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Verizon's Security Software: Any Good?

I've had a lot of readers ask me what security software they should use on their PCs once they get hooked up with Verizon's DSL or Fios broadband service: Verizon's current program or the "Verizon Internet Security Suite."

Problem is, I've never subscribed to either Verizon's DSL or Fios. So, I've never used this combination of firewall, anti-virus, anti-spyware and Web-screening tools. I can tell people that at $4.99 a month, it doesn't seem like the greatest long-term value (especially when Windows XP and Vista include a firewall and you can use free anti-spyware and anti-virus software), but I can't speak to how well this suite does its job. So I thought I'd throw this one out there: If you are a Verizon customer and use the Verizon security suite, tell me how you like it. Does it update itself reliably? Has it let in any malware that it shouldn't have? Has it gotten in the way of any of your programs or home-networking tasks?

By Rob Pegoraro  |  December 7, 2007; 11:30 AM ET
Categories:  Telecom  
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Comments

Hmm, no experience with that either, but most of the "All in One" security products (Symantec, McAfee) are really bloated and can bring a 3 year old PC with 512 mb of Ram to it's knees.

Posted by: JkR | December 7, 2007 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Verizon is really pushing this. I was on the phone with them this morning changing my tv service package...Holy Smokes, they offered the suite about ten times while I was on the phone. "No thanks" went to "No" and then they wanted to discuss why I was declining. I already have a working system I use, no need to mung things up.

Posted by: Tina | December 7, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Hi,
I have been subscribed to Verizon ever since they first offered DSL and I am very happy with it. Verizon recently started offering Mcafee which is a very good protection suite, although through past experience I have found was not totally fool proof. Looking for something totally reliable, I finally came across a suite called "Stop Sign" by eAccelleration. Now, I don't get anything for saying this, I'm just excited with something that works as described. After over three years of experience with Stop Sign, I'm absolutely happy with it. It works as a background application unless called on for something special, auto-scans three times a day and upgrades automatically if needed with each scan. Support (includes telephone) is excellent and up to now, Stop Sign has been able to handle any onslaught thrown at my computer. Now that's what I call "total" computer protection! Try it, you'll like it

Posted by: Gerald Rudy | December 7, 2007 8:53 PM | Report abuse

This is a follow up after reading the comment about the three year old computer stalling with McFee. My computer is an old HP, P3/450 having 512 of RAM. Stop Sign chuggs along just fine in that machine. Try it, you'll like it.

Posted by: Gerald Rudy | December 7, 2007 9:02 PM | Report abuse

THe Verizon Internet Security Suite is a dream. Not only do I not have to worry about the updates (happens every 3 hours) it has protected my PC very reliably for the pas tyear. I have used other products before, and I am very happy with this one, especially since I have 3 teenage children, 2 boys and the parental controls have stopped the boys from going where boys will go on the internet. Overall, I am very happy with this product and the price is not really an issue, either. Now eith the teenage boys and internet gaming, you should try Verizon's unlimited games, too. My kids love that!

Posted by: David | December 8, 2007 4:56 AM | Report abuse

I use the McAffe Security Center/Spy Sweeper offered free with Verizon Fios. It is fully featured, and seems to work quite well. It offers site advisor, as well, which explains exactly why it flags a site when it does. It never slows down my system, but then I do have 2GB of ram. I can't see paying for anything when I have this perfectly good suite for free!

Posted by: dgllai | December 8, 2007 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Rob

I recently switched away from Verizon Land Line & Internet capabilities. What I did learn while a customer was that 'as a rule,' while Verizon's technical support was usually readily available, I had opted for the bundle which included Verizon-Yahoo. The other option was Verizon-MSN.

I repeatedly observed basic skill levels ONLY by most of the technical staff and whenever an issue even collaterally involved Yahoo, I was transferred to Yahoo -- a process that NEVER resulted in less than a 15 minute wait MINIMUM. Often even the Yahoo combined technical support also didn't have an answer and when that happens AT SOME POINT you will get 'accidentally' disconnected.

After I guess it was the FCC, noted that Verizon Online had been over billing customers, I discovered over billing of almost $100 in under a year. Now when I challenged the over billing, I was promptly given credit, but my land line account was then more than 60 days overdue, so Verizon Land Lone went in and grabbed the Verizon Online credit without disclosing this to me, which resulted in, among other things, my Verizon Online account getting disconnected. Of course even though all Verizon companies, land line, Online & wireless are separate entities, once they snatch your money their 'fine print' [they claim] apparently entitles them to keep it.

