Norton 360 has a confession (but it’s not guilty)

Whenever Norton 360 pops up with a note saying some program is taking too much memory, I always wish it would say, “Norton 360 is using too much memory.”

Not that I knew for certain that the antivirus program was eating my system resources and sucking my battery dry, but I always had a suspicion. After all, most of my laptop’s problems with incredibly short battery life and not going to sleep (therefore having to crash and restart) started shortly after I started using Norton in 2012.

But today I finally got my wish: I heard the hard drive whirring quickly while the computer sat idling beside me. I opened Norton (which has been bugging me to update my credit card information to renew its services before they expire) and clicked the “Performance” tab to see what exactly was causing all the commotion. And there it was.

n360.exe was using 81 percent of my CPU power.


Thank you, Norton, for finally admitting that the butler did it, that it’s an inside job, that YOU are the one using lots of my CPU power. At least this time, anyway.

But despite its confession, Norton is not guilty.

Sure, I caught it at a moment when it was using lots of CPU power. But what if it was using that CPU power to protect my computer from an intrusion at that very second?

The real guilty party would be anyone who has caused us to need an antivirus program in the first place. If no one had ever made computer viruses, malware, spyware, or anything of the kind, then we wouldn’t need to devote any of our CPU power to defending our data against viruses, malware, and spyware.

Oftentimes, the inconveniences we complain about are there to protect us. No one likes having to be delayed by a DUI checkpoint, but we are grateful for any drunk driving-related deaths that can be prevented through enforcement. We dislike taxes, but we might be grateful for them when the fire department rushes in and stops our every possession from going up in flames. As long as the power seized by the government (or our antivirus software) remains within limits that prevent it from being abused, we have something to be thankful for.

I don’t know whether I will be renewing my Norton 360 subscription before it expires, or if I will try another antivirus software instead. Or maybe I will even try out a Chromebook or another supposedly virus-resistant platform. But for now I am thankful for whatever protection Norton has given me in these past two years.

And I’m thankful for the confession. :-)