It's still a surprise how vibrant the anti-virus software market is. Long-standing suppliers like Symantec and McAfee are far from having things all their own way and there are new arrivals offering basic AV and Internet Security Suites popping up each year. One of these is GFI Software with its VIPRE products, including GFI VIPRE Internet Security 2012. Bought from Sunbelt Software in July 2010, GFI is a Maltese company, which develops network security software for business, and now has both anti-virus and the full internet security (IS) suite for consumers that we're reviewing here. The name VIPRE seems to be a contrived acronym derived from Virus Intrusion Protection Remediation Engine.
The GFI VIPRE Internet Security 2012 interface is straightforward and has a ‘classic' look. It's none the worse for this, as it gives quick and easy access to all the program's main features. With large, obvious panels for key status info like scans, protection level, updates and firewall, and five tabs at the top, labelled Overview, Scan, Firewall, Manage and Tools.
The control tabs lead down to a comprehensive set of controls to adapt and tweak the parameters for each of the main functions of GFI VIPRE Internet Security 2012. When scanning, there's a neat little animation showing various bits and pieces, including what look like 1980s IC chips and Rubik's cubes being examined under a lens – still, at least you know something's going on.
There's a web monitor, which can report potentially dangerous sites before you visit them and pick up something nasty. This is tied to web filtering, which includes a useful ad blocker to speed screen drawing as well as reducing irritation levels. There's no parental control function in GFI VIPRE Internet Security 2012, though, which is a common part of many rival suites, so if this is one of your reasons for buying, you'll have to add it from another source.
As well as anti-virus protection, GFI VIPRE Internet Security 2012 offers spam prevention and a ‘two-way' firewall, which didn't automatically trust the workgroup our test machine was connected to. There are also three extras: Secure File Eraser, History Cleaner and PC Explorer. The last of these can display lists of current ActiveX controls, startup applications and running processes, among other categories. Useful, if a bit techie.
AV-Test tested version 4 of the VIPRE engine and scored it at 13/18, overall, very close to average across its most recently tested 25 AV products in 2011. If you break this down under the three categories the company uses, it managed 5/6 in both Protection and Useability, but dropped to 3/6 on repair. Quite a few programs drop off in this area, which measures the ability to clean an infected PC, rather than to prevent infection in the first place.
One of the main claims GFI makes for GFI VIPRE Internet Security 2012 is that it doesn't slow a PC down and our file transfer test supported this, taking just 40 secs to copy a 1GB file. This compares well with McAfee, Webroot and Bullguard, tested recently, which each took around 25 percent longer. Repeating the test, with VIPRE scanning in the background, increased the copy time to 1:26, which wasn't quite so good, only beating Webroot. A full default scan of our 50GB test partition took over 26 minutes, but that looked at 18,586 files, over 3,000 more than from any others we've tested recently.
We always leave scan settings at their product defaults, so different engines will choose to scan different numbers of files. GFI has an innovative pricing scheme, too, where you can buy licenses for 1, 2 or up to 10 PCs; and for 1 year, 2 years, 3 years or the PC's lifetime. Prices range from £30 for one user/one PC, to £120 for the latter 10/lifetime option.
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