McAfee Internet Security PDF Print E-mail

McAfee Internet SecurityWith the digital world increasingly becoming an easy platform to hackers and data thieves to break in to users' computers and smart gadgets to steal their personal and confidential data, several companies have begun to offer cult, easy-to-use, yet comprehensive security solutions that not only block malicious software from entering their computers in real time but also protect their data from being damaged.

McAfee is one among such companies which has been successfully delivering tailor-made, advanced, and comprehensive security solutions to customers to help them stay protected and keep pace with the technology without being cheated and dodged by the term 'technology'. McAfee security solutions are widely used across the world by computer users due to their proven and enhanced security, reliability, customizability, and user-friendliness.

McAfee Internet Security is one of these comprehensive security solutions that add to the huge arsenal of McAfee's security suites. McAfee Internet Security is the successor of McAfee Internet Security Suite, which is an antivirus program for computers and smart gadgets. If you are thinking that McAfee Internet Security is an upcoming version of the previous year's version, then it's not. This year's version is already out for purchase and use.

Users can buy their copies of McAfee Internet Security from the McAfee website and install it on their computers. The method of installation is rather fast and easy. Here in this post, I'll do a quick round-up of the comprehensive security features in this year's version to help users know what these are.

Real-time Virus, Spyware and Malware Protection

In vogue and will always be, online shopping has become viral. Nearly 25-30% of the worldwide population is plagued by the fever of online shopping. People prefer to shop online rather queue up in grocery & retail stores. They prefer to bank online, pay bills, send medical diagnosis reports and consult with docs online, book travel tickets and do lot more. If all goes well, people may even begin to vote online to choose their favorite candidates. Our world is more digital and simplified now. However, in this simplicity lies a great and never-ending risk of your data being infected.

With a tremendous rise in the online shopping and purchases, the chances of online intrusions, data thefts, and attacks have also increased by three-fold. These infections and threats can permanently mar your experience with computers and the Internet. Thus it has become absolutely vital to keep your computer and the valuable digital possessions safe.

McAfee Internet Security brings you an all-in-one security solution that integrates the excellence and powers of three complete anti-virus, anti-spyware, and anti-malware solutions. You can say it's a three-in-one solution which builds 3 security layers around your computer to help keep it safe from all types of infections viz. viruses, spyware, and malware. Thus, you need not buy an additional anti-spyware or anti-malware to keep your computer protected from spyware, malware, Trojans, bots, rootkits, and worms among other infections. It's secured as well as big time cost-effective.

Best Features

There aren’t many security companies out there that can proudly boast the experience, reputation and history as solid as McAfee’s. Founded back in 1987, the vendor has been through pretty much the entire evolution of computer viruses, hence the precious expertise due to decades of dedicated malware fighting endeavors. No wonder McAfee stays on top of cybersecurity in a variety of its forms, delivering an extensive line of products for home and business.

The company’s Internet protection software underwent a very recent update, so we couldn’t miss the chance to test it from different perspectives and see what’s new and how good it performs. The product’s name is McAfee Internet Security. Interestingly enough, it had caused quite a stir among reviewers and the vendor’s fan boys long before its release was announced. That’s because of the expectations to see a refined and streamlined product in contrast to the previous builds which looked sort of old-school and didn’t exhibit much of a usability benchmark. Frankly, we were also more than curious whether these long-awaited changes are the case with the brand-new version, so there are definitely some verdicts to come up with.

As for the functional filling, McAfee has undoubtedly managed to keep their upgraded product competitive: it goes with virus and malware protection; anti-spam and email guard; parental controls; data protection and backup; home network defense; and certainly decent online browsing security instruments. The latter feature hits the point due to the world-famous SiteAdvisor service encompassing a huge URL reputation database. Having installed McAfee Internet Security you get SiteAdvisor add-on automatically embedded in your browser to monitor the domains you hit, so that’s another substantial advantage for those using this software.

Usability

Unfortunately, our excitement and anticipation to see a revamped and generally improved product was virtually to no avail. McAfee Internet Security looks basically identical to the preceding version and appears to have the same usability issues. Let’s look at this step by step though.

Our acquaintance with the software started with the setup, and that’s where we ran into the first complications. Taking into account the supported web browsers, we downloaded the 4.6 MB installer on Firefox version 15.0 (needs to be 4.0 or later). So it was quite a bit of surprise to learn that the file simply wouldn’t execute, which was accompanied by an alert saying: “You need Internet Explorer 7 or a later version to install McAfee software. Please upgrade and then try installing again.” Well, how about the system requirements stated on their official website? No matter what we tried doing, it never went through on Mozilla. Even the McAfee PreInstall Tool didn’t help – it only messed up the Firefox browser so we had to reinstall the latter. So we ended up doing the same on IE 7, and the setup finally began.

The time span for installation was not very competitive, taking a total of about 8 minutes in our case, despite stable and decent-speed Internet connection. Downloading installation files turned out to be the most time-consuming part of it – no wonder: the size is over 155 MB. During the process, you get a couple of intermediate dialog boxes, such as incompatible software removal window (which you can skip), and the one suggesting opt-in McAfee Customer Response program participation. Overall, installation was not trouble-free, to say the least.

Hoping to get a better experience exploring the user interface, we moved on to see how McAfee team did on that one. Well, the GUI turned out to be somewhat awkward-looking and non-standard, though quite functional. The home screen contains current security status bar whose color varies depending on whether your computer is safe or at risk. Statuses of Real-Time Scanning, Updates, Firewall, and Subscription are displayed there as well.

