Early in the year there's always a raft of new security suites doing the rounds. There are several big names in the security market and McAfee is certainly among them, so we were expecting some heavy-duty protection from its Internet Security Suite 2006.

And we weren't disappointed. It's a very comprehensive package that protects you from just about every type of threat out there. But so do dozens of other similar products on the market. What is it that separates McAfee from the rest?

Calling for backup

One of the key elements in choosing a security package is not what you're actually installing on your PC but the support you're going to get post-installation. Viruses, trojans, scams and suchlike emerge every day, and there's a whole community of hackers with the technical know-how to exploit vulnerabilities on your system if you're not properly protected against them.

What you're looking for is the kind of backup that McAfee provides: teams of engineers working daily to secure your PC against the latest threats as quickly as possible.

Because McAfee is a large company and has been in the security business for years, it has the resources to do this. In its company literature, it claims that 100 million computers worldwide are protected by its products. However, being a big name isn't everything.

If you're not the most advanced user then simplicity is appreciated – some security packages aren't the most intuitive and can intimidate by their use of technical language. Also, the warning messages that pop up from time to time can be a bit scary, which tends to make users think a perfectly normal process is the beginning of the apocalypse.

Fortunately this isn't a trap that Internet Security Suite 2006 falls into – and although beginners won't be overawed, it's certainly not lacking in terms of strength of protection.

Nevertheless, McAfee isn't unique in offering these services, and Internet Security Suite 2006 is no more than competitively priced, so it doesn't stand out in this area, either. All that can really be said is that it does what it is supposed to do, and does it fairly anonymously. Which is good in a sense, because you can forget that it is there and get on with your life, knowing that you are protected from all of the nuisances the internet age has brought.

How big is McAfee?

You'd probably like to get an idea of the size of the company behind Internet Security Suite 2006. Well, McAfee was founded in 1989 and has its headquarters in Santa Clara, California. It employs just under 3,000 people and had an estimated worth of over $1bn at the end of June last year. This goes some way to explaining how it can realistically attempt to keep up with the threats to its customers that appear daily – the resources at the firm's disposal are vast.

McAfee offers additional services as well as the software and automatic updates, such as having experts online seven days a week, 24 hours a day to answer customer questions regarding its products. And if you don't want to ask questions over the internet – and you may not want to if you think your security has been compromised – there's a national-rate phone line you can call as well.

McAfee Internet Security Suite 2006: Specs

  • 133MHz Pentium processor
  • Windows 98/Me/2000/XP
  • 64MB RAM
  • 100MB hard disk space
  • 133MHz Pentium processor
  • Windows 98/Me/2000/XP
  • 64MB RAM
  • 100MB hard disk space

OUR VERDICT

You can't argue with the level of protection, and both installation and configuration are straightforward. Buy McAfee Internet Security Suite 2006, put it on your system and forget about it.

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