Panda Internet Security 2009 covers all the bases with its features, and it scans quickly, but it lags behind some rivals at malware detection. Updated, 16 June 2009.

Panda Internet Security 2009 boasts an extensive feature set and an easy-to-use interface. However, we weren’t wholly convinced by its ability to block malicious software and the suite had some genuine difficulty dealing with some especially nasty malware, despite its new web-based scanning feature.

We also think the Panda Internet Security 2009 suite rather expensive compared to some of its rivals. It successfully detected about 97.8 of the Trojan horses, bots, password stealers, and other malware in AV-Test’s library (98.1 percent excluding adware). This compares with a 93.6 percent detection rate in our previous testing (94.8 percent excluding adware).

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Panda Internet Security 2009 managed only a 36.46 percent detection rate in heuristic tests that use week-old signature files to simulate how well security programs can catch new, unknown malware.

Panda Internet Security 2009 caught over 95 percent of spyware designed to steal passwords and financial information. This is a marked improvement over our previous testing, when Panda caught just 69 percent of those particularly harmful varieties. In behavioural detection testing it caught 9 out of 15 malware samples based on how that malware acted on a test PC, but that placed it only sixth in that category.

A new web-based addition to the Panda Internet Security 2009 version called Collective Intelligence sends a hash, or signature, of a to-be-scanned file, along with information about its behavior, to Panda servers. By comparing the signature against a large online database of signatures, Collective Intelligence attempts to bolster the scanning abilities of the program on your PC and speed the suite’s ability to detect new malware.

Panda Internet Security 2009 clocked in with the best on-access scanning speed, which tests how long it takes to scan files as your PC opens or accesses them (although it proved the slowest suite for scans kicked off manually or according to a schedule).

It covers all the bases for expected features and adds a few extras, with parental controls, backups, anti-spam and anti-phishing. Panda Internet Security 2009 also includes a useful vulnerability scanner that can check for patches missing from your PC. Although some of the extra features could use more polish, Panda’s application was the only suite we tested that offered the all.

Panda Internet Security 2009's vulnerability scanner, for one, is a welcome extra, since practicing good PC safety means making sure your computer is up-to-date with patches. But you’ll need to launch the scan manually (you can’t schedule it), and the overall security-status report won’t change even if you’re missing a critical patch.

To use Panda Internet Security 2009's parental control feature, you’ll need to create a log-in and password for each person using the computer. Each log-in has its own profile that defines site restrictions. Then, when anyone starts up a Web browser, the user is prompted to select a parental-control log-in and enter a password - distinct from any that might be necessary for the Windows account - in a pop-up.

Panda Internet Security 2009's backup feature can back up by file type (such as photos, Office documents or web favourites) or by selected folders or drives. It’s relatively easy to set up, but you can schedule a daily backup only to another hard drive or to a CD or DVD. Its antispam option adds a toolbar and spam folder to Outlook and Outlook Express.

NEXT PAGE: our most recent review of Panda Internet Security 2009, from March 2009 >>

OUR EXPERT VERDICT >>

Panda Internet Security 2009 is an internet security suite with a superb range of features and quick on-access scanning. It's not great for detection, however. [Updated, 18 March 2009.]

Panda Internet Security 2009 detected 95 percent of the malware in AV-Test’s library and scored 45.3 percent in heuristic tests: seventh place for both categories.

Panda Internet Security 2009 also had problems with spyware for stealing bank data and passwords, stopping 69 percent, but performed more creditably at behavioural detection, where it caught eight out of 15 samples.

Its detection scores might not be awe-inspiring, but Panda Internet Security 2009 more than makes up for this with a superb range of features. A web-based addition, Collective Intelligence, sends signatures of scanned files to Panda servers for comparison against an online database.

As well as parental controls, backup, antispam and antiphishing, Panda Internet Security 2009 has a vulnerability scanner that can check for missing patches. Some of these extras could use polish, but this suite was the only one of the group with all of them – a highly impressive feat.