So, I switched BACK to Earthlink for Internet and VIOS.

Now had to folks in Verizon customer service not taken the view that you are always wrong and they are always right, I probably would have stayed with Verizon, but having been a customer with Verizon for over 20 years of land line usage, this ATTITUDE and the Verizon created RED TAPE for why they could snatch a refund from any of their companies, but could not amicably resolve a simple straightforward refund issue just left me livid.

Oh and one other thing. Verizon has a linking arrangement with Yahoo and MSN, where one can switch from Verizon Online to Yahoo/MSN with the simple click of a mouse BUT that connection can only be disengaged a maximum of 5 times and then the software will not allow a reconnect on the 6th occasion. 5X can result from customer 'testing,' modifications, etc, but APPARENTLY EVEN GOD HIMSELF cannot override the 5X limit -- certainly Verizon technical folks can't override it YET THE CUSTOMER IS NOT EVER WARNED IN ADVANCE of the limit.

So even if you take advantage of the Verizon-Yahoo, or Verizon-MSN link feature, it becomes COMPLETELY NONEXISTANT after 5 disconnects and that aspect of the service and convenience is then PERMANENTLY LOST.

I just got the impression overall that Verizon Online was not yet ready for prime time and this was less than 1 year ago.

Oh yea, they still have their collection agencies trying to get the alleged $100 or so that they claim I still OWE THEM [sic.]

Verizon never use to report late payments to the 3 major credit bureaus either, but as of lately, they are reporting EVERYTHING.

There are enough credit issues that arise in life as of course without by phone-Internet provider also trying to screw me. The minute that Verizon Wireless starts to pull that kind of stuff, is the minute that I will also find another wireless carrier.

Posted by: brucerealtor | December 9, 2007 1:23 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of security suites in general:

I use Norton Internet Security 2008 on a 2002 computer with only 512MB or memory, and have no performance, or other, complaints. My understanding is that Symantec has worked on improving perfomance in the last two versions of NIS. As for effectiveness, NIS08 is a PC Magazine Editor's Choice. In it's default configuration, it's a "nonchatty" program, that just does it's job in the background.

Posted by: JohnJ | December 9, 2007 9:54 AM | Report abuse

I had Verizon security and it was awful. My PC was fried within a week :( I had to pay to have it fixed. I found out about a free firewall from Comodo that works better than many paid versions . I have used it now for over 3 months and it really works. My PC has not gotten anything that I know about. Verizon - no way. This comodo firewall is great.

Posted by: Rachel | December 10, 2007 12:07 AM | Report abuse

I signed up for Verizon DSL a couple of months ago. I assumed their security suite was one of those things companies do to make money when they're selling the basic service cheap. I wouldn't want to trust Verizon with the security of my computer. All I want from them is reliable connectivity (and so far, I've gotten that).

I've been quite satisfied with my combination of Sygate firewall, AVG antivirus software, Spybot Search & Destroy, and Ad-Aware (all free). They worked for me on dialup, and they work just as well on DSL.

I'm sure many people would prefer a suite of applications, rather than several stand-alones, but my experience with Norton's is that it causes problems. It came installed (for 90 days, I think) on my Toshiba laptop and on my mother's Dell desktop, and in both cases, it caused instability and in my mom's case, her new printer wouldn't work until I got rid of the Norton thing. So I'm biased against security "suites." I prefer to find good, well-reviewed single apps and install them and configure them and update them myself.

Posted by: BW | December 10, 2007 9:32 AM | Report abuse

I have had Fios since May and despite going over the bill every month I failed to notice the $4.99/month Internet Protection Suite on my bill until last month.

Since I only use Macs, and they only protect PCs, it was a mystery to me and customer service how it got on there.

To Verizon's credit, they gave me back all six months' of charges without any real debate. I'm not a big fan of Verizon (it's only in relation to Cox & Comcast that Verizon looks good) but in this case they did the right thing.

