Norton AntiVirus 2011 18.1.0.37 - Free download and software reviews - CNET Download.com

Norton AntiVirus 2011

CNET Editors' review

The bottom line: You get less, for less. Norton AntiVirus 2011 offers the same core high-quality computer and networking protection features as its more full-featured sibling, Norton Internet Security, but it lacks some key Web protection features that users shouldn't really go without.

Review:

Editors' note: Portions of this review are based on CNET's review for Norton AntiVirus 2010.

Over the past few years, Symantec has completed a course reversal for its Norton consumer Internet security suites. The massive package of security tools works better than it ever has before, with an impressive set of features, some useful new tools including the free Power Eraser, and third-party security efficacy benchmarks that are nothing short of remarkable. Meanwhile, CNET Labs' performance benchmarks indicate that though Norton doesn't leave the smallest footprint on your system, users should see a minimal impact overall.

Norton Internet Security 2011

Installation
For the second year in a row, Norton's former sluggish beast now offers a smooth and fast installation operation. Once you run the installer, the program is ready to operate in about a minute--impressively fast, and doubly so considering past performance. The installation process is also the first time that you will interact with Quorum, Norton's behavior-based detection engine. You'll be asked to participate by sending anonymous data to Symantec's cloud. Opting out of the data submission, according to Symantec, will not affect your security.

Running the trial of Norton also requires registering the program. Like many programs, Norton used to force open your default browser and take you to the company's registration Web site. One of the new features in Norton AntiVirus 2011 is that the program comes with a Web interface for your desktop. Users first encounter this when registering, but it pops up in regular program usage as well, keeping users from being forced to open their browsers to manage certain Web-based features. Uninstalling the software left about 10 Registry entries behind, but no other traces were detectable. Overall, Norton's installation experience was fast and hassle-free, with a minimum of configuration options--but the ones that did come up appeared necessary.

Interface
Norton AntiVirus 2011 contains some changes to its interface, although the design is heavily reminiscent of the previous version. It keeps the dark theme, punctuated by yellow text, but moves the large graphic security status indicator from the main interface window up to the taskbar and system tray icons. As long as you don't mind the lack of empty space in the interface, it works quite well.

Tour Norton Internet Security 2011 (screenshots)

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Security controls have been condensed into two sections in the main window: computer protection and network protection. To the right of each category is a series of controls, which by default are all active. Click on one, and its gold indicator moves to the right and changes color to red to show that it's been deactivated. A window then pops up, asking for how long you'd like to deactivate the service. This cleverly resembles Windows 7's "postpone reboot" option for system updates, so even novice users should find it recognizable. Click on the name of a control, such as SONAR protection, and a pop-up appears summarizing what the feature does.

Below each category are several controls specific to that area of protection. So, under computer protection, there are text buttons for instantly initiating a scan, for forcing a virus database update, for accessing your History or Quarantine, and for viewing Application Ratings.

At the bottom of the interface is a wide, short map of the world covered with blinking yellow dots. Each one, according to Symantec, represents a threat to one of its users that has been successfully blocked. The visual is cute, but completely irrelevant to your personal safety. More interesting is that below the map there are two mobile-app-style buttons, one for Norton Online Backup and one to return to the map without having to jump into your browser.

Features and support
There aren't many new features in Norton AntiVirus 2011, or even new major features. What's changed is in how Norton presents its features--across the board the program is easier to navigate--and how the features operate.

The reputation-based security checks where your programs were installed from and when they were installed, and compares that data against the 58 million users participating in the crowd-sourced Norton Community Watch to see if any of your programs should be red-flagged. Norton's System Insight component has been bumped up to version 2.0, which is the proprietary internal network that warns you when your programs unnecessarily hog system resources. This gives some extra heft to the system performance map, where you can click on any spike and see what caused it.

The second iteration of Download Insight applies the same reputation-based logic to new downloads, and the third version of Norton SONAR (Symantec Online Network for Automatic Response) looks for suspicious software behavior and automatically chooses protective actions. You can toggle how aggressive SONAR is in the Settings window.

