Today, we continue our Security for Everyone series by reviewing another security app for Facebook - Norton Safe Web. This app is free and can also be used by people who don't necessarily use Norton antivirus or internet security software. Let's learn about how it works and how good or bad it is, from this quick review.
How to Install & Enable Norton Safe Web
First, go to the Norton Safe Web Facebook app. When you access the app, it automatically scans your news feed.
When done, a report is displayed, indicating the status of the links posted to your feed within the last 24 hours.
If you do choose to try Norton Safe Web as your day-to-day security app, you should enable the auto-scan feature. The initial report shown by the app, gives you the opportunity to do just this by pressing the Auto-Scan On button.
Enabling it does require you to specify if you would like Norton Safe Web to post publicly on your behalf.
What exactly do you allow it to post is not clear. In my testing it did not post anything, not even when friends of mine posted links to dodgy websites on my wall. Other security apps add a comment informing them that there is a problem.
What Does Norton Safe Web Do?
Your Facebook feed is now set to be scanned for threats every hour and Norton Safe Web will check links posted to your feed within the last 24 hours. It will also be scanned each time you access the Norton Safe Web app. Unfortunately, accessing the app, and reviewing the report, is the only way you will be notified of a threat. This is a far cry from the set-it and forget-it protection we've become accustomed to at the desktop level.
The Norton Safe Web report also includes a detailed view of each post in your news feed. You can sort the posts that were published using multiple criteria, in case you are interested.
When testing this app, I noticed another shortcoming: Norton Safe Web doesn't scan your wall. If someone posts dodgy stuff on your Facebook wall, Norton Safe Web seems to ignore it, which is not great.
Verdict - A Bare-Bones Security App for Facebook
The main role of Norton Safe Web, in the Facebook context, is to determine if the links posted to your feed might expose you to a threat and to collect data for Symantec. A scan of your feed is done each time you access the application; however, you can enable auto-scan which will scan your feed every hour. The downside of this app is that there are no proactive notifications in the form of a message or comment, if a link is indeed a threat. The Facebook user is required to access the app and view the report in order to determine if a link should be accessed or not.
Also, if you read its Privacy Notice, you realize that, from Symantec's perspective, this is mostly a data collection app, not a real security tool designed to be easy to use and useful to its users. It looks rather primitive and using it is anything but a pleasure. I definitely recommend that you look elsewhere for good Facebook security apps.