Posted by: Perly_Gates | December 10, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Whether you like Verizon Internet Security; I warn you not to trust the people at Stop Sign. I installed there software on my computer. You did get spyware with there software. How do I know this. I do use other security packages. If you don't believe me download their software , and then scan it with Super anti-spyware(free from superantispyware.com, AVG from Grisoft, and Mcafee Internet Security. I also use Finjan Secure Browsing from finjan.com which protects me from malicious code on any webpage. I also use callingID from callingid.com to tell me who owns any web page I visit. As of right now it is impossible for me to get any kind of a virus, trojan, or rootkit I still have to put up with tracking cookies no matter what I do. I have to daily getting rid of them. Trust no one.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 10, 2007 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Verizon works very closely with MS to ensure that they use only the best there is!

http://fakesteveballmer.blogspot.com

Posted by: steve ballmer | December 11, 2007 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Verizon's security suite is a bloated pig. Their service monitors likewise. In my home pc services, where I'm not called in to oversee Verizon's techs I advise folks to set a restore point just prior to Verizon's FIOS techs' arrival. Upon their departure, simply restore your machine back to that point, and the entire destructive effect of Verizon's visit on your PC will be erased. There is no need for any of their software other than marketing and their own services. I advise the use of AVG-Free, the Windows Firewall, regular Windows updates, and caution opening attachments.

Posted by: JimChristian | December 12, 2007 1:42 AM | Report abuse

well, i can tell everyone this much. Verizon Internet Security Suites (VISS)is probably one of the best out there. Don't get me wrong McAfee, Trend Micro, Norton, etc. all excellent tools to protect your computer. I've used them all myself. as far as cons. they sometimes tend to slow the computer down especially when updating, I've noticed NORTON to be the worst for this in my experience in using it. A couple unique advantages to VISS is that it works in the background as to help prevent slowing your PC down, it is hardly noticable. And in comparison to the 8 hours others update, VISS updates every 3 hours. Also at 4.99 per month for 3 PC's (9.98 for 6, and 14.97 for 9) the price is comparable to that of McAfee and Trend Micro, and honestly (don't get me wrong)blows norton's price out of the water. So do i recommend Verizon Internet Users to try out VISS i say definately a good choice and is just as good as the others and perhaps better and Verizon offers it free for 30 days too i believe. So give it a shot.

Posted by: vmajr | December 26, 2007 3:35 PM | Report abuse

ok...u all are right about the running in the background, not slowing down part. However, I've found many issues with Viss!!! Listen up before you purchase!!! It depends on what you use your internet for as to whether you'll ever have problems. If you never take advantage of free programs off the web, then Viss is good, but what the hell do you need security for. If you like free software, WATCH OUT! COMPATIBILITY ISSUES with almost everything. Also their techs can't figure anything out. They thought I had a virus and spent 3 hours connected to my computer. After they gave up, and said take it somewhere, I fixed it. The problem was that I had downloaded a free video editor that came bundled with systemsafe. Viss hates any other security so I deleted the program, but not the shared file it attached itself to. My computer went completely wonky!!! I lost Viss and couldn't reinstall, couldn't shut down properly (got log off options), weird dos screens popped up constantly, ect... I agree with the techs that it seemed like some kind of malware, but I fixed it through software by installing systemsafe again and uninstalling but deleting the shared files. Then I could reload Viss and all my problems went away. In case you think I'm nuts, Viss tech support (actually cintrix) called the next morning to say after talking with radialpoint (original creators of Viss), they were sure it was poorly written software (refering to Viss), not a virus. This was the second time that Viss was responsible for malware-like symptoms. I canceled and have had less problems just using microsoft's xp crap and scanning once a week.

Posted by: lrm | December 29, 2007 6:31 PM | Report abuse

I recently became a Verizon DSL subscriber and since my Norton Internet Security subscription was about to expire, I decided to give Verizon Internet Security a try. At first I thought it was fine, but there were some minor annoyances such as scans running when not scheduled, annoying pop-ups in the taskbar and an instance of the firewall disabling itself without my knowledge, leaving my PC wide open for several hours before I discovered it. To Verizon's credit, the program did check for and install updates every 3 hours and did an excellent job of finding and removing spyware. However, in light of the other glitches, after a couple of weeks, I did not feel I could trust this product and installed Norton Internet Security 2008 which works very well on my 4-year-old Dell Dimension with Windows XP. It does not seem to have much impact on my computer's operation except for perhaps slower re-booting times.