Internet suites have included system monitoring and repairing tools for some time. Through charts and settings windows, Norton lets you see its impact on your system, and how your system at large is doing.

(Credit: Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET)

Along with the Quick Scan, full system scan, and the custom scan for viruses and malware, you can now have Norton scan your Facebook wall for malicious links. There's also on-demand reputation-based Quick Scans, Full Scans, and custom scans for users who want Norton to immediately scan their installed programs. After completing a scan, Norton provides users with a summary report. More-detailed information, including scan duration and a deeper dive into threats discovered, can be read under the History option from the main window. There's also a link so that you can follow in case you believe that Norton missed something in its scan, although as the reputation-based protection matures, the need for on-demand scanning becomes less of an issue when compared with the "always-on" protection offered here.

The bootable recovery tool isn't new, but it now comes with a feature that automatically creates a CD, DVD, or USB-based bootable device. The USB component is especially important on optical-drive free systems such as Netbooks.

Norton continues to dabble in free security offerings, including the Norton Online Family parental controls, the "lite" version of Norton Safe Web, and the new Norton Power Eraser. Power Eraser is a new tool that will aggressively clean your computer of fake antivirus programs and other malware that prevents legitimate security tools from being installed. Unlike Norton Internet Security 2011, Norton AntiVirus lacks access to all of these. It also doesn't have an anti-spam guard, and lacks parental controls and identity protection tools.

Norton now offers a Facebook wall scan, for checking links on your wall to see if they're malicious.

(Credit: Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET)

As with the rest of the program, the support options have been streamlined behind a drop-down menu in the top right of the interface. Help opens local support, Tutorials takes users to a Web site with extensive how-tos, and the "Get Support" link accesses the breadth of Norton's customer support in a new window. Here, users can chat with tech support 24-7, explore the user manual, and check out the Norton FAQ and knowledge base. Phone support is also available, although Symantec takes part of the trend to make phone support harder to access by funneling users to online resources.

Performance
Norton's fast installation and comprehensive feature set would be useless without solid performance, and Norton AntiVirus 2011 delivers extremely high third-party efficacy benchmarks and strong performance benchmarks.

In a real-world test, Norton 2011 completed a Quick Scan in 47 seconds; the Full Scan took 1 hour 47 minutes and 13 seconds. CNET Labs' benchmarks found both Norton Internet Security 2011 and Norton AntiVirus 2011 to have performed well, although not as strong as some of its competitors. NIS 2011 slowed down the Labs' computer boot time by about 6.5 seconds, whereas NAV 2011 added a shocking 12.5 seconds.

However, Norton Internet Security had a very small impact on the computer's shutdown time, slowing it down only by half a second. Norton AntiVirus slowed shutdown by about 2.5 seconds. Scan times for both were reasonably fast in the Labs, whereas the iTunes decoding test results were fast, too. The Microsoft Office and media multitasking benchmarks, on the other hand, were slower, with Norton AntiVirus marking the slowest result on the media multitasking test. The Cinebench test saw both Norton AntiVirus and Norton Internet Security come the closest to having the least significant impact on the test, leaving a mixed set of results overall. That being said, Norton AntiVirus clearly had a bigger effect in our Labs than Norton Internet Security.

In independent threat detection and removal tests, Norton is a top performer. Since NIS and NAV share the same detection engine, we're comfortable applying these results to both programs. Dennis Technology Labs, a member of the Anti-Malware Testing Standards Organization (AMTSO), found in July 2010 that Norton Internet Security 2010 earned an overall protection score of 100 (PDF), tied with Trend Micro. The details of the test were just as impressive, with 40 out of 40 real-world threats defended against. By comparison, Trend Micro defended against 38 threats, but could only neutralize 2. Norton also had only two false positive warnings during the test, and no false positives that blocked legitimate programs.

In the AV-Test.org test on Windows 7 from the second quarter of 2010, Norton Internet Security 2010 scored 16 out of 18, with a 5.5 out of 6 rating in Protection and Usability, and a 5 out of 6 rating in Repair. Norton, Kaspersky Internet Security 2010, and Panda Internet Security 2010 were the only suites to score that high.

