A home security system protects you and your stuff with high-tech locks, motion sensors, and alarms. But burglars are resourceful, so you also carry insurance for your home and belongings. Norton 360 with LifeLock Select brings that combination of security and insurance into the digital realm. For security, you get the excellent cross-platform Norton 360 security suite, which includes a full-featured VPN, hosted online backup, and more. On top of that, this software adds LifeLock’s insurance against the crippling effects of identity theft.
- Includes LifeLock identity theft mitigation and no-limits VPN.
- Excellent security protection.
- Supports Windows, macOS, Android, iOS.
- Virus protection promise.
- Security protection limited on iOS devices.
- No parental control or backup for macOS.
- Cannot actually prevent identity theft.
Whether you need both is something you’ll have to decide for yourself, but the company is betting that you’ll want the combination. It even sold the old Symantec name (along with its enterprise business) to Broadcom. The new company name is a somewhat awkward portmanteau, NortonLifeLock.
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Considered strictly as a cross-platform security suite, Norton 360 with Lifelock looks expensive. At $149.99 per year, it costs $50 more than Norton 360 Deluxe and gets you the same five security and VPN licenses. That same $149.99 per year price gets you 20 licenses to install Kaspersky Security Cloud on all your devices. Bitdefender Total Security gives you 10 licenses for $99.99 per year.
Panda Dome Premium, with price points including $274.99 per year for 10 licenses and $334.99 for unlimited licenses, costs more than Norton, but most suites go for much less. For example, you can install McAfee Total Protection on unlimited devices for $119.99. All these prices are often deeply discounted, but only for the first year.
Things look rather different when you consider that Norton gives you both cross-platform security and LifeLock identity-theft mitigation. Norton offers a dizzying array of LifeLock price points, but even at the lowest protection level, LifeLock alone costs more than $100 per year. That makes adding LifeLock to Norton 360 for an incremental cost of $50 look like quite the bargain—provided LifeLock is something you want.
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The cross-platform security protection you get with this product is exactly the same as Norton 360 Deluxe, with a few very small exceptions. The LifeLock-equipped edition offers a few more options in its Dark Web Monitoring, and gives you more hosted online storage for your backups. Other than that, the security programs and apps that you install on your Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS devices are unchanged.
That being the case, I’m not going to recap or summarize my review of the no-LifeLock security suite. Please read that article for a full understanding of the security component of Norton 360 with LifeLock and what it brings to the various platforms. Then come back here to learn what you gain by adding LifeLock.
A Game of Numbers
Norton offers three distinct product tiers that combine security with LifeLock. On the security side, the difference between the tiers is strictly a numbers game. Each tier gives you more licenses for Norton security, more licenses for VPN protection provided by Norton Secure VPN, and more storage for your online backups. The tiers also differ in degrees of LifeLock protection; I’ll cover those differences below.
As noted, you pay $149.99 per year for Norton 360 with LifeLock Select, reviewed here. That gets you the same five security and VPN licenses that you get with Norton 360 Deluxe. You also get 100GB of storage for your backups, twice as much as with the no-LifeLock edition.
At the next level, paying $249.99 per year gets you Norton 360 with LifeLock Advantage. That $100 upgrade kicks your license totals up to 10 for security and 10 for the VPN. With all those protected devices, you’re likely to need more storage for your online backups. Fortunate, you get 250GB at this level.
The top tier, Norton 360 with LifeLock Ultimate Plus, costs $349.99 per year, which is quite a lot, but in turn it offers quite a lot. At this level, there’s no limit on the number of devices you can protect with local security and VPN. You can install Norton on every device you own. And your hosted online backup storage doubles, to 500GB.
That top-tier price far outstrips run-of-the-mill security suite pricing, with very few exceptions. Panda’s products do come with an unlimited-license price, and its top product, Panda Dome Premium, costs $334.99 per year at that license level. That’s almost as much as Norton’s top tier, with no identity protection component.
On the other hand, McAfee Total Protection specifically protects every device belonging to every person in your household, on every popular platform, for just $119.99 per year, and it does include an identity theft component. Total Defense, Trend Micro Maximum Security, and BullGuard all offer 10 licenses, which for many users is as good as unlimited, at that $99.99 price point.
