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Norton Secure VPN Install - No User Consent

Hello to the Norton community and Gurus,

Actively running the following:

****Windows 10 Pro; v1909; OS 18363.592

****Norton 360 Premium Std v22.19.9.63

****OpenVPN client (A well-documented, open-sourced, locked-down encryption, DD-WRT, and very reliable client that I have used for years that I am very happy with)

I have a question about the installation of Norton Secure VPN as part of the full Norton 360 install.

After having R&R'ed 4 times for other issues, there has been a consistent installation matter (which I consider a problem, but I'll let the reader decide) that concerns me on multiple levels.

When I updated 360 several months ago (the update that introduced the NSVPN), I was very disturbed to find that when the install had completed, I had the Norton  Secure VPN service installed, running, and set to autostart. Three subsequent R&R's revealed the exact same issue. I looked for a Norton Secure VPN escape mechanism before deciding to post this, but found none. Can a Guru confirm this? Can the same Guru confirm that my experience was not the result of a four-day lack of sleep?

Two main issues: I have a fundamental problem with software that does not employ full-disclosure to the user (there are some, actually. Microsoft, Adobe, Intel, etc. are not among them). I have a working understanding behind the benefit of having control over the PC that is installing an application that requires privilege elevation. When anyone consciously decides to launch an update installer for any application on thier PC over the Interwebs, they are of two models: 1.) They don't care about the origin of the update, or 2.) They trust that the update is what it proposes to be, and not a trojan dropper, encapsulated in encrypted IP packets from evil hackers.

So I say that "Trust" is a big deal. By definition, it is earned.

The second issue are the concerns I have for layering a secondary VPN on top of a primary VPN. Anyone who understands networks knows that this action will cause name resolution problems (DNS) and if local addresses are the same, then redirect problems (contention) and what happens when name resolution is non-functional? What about encryption? Why would an installer not check this before slathering more control over the subscriber's PC? I don't get it. Has anyone else seen this?

Sorry, but it's a bad idea to run more than one VPN at the same time on a single PC.

When I found (find, more properly) the Norton Secure VPN service running, I shut it down and disabled it. Then I found the uninstaller and made use of it. Had I not been using Norton products since 1984, I would not have chosen it. I am loyal to brands that treat me like a critically thinking individual, as opposed to a vegitable. A creature of habit I am, against the whispers from the universe.

I don't want Norton VPN on my PC. I would never have chosen it. I have a VPN that I like.

Never having fully enabled the NSVPN, which I believe includes visiting a website, all I do know is that the running service was installed, along with the framework and network adapter to enable it.


What compels Norton to furtively install a significant networking component on a paid subscriber's PC when they don't want or need one?

Where have you gone, Peter Norton?


Kudos1 Stats

Re: Norton Secure VPN Install - No User Consent

Unfortunately the VPN is bundled with the new Norton 360.  It looks like Norton AntiVirus Plus is the only Norton offerring that does not include the VPN, but the license only covers one device.


Windows 10 x64 1909 | Mint Cinnamon 19.3 | Solus Plasma 4.1 | Kubuntu 18.04

Re: Norton Secure VPN Install - No User Consent

Hey Krusty,

Yes, I checked that out. I have had a premium NAV subscription for years as I always have two to three PC's floating around, so in this case, it took me by surprise.

Everything else aside, I can't resolve that the installer did not detect the presence of my existing VPN and then ask. That really bothers me. If I was an unaware user, the install could have caused connectivity problems in addition to unnecessary CPU overhead.

I have been compiling a list for product suggestions, and I have added this observation.

Are you aware of any other posts that illuminate this?

Thanks very much for your insight and time.



Re: Norton Secure VPN Install - No User Consent

I don't read every post in the forums but of the ones I have read yours is the first mentioning that the member didn't know the VPN would be installed.  With no disrespect, some responsibility must lie with the user.  The user should be aware of what they are installing.  Though that is exactly why PUPs / PUAs are installed on unsuspecting users.

I do agree that there should be a check for compatibility with any existing VPNs.  I have seen posts about Norton Secure VPN causing issues there.  One example below.


That said, the company formally known as Symantec should offer the AntiVirus Plus with a multi-device license for those like you and myself who do not want the VPN.  I have the new N360 installed on one machine and use the VPN on that machine, but I have no need for it on this machine, which until the license expires, is still running Norton Security.

Perhaps you could add a suggestion to offer a multi-device license that does not include the VPN.

Windows 10 x64 1909 | Mint Cinnamon 19.3 | Solus Plasma 4.1 | Kubuntu 18.04

Re: Norton Secure VPN Install - No User Consent


I absolutely agree with you on all points, especially about user accountability. Please read about the context of the installation:

I have had a subscription to Norton AV for years, and it has been updated along the way, religiously. My history with Norton / Symantec had been such that I developed a strong trust in both to have the best interest of thier users at the forefront of thier products.

I am unsure of the version update that included the VPN, but when I updated my existing 360 installation, this is when I found the VPN. Norton did not warn me that there was a VPN included in the update. There was no dialogue about the detection of an existing VPN that could get hammered by the update. If I had known, I would not have updated until I communicated with Norton customer service. If I wanted to purchased the product and found that it had a VPN bundled, I would have gone to another vendor, like Kaspersky. Did I expect Symantec to tell me something I should have known? In retrospect, I believe this is true.

Thank you for the link to the conversation about ExpressVPN. I laughed a couple of times reading it, but it does beg the question: Does Symantec have the responsibility to protect the user from themselves? Does this end up being a matter of ethics?


Trust in Symantec was the root-cause of my VPN problem. After writing this I realized, because of that trust, I did not verify exactly what new or updated features were part of the update. Based on the massively comprehensive breakdown of my vigilence toward Symantec products, I blindly updated the application and the result was instantaneous resentment. Yes, I clicked "Install" under no duress, thinking that Symantec "has my back." I failed as an informed and literate PC and software user to perform due-diligence.

Therefore, your evaluation of the user's responsibility is inarguable.

I firmly believe, regardless of the install situation, that it is easy to detect a network adapter, and to parse that information to the user and allow them to make a decision to either remove the existing VPN and replace with Norton, or to bypass the Norton VPN installation. I would argue that this feature is reasonable, and has the best interest of the user in mind.

A multi-device license for a bundle with no VPN is a good idea. I have included this in my running inventory of product improvements. I doubt it will ever make it to the retail box, though. Demographics are the rule, not the exception.



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