Security Shield 2010 combines products from two vendors to create an internet security suites. The suite incorporates antivirus, antispam and antispyware tools, a firewall, parental controls and rootkit detection capability into a single product that features an intuitive management console.
Security Shield 2010: internet protection
Security Shield 2010 uses technology from BitDefender for its antivirus, antiphishing, antispyware and antikeylogger engines; it uses its own Spam Shield product to provide antispam capabilities.
The Security Shield 2010 firewall monitors all in- and outbound traffic to protect the system from external attacks or to prevent malicious software running on the PC from transmitting information.
Most of Security Shield 2010's capabilities are fairly basic. For example, Spam Shield 4.0, the antispam component from Security Shield, works only on POP3 email services and integrates only with Outlook and Outlook Express. The antispam capabilities are also somewhat limited, relying on user rules and settings to work effectively. For example, if you want spam to be sent to a folder for examination, instead of just deleted, you will need to define a rule that identifies the spam mail and then saves it to a junk (or other) folder.
All in all, Security Shield 2010 offers basic protection but lacks the bells and whistles that power users desire, such as the ability to fully customise the firewall to create exceptions for particular applications or to install antispam on email clients that use IMAP.
Security Shield 2010: Usability
We found Security Shield 2010 very easy to work with the basic settings and the product's dashboard, which is designed for simplicity, offering very basic descriptions of each feature and simple green check marks to indicate that something is turned on and functioning properly. The buttons across the top of the dashboard are limited to simple descriptions, such as Dashboard (the home screen), Security, Parental and Network (which leads to firewall controls).
However, if you like to tinker with settings, enable advanced features or play security detective, Security Shield 2010 may not be the product for you. We found it difficult to find many of the custom security settings on the product and had to traverse multiple menus that followed little rhyme or reason to locate some settings such as scan scheduling or quarantine capabilities.
Security Shield 2010 used little in the form of resources, barely affecting system performance and using hardly any memory. That small memory footprint and low CPU usage are great advantages for users who are concurrently using their PCs during scans, but it comes at a price - we found that full disk scans and other manually executed tasks took an inordinate amount of time. For example, a full system virus scan on roughly 8GB of data and system files took almost an hour.
Living with the product was another story. With all of the security features enabled, we were constantly bombarded with warnings and suggestions while accessing the web with Internet Explorer. We found that we had to turn off or reduce the aggressiveness of some of the protection features, such as antiphishing and content-filtering tools, to avoid the numerous messages. The warning messages may not be overly intrusive to experienced users, since they will understand the implications of the text, but inexperienced users could find the messages so annoying that they could wind up turning security features off to avoid them.
NEXT: our expert verdict >>