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Security software Reviews
15,670 Reviews

McAfee Internet Security 2011 review

£64 inc VAT

Manufacturer: McAfee

Our Rating: We rate this 3.5 out of 5

McAfee Internet Security 2011 puts up mediocre scores in malware detection tests, but it's security software that can be had at a fair price.

McAfee Internet Security 2011 puts up mediocre scores in malware detection tests, but it's security software that can be had at a fair price.

Bargain hunters: Be patient and you'll often find McAfee on sale at a deep discount: The company's Internet Security 2011 (regularly £64 for one year, three PCs) is often available for as little as £20, making it just about the cheapest way to secure the PCs you have at home.

With that said, McAfee Internet Security 2011 put up mediocre scores in overall blocking, detection, and cleanup of malware.

In our tests, McAfee Internet Security 2011 turned in solid numbers in detecting known malware (98.7 percent), but the picture grows dim after that. It stopped just 17 out of 25 real-world attacks, earning it a distant last place in our recent tests of 13 security suites (the 12th place application in this test stopped 21 attacks). These results mean that it may struggle at blocking new, unknown malware. McAfee also had the worst false positive results in our tests, flagging 10 times as many safe files as malware as some of its competitors. McAfee's 60 percent success rate at scrubbing active malware components from already infected systems placed it behind the pack in that test, too.

McAfee Internet Security 2011 also won little praise in our investigation of scanning speed. In on-demand scans and on-access scans the application scored 9th and 8th place, respectively. But things brightened up quite a bit when we benchmarked our system with McAfee running in the background: All told, McAfee had a minimal impact on PC performance.

Into this confusing and murky picture comes the McAfee interface, which is a little unorthodox but still relatively easy to use. For example, the tool offers no readily apparent way to scan your system manually, but clicking either the "Real-Time Scanning" text or "Virus and Spyware Protection" reveals an option to do so. Cryptically, you'll only find scan options under the former text, although both will also let you create scheduled scans.

Actual settings in McAfee Internet Security 2011 are quite slim, and even the devoted tinkerer will find only a few options to configure them, most of which are fine as defaults.

In addition to the usual firewall and spam protectors, McAfee Internet Security 2011 includes a number of extras, including parental controls, an online backup tool, hard drive defragmenter, and a secure-delete data scrubber. That said, we aren't totally sold on the QuickClean PC optimization tool that's installed by default, what with its claims to "erase unnecessary files, such as old ActiveX programs." Are most users worried about their hard drives being clogged by mountains of ActiveX programs? Is anyone?

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

PC security advice

McAfee Internet Security 2011 Expert Verdict »

Windows XP (32-bit) with Service Pack 2 (SP2) or higher/Windows Vista (32-bit and 64-bit)/Windows 7 (32-bit and 64-bit) View FAQ
1GHz processor or higher
800 × 600 or higher resolution
256 MB RAM or higher for Windows XP (512 MB recommended)
512 MB RAM for Vista/Windows 7 (2GB recommended)
200 MB of available free drive space
Internet connection
  • Overall: We give this item 7 of 10 overall

McAfee Internet Security 2011's solid performance at detecting common, known malware is enough to merit some consideration, but its dismal real-world malware blocking and over-the-top problem with false positives are enough to give us serious pause, no matter how great the deal is.

  • McAfee Internet Security 2010 review

    McAfee Internet Security 2010

    McAfee Internet Security 2010 does a good job at detecting malware, its interface is fresh and distinct from the pack, and it has a solid set of features.

  • McAfee Internet Security Suite 2008

    McAfee Internet Security Suite 2008

    McAfee Internet Security Suite comes with a multitude of features, such as backup software, but it could slightly improve its focus on a security suite’s most vital task: stopping malware.

  • McAfee Internet Security Suite 2009 review

    McAfee Internet Security Suite 2009

    McAfee Internet Security Suite 2009 is the latest iteration of security giant McAfee's internet security suite, featuring Artemis, a new internet-based malware detection feature.

  • McAfee VirusScan Plus 2010 review

    McAfee VirusScan Plus 2010

    McAfee VirusScan Plus 2010 does well with traditional, signature-based malware detection, but it delivered a large number of false positives and fumbled on essentials such as proactive protection and scan speed.

  • McAfee Internet Security 2013 review

    McAfee Internet Security 2013

    Proficient antivirus and super-quick installation make McAfee Internet Security 2013 a decent bet. Here's our McAfee Internet Security 2013 review.


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