Security program Boot time Shutdown time Scan time MS Office performance iTunes decoding Media multitasking Cinebench
Unprotected system 42.5 11.28 n/a 917 180 780 4,795
Norton Antivirus 2011 55 13.6 892 1,045 198 948 4,780
Norton Internet Security 2011 48.91 11.78 890 1,028 199 861 4,780

*All tests measures in seconds, except for Cinebench. On the Cinebench test, the higher number is better.

The most recent AV-Comparatives.org tests showed more variance in results than other tests. In the On-Demand Comparative test from February 2010, Norton Internet Security 2010 scored in the highest category, Advanced+, with 10 other competitors. Norton was noted for having fast scan times and a low incidence of false positives, and for stopping 98.6 percent of threats it faced. In the Retrospective/Proactive test from May 2010, Norton did not do as well and only reached the score of Advanced. Eleven competitors detected more malware in the test than Norton did.

It's worth noting that there's some debate as to how useful the Retrospective/Proactive test is in a world where virus definition files become outdated hourly.

Following the path blazed by Norton 2009 and 2010, Norton continues to build a strong performance record based on excellent detection, fast scan times, and low false positives.

Conclusion
Symantec positions its antivirus suite, Norton AntiVirus 2011, as one of the best paid-license antivirus suites available. The tighter integration of behavioral detection, the easier access to Web-based premium features, and the impressive benchmarks make Norton AntiVirus 2011 a robust security option that people can put their trust in, although we question the wisdom behind making users upgrade to get spam protection.

Norton Antivirus 2013 - Protect your PC from viruses and online threats - Download Video Previews:

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All User Reviews
  • All versions:

    2.5 stars

    out of 682 votes

    • 5 star: 175
    • 4 star: 62
    • 3 star: 46
    • 2 star: 72
    • 1 star: 327
  • Current version:

    2.7 stars

    out of 60 votes

    • 5 star: 12
    • 4 star: 11
    • 3 star: 8
    • 2 star: 6
    • 1 star: 23
  • My rating:

    0 stars

    Write review

Results 1-10 of 60

  • 2.0 stars

    "User v Editor say it all. Power, NOT user friendly."

    August 27, 2011  |   By son0fhobs

    Version: Norton AntiVirus 2011 18.1.0.37

    Pros

    It's thorough, has tons of features, and does a heck of a lot. According to the reviews and reputation, it's supposed to be very secure

    Cons

    Lots. Primarily Speed. Norton seem to cut my computer speed literally in half. This is a brand new computer, 4gb Ram, etc. My guess is some conflict, but it shouldn't be an issue.

    Customer service, at least as a *potential* customer, was miserable.

    Summary

    If I had a product number/registration, I think contacting them would have been fine. Without, e-mailing was virtually impossible. The chat wasn't just difficult due to language barrier, I'm not sure he did what I asked at all! - unsubscribe me.

    I should be able to automatically unsubscribe. A security service sending spam is painfully paradoxical and ironic.

    However, this is all coming from someone who had a Trail version of Norton installed on a new computer, and never bought the full package. Speed was an issue on another paying customer's computer, at least one of my friends. Either way, there are superb FREE antivirus, antimalware etc. programs out there. No commitments, get what works.

    Find what you want, and see who will recommend a good combination.

    Threatfire is great with a myriad of other Antivirus - check out their website and it'll show good combinations. I have numerous antivirus/malware than I only turn on and do one time scans with. That way they don't conflict or take up memory. There's numerous superb firewalls (windows isn't great), I use zone alarm, the free version.

    Anyway, you get the point.

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  • 1.0 stars

    "slow down internet"

    August 20, 2011  |   By lahavyanai

    Version: Norton AntiVirus 2011 18.1.0.37

    Pros

    I bought it on sale

    Cons

    Slows down the Internet connection ,Very annoying.

    Summary

    I moved to the eset nod32 and I'm very pleased.