Here again, LifeLock is the difference. LifeLock Ultimate Plus by itself costs more than $300. That’s $200 more than you pay for Norton 360 with LifeLock Select, true, but it gets you the top tier of LifeLock, and you also go from five to unlimited licenses for device security and VPN.
In years past, Norton, Webroot, and a few others settled on 25GB as the amount of backup storage to offer along with a security suite. I’m pleased to see Norton’s current product line reflecting the fact that a serious backup plan requires way more storage. At the most expensive level, Norton comes with 500GB of storage, which finally approaches what you get with dedicated online backup services. For example, Editors’ Choice IDrive costs $69.50 per year and gives consumers 2TB of hosted storage, for use on unlimited devices. True, that’s four times Norton’s storage, but it’s 80 times Norton’s old 25GB limit.
When you play Norton’s numbers game, you must stick to the rules. The numbers for each tier are fixed, with no substitutions. If you need more than five security licenses, more than five VPN licenses, or more than 100GB of storage for backups, you must upgrade to the next tier. If 10 licenses won’t do it, you need the very top tier.
What Can LifeLock Do?
From the name, you might imagine that LifeLock locks up your private information in a safe, keeping out identity thieves. As it turns out, that really isn’t possible. What LifeLock and similar services do is alert you the moment they detect that your identity has been compromised, and help you deal with the fallout. After examining several such services, we remained undecided whether you really need to pay for such identity protection.
By itself, LifeLock comes in three main tiers, with many, many small variations. For this review I looked at Norton 360 with LifeLock Select, the lowest tier. Norton supplied me with an impressive chart detailing just what services and features you receive at each tier.
You can’t do anything about identity theft until you know it has happened. At the Select level, LifeLock monitors your credit with one of the major bureaus, but that’s just the beginning. It watches for unusual activity with lenders, and with social security. It warns you of USPS address change requests, as identity thieves may use fake address changes to divert your mail. It crawls the Dark Web looking for traces of your personal information. And it gives you a handy mobile app for transparency into its activities.
LifeLock also aims to cut down on those annoying preapproved credit offers, which are so handy for identity thieves. And its Lost Wallet Protection walks you through all the actions you need to take when your driver’s license, credit cards, and so forth fall into someone else’s hands.
If the worst happens and you do fall victim to identity theft, LifeLock’s US-based experts and 24/7 support line are there to help you recover. Norton touts its Million Dollar Protection Package, meaning that it will spend up to a million dollars on lawyers and experts to get your life back on track after identity theft. In addition, the company will reimburse you for up to $25,000 in stolen funds, and $25,000 in personal expenses directly related to identity theft.
Million Dollar Protection also applies at the Advantage and Ultimate Plus tiers, and the maximum reimbursement for stolen funds and personal expenses rises. At the Advantage level, you’re covered for up to $100,000 each for stolen funds and expenses, and at the Ultimate Plus level, for up to a million. Those at the Ultimate Plus level also get priority support.
Upgrading to a higher tier also enhances monitoring, in several ways. Where the Select level offers credit monitoring with one bureau, the Advantage tier adds an annual credit report from one bureau. Ultimate Plus users get those same services from all three major bureaus, along with monthly credit score tracking. Other monitoring services at higher levels include scanning court records, alerts on unusual financial activity, tracking of possible bank account takeover, and even sex offender registry reports.
Other security companies have their own takes on enhancing their security suites with identity theft protection. For example, BullGuard partners with Experian to offer identity protection in BullGuard Premium Protection. It aims to give you early warning if your personal data shows up on the Dark Web or in data exposed by a breach.
All of Check Point’s ZoneAlarm products, from the free firewall to Check Point ZoneAlarm Extreme Security, come with one year of personal data protection supplied by partner Identity Guard. It offers early warning alerts if your data is exposed, along with identity theft assistance.
Among other suites offering an identity protection component, McAfee Total Protection seems the most thorough. As part of your subscription, you get McAfee Identity Theft Essential, a version of the extra-cost McAfee Identity Theft Standard that omits credit monitoring and financial reimbursement. You still get 24/7 support, lost wallet help, web monitoring, and more. McAfee even checks your own posts to warn if you’re revealing more than you should.
If your security suite includes a service that watches for signs of identity theft, you may as well use that service. Still, we haven’t concluded that such monitoring is a necessary feature for a top security suite. One thing’s for sure—Norton’s LifeLock protection goes beyond what competing products offer.
