These days, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to security bundles. To the ever-growing list of these is now added CA ISSP (Internet Security Suite Plus) 2008.

CA Internet Security Suite Plus 2008 is a very different beast to the previous version, with significantly more modules than before - seven versus four. So as well as a firewall, antivirus, antispyware, antispam and parental controls you also get data migration/data backup tool plus a website inspector to identify dodgy sites.

Mostly these are 'bought-in' components so some of them feature user interfaces slightly at odds with their compatriots. Absent is any protection for webmail or IM clients. Nevertheless, the new features plus the fact that it can be installed on three PCs makes CA Internet Security Suite Plus 2008 much better value than before.

Installation of CA Internet Security Suite Plus 2008 was slow. Updates are automatically downloaded during the install which probably accounts for the time it took. It was delayed by unnecessary fluff such as the installation of the Yahoo toolbar and the brazen harvesting of marketing information as a prerequisite for 'virus protection coverage' - tsk, tsk. You'd think this was some sort of trial version but there is no trial version of CA Internet Security Suite Plus 2008.

Most current internet security bundles have tried to simplify their UIs to make operation as easy as possible but ISSP is definitely old-school in the learning curve it presents to novices. True, its basic online tutorial differentiates CA Internet Security Suite Plus 2008 from the common herd and will no doubt be welcomed by new users.

It nevertheless remains a fairly complex program to get to grips with and while techies will love it, many users will be disappointed to find user-friendly features, like a 'Fix Now' button, absent. The firewall is another example of this - unlike its smarter rivals, which make the call on your behalf, CA Internet Security Suite Plus 2008 still prompts you for a yes or no whenever a new program tries to access the internet.

Other IS packages have now consolidated AV and spyware detection in to a single module - not so with CA Internet Security Suite Plus 2008, which still has two separate modules for these tasks. Which means you need to perform two separate scans to detect both sorts of malware. To be fair, the spyware scan does take less than a minute.

CA Internet Security Suite Plus 2008 continues to earn good antivirus scores from Virus Bulletin, ICSA and West Coast Labs. Spyware detection was so-so but the anti-spam module was completely effective on my 'spam magnet' email account. This is because it decides that any email that’s not from somebody in your address book must be unsolicited. It is, however, easy to add new senders to the whitelist.

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CA Internet Security Suite Plus 2008: Specs

  • 300MHz Intel Pentium or AMD Athlon CPU
  • Windows XP/Vista/2000
  • 256MB RAM
  • 150MB hard drive space
  • 300MHz Intel Pentium or AMD Athlon CPU
  • Windows XP/Vista/2000
  • 256MB RAM
  • 150MB hard drive space

OUR VERDICT

Good in parts, CA Internet Security Suite Plus 2008 is a reasonable security bundle. It’s certainly better than its predecessor, but variations in consistency make products like Norton or McAfee Total Protection a better bet.

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