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  • 3.0 stars

    "powerful but not the best"

    August 16, 2011  |   By travis_podol_ski

    Version: Norton AntiVirus 2011 18.1.0.37

    Pros

    powerful detection and blocks phishing sites

    Cons

    very slow scans
    yellow interface blinds me
    doesnt find zero day malware as fast as others do even though it has a 5-15 min update and others dont!

    Summary

    good security if u dont get infected a lot but if u do get infected a lot, i would prefer a better 1 to block the infections. eset will always be the best

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  • 3.0 stars

    "Good Product . Update/Scan is too long."

    August 11, 2011  |   By royabrahamm

    Version: Norton AntiVirus 2011 18.1.0.37

    Pros

    Latest Updates/Protection are almost enured if you have trhe Automatic Live Updates Set.

    Cons

    Too Slow especially for live updates and full system scan.

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  • 1.0 stars

    "Avoid at all costs"

    August 3, 2011  |   By ant-iuser

    Version: Norton AntiVirus 2011 18.1.0.37

    Pros

    None at All

    Cons

    Installs malware

    Summary

    It's a thing that it's supposed to protect you from.
    It is full of ads.
    It uses your credit-card unounthorized.
    It's slowing down your computer.
    Even after you remove it, it will still make annoying popups asking you to buy their software. You cannot remove it by any normal means.

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  • 3.0 stars

    "Ok - does the job"

    July 22, 2011  |   By disciple3d

    Version: Norton AntiVirus 2011 18.1.0.37

    Pros

    High virus detection rate, reasonable interface

    Cons

    Very slow on older computers, quite expensive

    Summary

    It never ceases to surprise me how loyal people are to their anti-virus programs. For me, I have used many versions of Norton/Symantec products over the years.

    The best I have experienced is Symantec Corporate Edition (now Endpoint Protection) which stays out of the way and does the job. That is all anyone needs an AV program to do.

    As a computer repair engineer, I deal with many home users, using lots of different AV software. I have also read objective reports and tests on each AV solution to choose what to recommend to my customers. As such, I have a fairly wide understanding of the most recent versions of AV products.

    Norton is OK. Just ok. It has a good virus detection rate, it is reasonably easy to use. However, if you were to use Norton 360, you would soon get annoyed by it's constant whinging, and the memory and CPU waste it's programmers somehow felt necessary.

    Modern anti virus products often try to be too fancy, assuming themselves to be installed on newer PCs. If this is the case, then Norton is fine, not a bad choice. However, if you are running it on a PC 5 years or older (as many of my customers have) I would instead recommend Avast free. It performs much, much better, and has a good detection rate. This coupled with Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (free) is a good combination for picking up most viruses/malware. Don't bother with Norton, unless you have a newer computer. If you do, then it's worth a try, as the detection rate is slightly better than Avast and AVG. However, even then, I would find it hard to get excited about these days.

    Don't bother with newer versions of AVG 2011 - I have seen crashes, hangs, and damage to windows startup files with the recent versions. Their quality assurance and bug testing is nothing like as good as it used to be.

    Norton used to make fantastic products years ago, but these days, they are unremarkable. There are better newer anti-virus programs giving them a run for their money, and they really need to get back to basics - low resource usage, high detection rate, unfussy interfaces. That is what most of us would like in AV products. The only reason we actually need AV products is because of a lack of security in Windows (although it has certainly improved). Perhaps the future lies in not allowing any program to run amok on a system, just because it has been given administrator privileges temporarily. I hope Norton and larger companies develop sand-boxing and efficient technologies to allow better security in the future. Perhaps borrowing a few ideas from OSX Lion in that regard would help.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Norton products"

    July 19, 2011  |   By diamond2bseen

    Version: Norton AntiVirus 2011 18.1.0.37

    Pros

    good product

    Cons

    there aren't any

    Summary

    I don't know what kind of tech or computer people these people are either or what kind of software they are using but, its not Norton because thats all I use & I've NEVER EVER had any trouble with it & I've been using them over 15 yrs. I suggest you check the boxes you purchase the next time because its not Norton you buying...& I advise people not to let these techs work on their computers because they have no clue as to what they are talking about.

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  • 1.0 stars

    "Do Not Buy!"

