may know nothing about.

Configuration is carried out via an easy to use wizard. This is split into five stages. Firstly, if you have home networking, you can easily create trusted and restricted zones. You can then instruct the product what to do with programs that need internet access. The transmission of private information, such as passwords or credit card numbers, can be restricted as well. If you are worried about what your children will see or do on the internet, the parental control option blocks specified URLs and chat rooms.

Norton Internet Security provides virtually everything a personal user could possibly need in terms of a security solution. Obviously it has the latest version of Norton Anti-Virus; its LiveUpdate facility ensures that signature files are always kept up to date, while its BloodHound technology offers a degree of heuristic scanning to detect those viruses not yet fully recognized. It automatically scans all removable media and documents.

At the network edge, you have Norton Personal Firewall, fully integrated with the other features. This offers ad blocking, an intrusion detection system and a spam filter. There is no content management but Norton Internet Security is very much an active rather than a passive system. You determine what is and isn't allowed in, rather than depending on the application doing it. Since bandwidth is unlikely to be a consideration for the home user, this is not a problem.

For the home user, this is an ideal product. It offers features to protect a home PC, and is also perfect for parents who want control over what their children are doing.