So you buy Norton Antivirus for your computer, you install it and you know that for one year it will automatically look for updates and regularly scan your system for any problems…right…except when they decide to disable it without telling you! It happened to me a few months ago and everyone should be aware of why. I hope you will share this, you may not have Norton Antivirus but other people you know may do and are blissfully unaware that their computer is not protected.
I bought Norton Antivirus in England for my brand new laptop a couple of months before I started a round the world trip. As it neared its one year expiration date I got the usual reminders to renew, which I did in Cancun, Mexico at the end of May. The link took me automatically to the UK site and I purchased and installed my 12 month protection. I spent a few days in Cancun and then flew to Cuba where I spent a month. While there I connected to the internet only a handful of times as I was restricted by cost and availability. After Cuba I travelled to Canada and the US, connecting to the internet to access social media, email and banking whenever it was necessary.
A few months later in LA, I decided to do a full system scan instead of a quick one as with last minute travel, Christmas etc, I had been a little remiss keeping up with the scans; nothing happened. I tried and tried but there was no scan activation. I accessed My Account to be told my protection had expired. But this was impossible, I had bought one year protection and this was 8 months into the year. I tried re-entering the initial purchase code: your code is invalid. As I was in the US at the time, I phoned Symantec US, the company that produces Norton. I explained that I had bought their product via their UK site, gave them my purchase details and explained that somehow, their product was not working.
Nobody knew anything. Oh yes, it looks like we disabled your protection. Several weeks and many frantic phone calls later, I had gotten nowhere and was still unprotected except for a few days when I was given a temporary code. I had bought a product, they had taken my money but now they had disabled it and nobody knew why. The response of whoever happened to take my call varied in degrees of competence and interest. During one of such calls I did finally get an answer to a question I’d been asking for some time, when was my system disabled: last November. So for two months I’d not been protected.
Eventually I was contacted by someone in their Executive Escalations Team who had a story to tell. They’d had a lot of people accessing the system from US embargoed countries and as they were unable to tell who was a bona fide customer and who was hacking in, they decided to automatically disable any system who had pinged from an embargoed country during May, June and July. I explained neither the country whose passport I hold nor the one I am resident of have issues of embargoes with Cuba, furthermore I had purchased from a UK site. Doesn’t matter. Symantec is an American company and for purposes of embargoed countries treats the entire world as home soil. I asked why they had not at least emailed me to let me know they had disabled the product. Oh can’t do that, it is not practical, it would take too long to contact everyone plus we don’t want to alert those who have not bought the product that their computer no longer has the protection. And what about me? I bought your product. Sorry. You have put my computer at risk, how do I know that nothing came in and is lurking dormant only to activate at a later time? Well, how do we know it had not entered your computer before your antivirus was disabled? What do I need to do so this never happens again? Silence.
I was left stunned and speechless at their arrogance and the utter disregard they clearly have for their customers. A few months free protection does even begin to make up for their behaviour. Think of all the people who live in other countries, other continents and visit a US embargoed country for work or holiday unaware that if Symantec so decides their computer protection will be disabled at any given point in the future and they will not know about it. The lesson is to ALWAYS run regular checks on your computer to make sure everything is working. Be that as it may, everyone should be aware this particular section of small print.