    July 19, 2011  |   By ChicagoVW

    Version: Norton AntiVirus 2011 18.1.0.37

    Pros

    0 Pros unless you would like to spend 3 days with technical support.

    Cons

    0 Cons as likely your computer will crash, lose your browser and spend 3 complete days with tech support!

    Summary

    This is the 3rd time that I have bought Norton/Symantec product. Last week: (Day 1) I had just bought a new Toshiba laptop and my Dell desktop was using PC Tools Spy Doctor (free download). I had just bought Norton Internet Security 2011 and first uninstalled PC Tools Spy Doctor (it had worked fine) from my desktop. I downloaded the Norton I.S. Security into my Dell desktop and the software loaded fine and connected with Symantec. The problem was that when I closed the window I had lost my I.E. Explorer and about half of my programs. (Mind you they do not provide an 800 number to call them, no where to be found and at this point I do not have a browser to be able to get onto the internet to locate an 800 number. I called AT&T (my dsl provider) to get support and the problem was with my now "crashed" computer, they did provide an 800 # to call Symantec. I spent from 10:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. the first day, the first tech support lady told me to call Dell to have them send me the I.E. and she would call me back the next day. (anybody home in India?) I called immediately back and the 2nd tech had me go back to a previous restore point so that I could at least have a connection to the internet. At least I now had a browser. He installed the Antivirus software but still, I was missing major programs, getting error messages from PC Tolls because he did not remove this program properly, mind you I am instructing him to do this as he is remotely connected to my desktop. Day 2: I turn on the computer and more error messages, I spent a minimum of 5 hours trying to get my Dell desktop back up, retrieve programs, etc.. Day 3: More error messages, I call New Dehli back again and this tech guy at least was smart enough to reload PC Tools and delete it properly. That seemed to work until . . . I tried to open a program and now I am getting error messages from Adobe Acrobat, not running, etc.. All I ever wanted was my original computer that now I know will never be the same again. Finally this tech. transfers me to a tech in Eugene, Oregon (gee wouldn't that of been nice 3 days prior?). Well, Peter is a bit arrogant but with patience and minor threats: "well I don't normally do this, why am I so defensive, etc..) It appears the computer is back to normal I suppose. I did have Norton Internet Security installed just a year prior on same computer and of course Norton blames this all on me, I don't think so. Think again about buying Norton product, I pray that when my year is up I can uninstall Norton and never have to go trhough 3 days of hell again! Oh by, the way, before my year is up I will be contacting Norton to have a tech remotely remove Norton from both computers. And all you tecchies that praise Norton, be sure to cash your paychecks from them ASAP.

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  • 4.0 stars

    "IT'S ALL A MATTER OF GETTING IT PAID"

    July 4, 2011  |   By Igneel08

    Version: Norton AntiVirus 2011 18.1.0.37

    Pros

    In the bottom-line summary, please. It doesnt fit here.

    Cons

    In the bottom-line summary, please. It doesnt fit here.

    Summary

    PROS

    I don't know if some others here were serious of their reviews, but I believe you'll not really satisfy yourself with just a free version. Norton Antivirus 2011 is just... AWESOME! Though it has no multiple shields like avast pro 6, not as simple the interface as MSE, doesnt meet the heuristics enough like AVG...It has really superb features that would embelish other "free" antivirus products out there. Who can beat its intergrated cybercrime index database, with free alerts on zero-day attacks, latest scam and phishing activity in social networking sites such as facebook, and a statistical data regarding the number of infected cases of cybercrime throughout the world?

    I know, I know, i am not getting your idea that this should be more of a focus on personal security and privacy, and it will not really concern if you know some heuristic data from all over the world. But at least, you have gone global, and aware from a perspective of a society in macro level.

