F-Secure Internet Security 2009

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F-Secure Internet Security 2009
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Bottom Line

F-Secure Internet Security 2009 did an okay job at detecting malware, and it's a generally easy-to-use application. But when it comes to keeping your computer safe, you'll want better than just okay.

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F-Secure Internet Security 2009 adds 64-bit Windows Vista support to its impressive reputation for finding and evicting malware

F-Secure Internet Security 2009 is a security suite comprising antivirus, antispyware, antispam, antiphishing and personal firewall tools for Windows PCs. Comparing to last year's model, improvements are modest. These include faster installation, a tweaked interface, improved anti-malware accuracy and support for 64-bit Vista.

F-Secure gave a trouble-free install on a clean PC and can automatically remove conflicting software it finds. However, check out YouTube for a clip showing F-Secure 2009 having serious trouble installing on a badly infected PC, a not unlikely scenario. For coping with situations like this, a bootable rescue CD ISO image is available for free download from F-Secure. There's also a free online scanner as well.

F-Secure licenses multiple AV technologies from other vendors and can scan files on demand, on access and on schedule. F-Secure Internet Security 2009 also scans in and outgoing POP3, SMTP and IMAP email messages.

The major independent AV group testers give F-Secure a pretty good, almost flawless, report card. ICSA Labs fully certified it for virus detection and cleaning and it has enjoyed VB100 awards for the past five years with just one exception. It's also been scored highly by AV-Comparatives and AV-Test.

In action, it can be slow dealing with infected files it detects, even though they may not actually be active — that is, they may be present in memory. F-Secure stops to look for other infections, real or imagined. It's thorough but erring on the side of caution can make it very slow.

The firewall puts all of your system's ports into stealth mode, making it invisible to outside hackers. It has a long list of ‘pre-approved' programs but it still asks many questions about allowing Internet access to programs. For example, the F-Secure tool for gathering system data for tech support is a standard tool, nslookup — which F-Secure didn't recognise.

F-Secure's antispam subtly integrates with Vista's Windows Mail (adding its own Sidebar gadget). All MS email clients are supported and it's easy to use others such as Thunderbird.

The spam filter worked well, correctly identifying and moving spam to the Deleted Items folder without further ado. It can also make use of Real-time Block Lists to improve its accuracy. It's a shame it doesn't ‘whitelist' automatically.

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

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