The backup feature can work by file type, selected folders or drives. It’s easy to set up, but you can schedule a daily backup only to another hard drive or to a CD or DVD. Panda Internet Security 2009's antispam option adds a toolbar and spam folder to Outlook and Outlook Express.

Panda Internet Security 2009 clocked a really quick on-access scanning speed, although it was way too slow at completing scheduled or manual scans.

NEXT PAGE: our first review, from September 2008

OUR EXPERT VERDICT >>

PCWorld.com

For less than £43 Panda Internet Security 2009 offers wide-ranging protection against net threats.

Autumn normally heralds the release of next year's round of security software and Panda Security is no different. Its latest domestic range comprises three products: Antivirus Pro 2009, Internet Security 2009 and Global Protection 2009.

We looked at Panda Internet Security 2009, which for less than £43 offers a smorgasbord of protection; a multi-purpose antimalware engine, IM protection, heuristic-based pro-active protection, rootkit protection, a personal firewall, various anti-phishing measures, a spam and web filter, parental controls, a range of identity theft protection tools and data backups. So, quite a list.

In case you're wondering, the dearer Global Protection package adds two features to Panda Internet Security 2009: 2GB of online backup and a system tune-up facility.

The big new feature in Panda Internet Security 2009 is Collective Intelligence. This relies on every user to be the eyes and ears for Panda's central monitoring facility in 'the cloud'. In theory this has a number of benefits - zero-day attacks are spotted virtually immediately and real time alerts can be sent to all PIS 2009 users.

The use of white-listing technologies will improve scanning efficiency. Ideally, thanks to CI, the Panda Internet Security 2009 virus signature database held on each PC will list only those viruses actually reported to be on the loose, so it should be relatively small, which reduces the resource impact on each PC.

Panda Internet Security 2009 also makes use of this technology in its spam filter. This community-based approach to security isn't new - Sunbelt's IHateSpam relies on its members to identify spam emails to quickly build a ‘herd immunity' to threats.

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OUR EXPERT VERDICT >>

For less than £43 Panda Internet Security 2009 offers wide-ranging protection against net threats.

As well as this new layer of security, Panda Internet Security 2009 still has a conventional malware armoury, including traditional virus signatures, advanced heuristics, much improved TruPrevent 2.0 behavioural analysis and blocking, intrusion prevention and other protection techniques found in previous versions.

Although better than its predecessor, Panda Internet Security 2009 continues to be a bit of a resource hog - scans can absorb 100% percent of CPU cycles at times. You can opt to ‘manage' this but ticking the box didn't seem to have much effect here.

Panda Internet Security 2009's malware detecting capabilities remain good - according to the authoritative independent testing body, AV-Test.org, it bests the 2008 version when it comes to malware and spyware detection, achieving gains of 5.4 percent and 2.2 percent respectively. Which is good but overall Panda is still topped by the likes of Avast!, Avira and F-Secure.

Panda Internet Security 2009For less than £43 Panda Internet Security 2009 offers wide-ranging protection against net threats.

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OUR EXPERT VERDICT >>

Panda Internet Security 2009: Specs

  • Windows XP and Vista 32 and 64-bit
  • Pentium 300MHz or faster
  • RAM: 128MB without TruPrevent Technologies 512MB with TruPrevent Technologies (1 GB recommended)
  • 275MB free HD space
  • MS Internet Explorer 6.0
  • CD-ROM drive
  • Windows XP and Vista 32 and 64-bit
  • Pentium 300MHz or faster
  • RAM: 128MB without TruPrevent Technologies 512MB with TruPrevent Technologies (1 GB recommended)
  • 275MB free HD space
  • MS Internet Explorer 6.0
  • CD-ROM drive

OUR VERDICT

Panda Internet Security 2009 has a good interface and provides the fastest on-access scan speed around, but its good but not outstanding malware detection prevents it from being a top pick.

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