Bottom part of the interface contains the product’s feature arsenal: Virus and Spyware Protection, Web and Email Protection, Data Protection and Backup, PC and Home Network Tools, and Parental Controls. The way these are structured is a little unusual – you get a drop-down list within each set of features, displaying shortcuts for accessing sub-items, their brief descriptions, and “Learn more” buttons linking to the online McAfee Help resource corresponding to the selected option. The prime advantage of such design is optimized GUI space. The drawback is lack of intuitiveness. All in all, getting used to the interface is a matter of time and patience.

Furthermore, it would be kind of truth-stretching to assert that McAfee Internet Security is fast and light on the system. We did spot a slowdown during scans and updates. Also, exiting the features to return to the previous interface page by clicking the right-hand X button takes place with a lag you won’t fail to notice. Plus, scanning is more time-consuming than with most competing products we’ve reviewed: even Quick Scan took 14 minutes, while Full Scan was a 1-hour-long procedure.

Summarizing usability details of this software, it’s fair to point out that McAfee might have done a better job. Program setup may be accompanied by compatibility problems regardless of the declared specifications; the GUI takes time to get used to; scans are long; and there is noticeable system performance impact. A good thing is availability of fully functional 30-day evaluation version.

Features

Functionally, McAfee Internet Security is an attractive suite with the essential features in place. What it has in store is effective virus protection, exceptionally reliable online security instruments, data guard, and family protection.

  • Protection from viruses and malware is composed of versatile security components targeting different types of threats that may come from a variety of sources. The product is tough on viruses, Trojans, rootkits and spyware, delivering unfailing on-demand and real-time protection. Furthermore, accommodating anti-bot measures is McAfee’s great move, as a response to the growing trend of cyber criminals exploiting unsuspecting users’ computers in their large-scale attacks.
  • Safe searching and browsing is something McAfee is particularly good at. Its SiteAdvisor browser extension that goes bundled with the Internet security product is a powerful URL sandboxing instrument that prevents harmful websites from loading in your browser. This is an immense reputation based system that hardly any other can compare to.
  • Two-way Firewall monitors both in- and outbound traffic for potential risks of intrusion and data theft, so you can rest assured hackers fail accessing your system and your private information.
  • It’s common knowledge that removable devices are not only convenient to use, but they are perfect contaminants to use for malware distribution purposes. USB and removable drive scan keeps malicious payloads on portable media from executing on your PC.
  • Anti-Spam feature is intended to filter out dangerous and/or offensive emails that may pose threat to both your computer’s health and your identity. Emails containing attributes of spam, corrupt payloads or phishing get quickly identified as unsafe and blocked from being opened by the user.
  • Parental Controls is a flexibly customizable function that enables defining restrictions for online activities of other people who might be using your machine – this applies to kids in the first place. This feature allows you to block certain categories of web content that you deem inappropriate, and limit the time your kids spend surfing the Internet.
  • Surfing Report is sort of complementary to the previously described feature, making it easy to get complete web browsing stats such as login times, banned websites visiting attempts etc.
  • Personal data protection is made convenient and easy with McAfee Internet Security. The essence of this feature consists in the option of backing up your most valuable data to a 1GB secure online storage. These sensitive files get encrypted, password-protected and recoverable at any time.
  • QuickClean feature is meant for eliminating outdated, unused and redundant items in order to optimize system performance.
  • Shredder is an instrument for irreversible removal of sensitive information that might disclose your private details to third parties if accessed. The default locations to clean up are Recycle Bin and Temporary Internet Files; you can select other files at your discretion as well.

Efficiency

Judging from independent lab tests, McAfee Internet Security delivers decent protection against malware, but still falls behind many competitors by this criterion. According to the latest published review by AV-Comparatives, the product shows 94,7% summary protection score, which is generally good, but that appears to occupy 19th position out of the 21 tested applications. That being said, it has one of the lowest false positives rates in the industry.

From our perspective, the average user is not likely to lack protection while using McAfee, despite the not-so-high test scores. It’s important to understand that the competition in the Internet security niche is rough, and a couple of points do not make too much of a difference here – all products are good, and so is McAfee. In our test, this utility did not miss any infections at all – moreover, it detected one (Generic PUP.z!ed) which others failed spotting. In regards to browsing protection, the program works flawlessly, blocking all malicious URLs we deliberately attempted to visit. On the whole, we like the way this software copes with cyber threats: it detects and removes them appropriately, and does not annoy the user with false positives.

Help & Support

The structure of McAfee Help is split into 3 sections: Technical Support, Customer Service, and McAfee TechMaster. The latter comprising advanced paid services, regular support is accessible in several ways, being provided as both interactive and live help. Self-help opportunities are represented by McAfee Virtual Technician, as well as FAQ and knowledgebase search. The Virtual Technician is an application that checks your McAfee product for problems and fixes them automatically. Should you encounter an urgent case, live chat and phone support are at your disposal. Regarding the telephone contact option, it is free of charge but you don’t get the number until a form is filled out, with some personal details and problem description; by the way, same applies to live chat. There are also video tutorials at www.mcafee.com, but we found them somewhat outdated with regard to the Internet security suite in question. One more option to get help is through the Community, which is a dedicated forum. Overall, customer support is one of McAfee’s strong points.

Conclusion

McAfee’s spotless reputation extends over to their entire product line, the Internet security suite by no means dropping out of this pattern. The software we have reviewed is well assembled and relentless in its virus combating activity. Low false positives rate and plentiful feature set are on the plus side of the utility as well. Main disadvantages of McAfee Internet Security are usability issues and lack of external appeal. It significantly slowed down the system during scans and updates, not to mention the program setup problems we ran into from the start. We also believe adding some innovation to the interface would do McAfee a great favor. Nonetheless, there is no room for doubt when it comes to protection and functionality supplied by this software.

 

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