You know that summer has given way to autumn when the major antivirus companies start unveiling the annual updates to their main security packages. Panda is probably one of the best known names to the public and, with its brand new suite, it now has an almost complete set of features. Panda Internet Security 2008 adds a number of interesting programs to the mix, from Wi-Fi access detection to backup and optimisation utilities.
At £43 for a 12-month three user version, Panda Internet Security 2008 is a touch more expensive than BitDefender Total Security 2008. However, it's still considerably cheaper than such packages as Norton 360.
Panda Internet Security 2008 is also available in a six-month version. At £27, this'll obviously cost you in the long-run (paying this sum twice over 12 months would see you £11 out of pocket when compared to the normal one-year edition), but those who want to try it out for a lengthy period may appreciate having the option of a cheaper six-month edition.
Panda Internet Security 2008 doesn't perhaps have the most user-friendly user interface, lacking the colourful buttons and indicators favoured by such names as Norton and McAfee. Indeed, it took us a while just to find the settings for such standard features as the firewall. Once up to speed, the interface is concise where needed, although inexperienced users may find themselves a little confused. Neither are all of the features in the program always installed as default.
The Panda range does get certification from ICSA and West Coast Labs, but this company has always been a little reticent about participating in a number of the better-known antivirus surveys. However, Panda Internet Security 2008 has a new and much improved virus engine that, we hope, will give Panda the confidence to pit its latest offering against such high detection rate titans as BitDefender and Kaspersky.
The main change is ‘MegaDetection', which means that the Panda Internet Security 2008 engine now includes the much-praised technology employed by Panda's TotalScan online version. The effect of this is noticeable almost immediately. Even in its pre-installation scan, the software picked out and vanquished over 57 threats on our test PC. Once fully installed, it detected and removed everything we could throw at it.
It's not spectacularly fast – taking 27 minutes to check 55GB of files on a desktop PC, and over 31 minutes to check a laptop – and the most advanced heuristics (which are the best way of sorting out new and unseen threats) tests are switched off as default. These do add an extra five minutes or so to the scan time, but it would be nice to be given the most comprehensive scanning method available as standard. Nonetheless, the scanning is very good indeed.