Internet Security (IS) suites are designed to protect your PC or laptop from malware, hackers and identity theft. Normally they only do this for a PC, leaving other computers, smartphones and tablets unguarded. McAfee All Access 2012 covers Macs, Android, BlackBerry and Symbian phones and Android tablets. It doesn't currently cover iOS devices, although McAfee has WaveSecure available for those, through Apple's App Store.
The main PC part of McAfee All Access 2012 is McAfee Total Protection, its conventional IS offering, which includes protection against viruses, spyware, phishing and spam. There's encryption, in the form of a password-protected vault, and anti-bot protection, designed to prevent your computer from being subscribed to a bot-net.
The McAfee All Access 2012 interface is surprisingly mundane, with few buttons, graphs or other graphic furniture. Most options are simple hyperlinks within descriptive text and most status displays are simple counters. It could all look very businesslike, but actually looks a bit amateur.
Local backup has been removed from McAfee All Access 2012, though there is online backup for 'important files', specifically the most important 2GB from each machine covered by your licence, as that's the storage space you get. This should be enough for most people's Documents folders, but not for a system backup.
See also: Internet security suites reviews
McAfee QuickClean is not so much a PC tune up as a redundant file remover, which concentrates on temporary files, shortcuts and lost file fragments. It's good to keep you PC running lean, but how much effect this has on system performance or security is debatable.
We scanned our 50GB basket of mixed executables, zips and datafiles and the scanner took one hour 40 minutes to complete the scan, which is pretty quick. The program identified 8,927 files to scan.
Copying a 1GB file between partitions with McAfee Total Protection running in the background took 49 seconds, as opposed to 16 seconds on a bare Windows installation and 1 minute 7 seconds with a McAfee scan running alongside. The software does hit the performance of a PC, but not by as much as some rival suites.
The independent testing lab, AV-Test, gave McAfee All Access 2012, the PC part of the suite, an overall score of 10.0, and didn't certify the program. This was mainly due to the low 'Repair' score of 2.0/6.0; Repair shows how well the software can remove existing malware, including rootkits, from a system.
The security software available on phones and tablets is a subset of the PC suite. For example, on an Android phone it comprises data and privacy protection and parental web filtering. We tried it on a Samsung Galaxy Mini and successfully installed and scanned the phone for malware. The Android version also offered online personal data backup, a secure lock down and a remote data wipe. You must assign between one and nine 'buddies', who will be informed if the phone is stolen and a new SIM fitted.
The single-PC licence, at £75, looks expensive, although it can be used on any combination of PCs, tablets, notebooks and smartphones up to 15 devices. But even if you have both a phone and tablet to cover, in addition to your PC you'd have to utilise the product on multiple devices before it starts making financial sense when compared against other products.