Hands On With Norton and LifeLock
Buying a Norton 360 with LifeLock subscription is a little more complicated than buying a plain security suite. You must submit your credit card details for payment, of course, but it also asks for your address, Social Security Number, date of birth, and mobile phone number. Get used to giving LifeLock all your personal details, as it needs them to protect you. There’s an invitation to extend LifeLock protection to your spouse, children, or other adults (at an extra cost, of course). Choose monthly or yearly billing, indicate whether you want alerts via phone call or text message, and you’ve completed the initial setup steps.
As part of the setup process, I installed Norton 360 on my test system. The only noticeable difference from the no-LifeLock installation was in the My Norton dashboard. Instead of Dark Web Monitoring, the dashboard now showed LifeLock ID Theft Protection.
Opening LifeLock online to the Dashboard tab, I saw an encouraging green checkmark, with the news that I don’t have any outstanding alerts. Scrolling down, I encountered an offer to manage credit freezes. New since my last review, LifeLock can help you freeze bank and utility accounts, so identity thieves can’t open bogus accounts in your name.
Another panel pointed out that I don’t have credit score tracking or transaction monitoring, and suggested I upgrade to get those services. It clarified that I do have privacy monitoring, meaning Norton can check various data brokers to see if my personal information is compromised. I clicked to give it permission for the search.
LifeLock turned up nothing relevant, just the name of a distant cousin. That’s likely because I’ve used Abine DeleteMe to clear my data from brokers. DeleteMe not only finds your personal information on data broker sites, it automates the process of getting that information removed.
At the bottom I saw the same collection of personal data for Dark Web Monitoring that I encountered in the basic Norton suite. These include Bank Accounts, Credit Cards, Driver License, Insurance, Mother’s Maiden Name, Email, Phone, and Address. You can choose to track one driver license and mother’s maiden name, up to 10 credit cards and bank accounts, and five apiece of the remaining data types.
As noted, I had no outstanding alerts, but the Alerts tab did reflect one “historical” notification. Clicking for details revealed that my full name, address, and password may have been exposed by Experian several years ago. Given that I expose my full name every time I write an article, that one didn’t worry me. And I changed my password ages ago.
The Credit and Transactions pages proved mildly disappointing. They simply reiterated the dashboard’s warning that my lowly subscription does not include credit scores, and reports, and doesn’t monitor my financial accounts for suspicious activity.
There wasn’t much I could do on the ID Restoration tab. Had I experienced identity theft, I would have used this tab to stay in touch with the dedicated LifeLock agent working to resolve that incident. No incident means nothing to see.
The most informative tab proved to be the one titled Monitored Info. This tab provided a one-stop list of all the data I entered for monitoring. This included my SSN, birthdate, address, and phone, verified at the time I signed up for the service. It also listed all the data I had entered for Dark Web Monitoring.
Finally, a section on contact preferences let me verify or change my email and phone number, indicate whether I’d accept communication via text message, and define a verbal passcode to be used in phone communication with LifeLock. That passcode makes sense; the last thing you want to do is review your most private details with a fake LifeLock agent.
Doesn’t Enhance Security
A subscription for Norton 360 With LifeLock Select gets you precisely the security protection that comes with Norton 360 Deluxe, and that’s a good thing. Norton 360 Deluxe is an Editors’ Choice for multi-device security, distinguished, among other things, by great test scores and a VPN with no annoying limits. Adding LifeLock doesn’t enhance your security, though. It just helps you pick up the pieces after an attack on your identity. And it’s expensive, especially at the higher tiers. Unless you had already planned on getting LifeLock, the straight Norton suite is a better deal.
If you need protection for more than five devices, Norton’s system forces you into one of the upper-tier LifeLock-equipped subscriptions. Don’t want that? Consider Kaspersky Security Cloud, our other Editors’ Choice for cross-platform security suite. For the same price as Norton 360 with LifeLock Select, it lets you install top-notch security on as many as 20 devices.
Norton 360 With LifeLock Select
Includes LifeLock identity theft mitigation and no-limits VPN.
Excellent security protection.
Supports Windows, macOS, Android, iOS.
Virus protection promise.
In addition to providing thorough cross-platform security, Norton 360 with LifeLock Select aims to help you recover from the crippling effects of identity theft.