McAfee Internet Security Suite comes with a multitude of features, such as backup software, but it could slightly improve its focus on a security suite’s most vital task: stopping malware.

Pitted against a giant zoo of 674,589 dormant malware files, McAfee Internet Security Suite detected 86 percent of them. That comparatively poor showing put it in sixth place for that test. The suite showed somewhat limited effectiveness at catching spyware and adware too, identifying a below-average 85 percent of threats.

McAfee Internet Security Suite’s scanning engine operates slowly, while the program was able to clean only half the files and Registry entries implanted by malicious software.

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But there’s much to like about this suite. McAfee Internet Security Suite is much better than most security programs at identifying unknown malware, for example, ranking third after catching 17 percent of yet-to-be-classified malware files.

McAfee Internet Security Suite's firewall successfully masked a protected PC from attempts to scan it from the outside. And by default, it allows all programs to connect to the internet. To accommodate users who prefer the additional protection (but potential annoyance) of blocking unknown programs, McAfee Internet Security Suite uses a list of known applications to minimise pop-up alerts.

There are antispam tie-ins to a good range of email programs, placing buttons and a spam filtering folder for Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows Mail, Eudora and Thunderbird. Install one of them after installing McAfee Internet Security Suite and you won’t be able to use those filters. Parental controls are strong too, with informative messages explaining why a particular site has been blocked.

McAfee Internet Security Suite's data-privacy options require you to manually enter data such as credit-card numbers that you wish to protect (a procedure that may strike some as odd).

Other useful extras in McAfee Internet Security Suite include a home network setup app and a full backup program that can schedule regular backups. These allowed us to quickly back up individual folders and files.

McAfee Internet Security Suite 2008: Specs

  • 200MHx Pentium processor
  • Windows 2000/XP/Vista
  • 512MB RAM
  • Internet Explorer 6.0 or Firefox 1.5 or later
  • 200MHx Pentium processor
  • Windows 2000/XP/Vista
  • 512MB RAM
  • Internet Explorer 6.0 or Firefox 1.5 or later

OUR VERDICT

McAfee Internet Security Suite has a few shortcomings on the reporting and interface side, but it’s a generally well-designed suite with some useful features. Better malware-detection scores wouldn’t have hurt, though.

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