    About personal usage, first of all, it can be password-enabled for its settings. For any file or folder, Norton uses an advanced shell integration, the SCAN NOW option, and the INSIGHT NETWORK SCAN and NORTON FILE INSIGHT for individual or multiple file scanning. What I find useful here is that NORTON DOESN'T HAVE TO FULL RELY ON THE TRADITIONAL DATABASE OF UPDATED DEFINITIONS, MILLIONS OF USERS (SURE, MOSTLY NORTON USERS) ARE WITH YOU TO HELP IN YOUR PROTECTION. Acting as al large database, the file insight capability shows a report of how many users also downloaded what tou have downloaded, the date when the file was released, and a rank system that shows if it is a threat, holding, or safe. Note, EVERY file you have downloaded comes automatically with a file insight report pop-up. Very convinient, right?

    I wish to quote some of what "PCWORLD" has to say,

    "In malware detection and removal, Norton AntiVirus detected 98.7 percent of malware samples in traditional scanner-based detection tests (these tests rely heavily on signature-based malware detection). This is a very good score, but it trails the $50 Panda Antivirus Pro 2011, which detected 99.8 percent of samples. Norton also put up strong scores in the blocking of real-world malware attacks, blocking 24 of the 25 samples thrown at it, but it did miss one sample completely. No paid antivirus application we looked at fully blocked all samples, and only one scored higher than Norton on this test (Comodo Antivirus Advanced).

    Seriously, it topnotched, or is included to the best "PAID" antivirus programs. As I have said, you'll not really appreciate a free version of Norton, the fact you can only use it for a month with less features to be exploited.

    About the speed, I am inclined to say that Norton is prettty fast and commendable. It has an intelligence capability to bypass those obvious files which do not need scanning. Also, whenever your computer is in a state of "snail freezed", it will AUTOMATICALLY ALLOW YOU TO SEE WHAT PROCESSES OR SERVICES IN YOUR PC THAT IS EATING THE LARGE PART OF YOUR MEMORY, AS WELL AS ABUSIVE USERS OF YOUR CPU. It just pops-up, no need getting other programs. Only, you'll need to be that knowledgeable in confronting some complexity in the settings interface,

    CONS

    I'll repeat, my review relies on the basis that it is a paid version. Only got it for $20, and to think that is not really a CON after all! Internet sites spreadly advocates the CHEAP-PRICED Norton Antivirus 2011. But of course, we'll have different views on what "cheap" means.

    You may think because I am all positive-headed that I do not want to think that I paid for nothing. Of course, I'll admit some of its minimal cons. True, the quick scan is undeniably fast, but when compared the full speed scan to other normal antivirus programs, Norton may become lagged behind. But what's the catch here? If you considered lucky enough to get covers of malware and internet security, then chances are you'll not really need to make full scans so often, plus with its heavily-added features. The best that I recommend is to give Norton a companion, like a recommendable firewall, and a lot of system repairs and boosters, there's many out in the cyberworld. Plus, it is not that annoying because it communicates mostly well with other security suites and programs.

    But in my case, Norton cannot be found anywhere on the startup items, I guess it is automatic, or not at all. But good news is the Recoverable Boot Scan that can be used when you almost cannot open your pc because of the worst infections.

    Seriously, 1year of paid Norton service is a bit short, but think of the benefits it can give only because of your "awarded" habit of being inseperable from the internet and your screen..

    B-Line

    Do not have much to say. To conclude, I am just pointing my rationale as to why Norton SHOULD BE ONE OF THE DESERVING ANTIVIRUS PROGRAMS TO LIVE IN THE OPERATIONS OF YOUR PC.

    Regards, hope you all find this worthy.

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  • 1.0 stars

    "The worst program for your computer EVER!!!"

    June 9, 2011  |   By KeenTrager

    Version: Norton AntiVirus 2011 18.1.0.37

    Pros

    None
    None
    NONE

    Cons

    As a tech, I have personally had Norton, and in general all Symantec products, literally break PCs. This product causes the exact kind of problems it was "designed" to protect from, in most cases it is worse than viral threats.

    Summary

    It is a horrible product and for an antivirus program it is completely ineffective and dangerous! Do not download, install or recommend. If you do get suckered into purchasing this you can kiss your subscription money goodbye (which renews automatically without authorization BTW), and at least a couple hundred dollars in repair fees to someone like me, who is going to tell you that it was a bad idea in the first place. Symantec should be ashamed of this product...

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