Posted by: cmm | December 31, 2007 1:25 AM | Report abuse

I am a Verizon-Yahoo user who uses McAfee's security suite and is getting harassed to change to Norton's by Verizon-Yahoo with constant warnings that my computer lacks crucial security. Not true! I have been very satisfied with McAfee's protection again and again. And I won't use Norton's as several years ago I failed to receive a promised rebate and all efforts to reach someone by e-mail and phone to discuss the situation ended in being referred to other numbers or email addressess until I was back at the first and the run-around stated again. After posting a complaint on a consumer site, I was contacted by others with the same experience. They were considering a class action suite but I have not heard that they have done so although I had kept meticulous records and made them available to them. Needless to say, I won't do business with Norton's and I can't get Verizon-Yahoo to discontinue trying to get me to download it. I've asked them to stop and explained why--but the harassment continues. Why would a company offend good customers who clearly say "NO!" to them. It's not good business as I've gone from being a happy customer to being unhappy and warning others to avoid Verizon-Yahoo.

Posted by: Karen Gray | January 1, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

I've used the suite for the past few months. For my moderate internet use it seems OK. It was difficult to initially install and required assistance from Verizon techs over the phone. They were helpful, but it took a while. Now there is apparently a system-wide problem with it. I spen all New Year's Day on the phone with Verizon unsuccessfully trying to fix the problem. It lies with their third party server. I understand that it is being attended to. But meanwhile, my security suite is inactive. Anyone else have this problem?

Posted by: John Collins | January 2, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Please refer to my 12/31 post above. That must have been what happened to me when I lost my firewall. I was only 2 weeks into my 30-day free trial, so removed the program and installed Norton Internet Security 2008. After reading your post I'm glad I did that, it's not good to have an inactive firewall. Thanks for the update.

Posted by: cmm | January 2, 2008 8:29 PM | Report abuse

I was initally wary when Verizon's protection suite changed from the CA-based package to Norton. Now I know why- it takes my PC much longer to start up, even after doubling my RAM to 2 GB. I am also (and I blame myself) unaware of a $4.99/month online security charge, if I am being charged. I thought at the time it was included. I guess that soon I'll be looking for other utilities that will do the job with less of an impact on my system.

Posted by: TJG | January 4, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Well I have to put my agrevation into writing! I too spent the last 3 days in computer HELL! We just switched over to Verizon Fios on Dec 29th for phone, internet and TV. I have to tell you that I love the quality and speed. So, "unfortunately", I decided to give the Security Suite a try last week. Let's just say that I have been using Norton system works and Zone alarm for years and the old adadge "if it ain't broke,don't fix it" really held true in this instance. I have spent the past week trying to fix my internet connections and e-mails issues. Ever since I installed the suite, I can't get that window to stop poping up for no reason at all. I keep getting the message to unistall Norton System works even though I have disabled everything and I refuse to uninstall a program that I use for utilities other than security. Even though I have added all of my trusted sites and programs I still can not run them. (i.e. I am no longer able to get udates to my Registry Mechanic) I have sent numerous e-mails to verizon help and keep getting the same "FAQ's" sent back to me. The techs can't even figure out why they can't get into my computer after I installed their "Assistant". I have had it!! I am going to cancel this service and reinstall my Zone Alarm and Norton. Think about it folks. My subscription to Norton is $25 a year and Zone alarm is $25 a year. At $5/month Verizon is charging us $60/year. I can't deal with this agrevation. I would rather put up with the extra 10 seconds it takes for things to load than the days I have spent trying to get into my regular programs.

Posted by: KRM | January 8, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Since getting FIOS about two years ago I've had a free internet security suite through Yahoo as part of my "primium" package. It was run by CA but recently I rec'd alerts to upgrade to Verizon Yahoo Norton. I ran the installer and was told I had to uninstall existing, which I did. I ran the installer again but the darn webpage that comes up with preselected downloads, DOESN'T ALLOW ME TO SELECT THE DOWNLOADS the checkboxes are disabled. Meanwhile, I did it perfectly on my daughter's laptop. Service doesn't know anything about it and can't help. I've been told to contact YAHOO.. 1 mos without any security!

Posted by: Bill | January 8, 2008 10:41 PM | Report abuse

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