McAfee Internet Security Suite 2006

Protecting your PC from the endless barrage of viruses, worms, spyware applications, and phishing schemes is an unfortunate fact of life for anyone surfing the Internet. Though there are countless software applications designed to protect against each threat individually, the best way to cover your PC is to employ a unified suite to guard against the myriad of malware dangers online.

McAfee Internet Security Suite bundles antivirus, spam protection, a firewall, and privacy service into a single, integrated package to offer comprehensive security from a single interface. The various elements are controlled from a unified interface that's accessible via a colour-coded icon in the system tray. The interface provides quick information regarding the status of each component.

The SpamKiller engine works effectively, but it intercepts and checks POP3 mail and slows email downloads to a crawl. It integrates neatly into Outlook and Outlook Express, though, and even works with Exchange servers. There's also support for MSN Hotmail straight from the box - which could prove useful for people checking personal accounts while at work. The antispam component offers a couple of options, and you can set the application to either quarantine or tag messages with a [SPAM] prefix on the subject line. You can later set a filter in your email application to move the tagged messages to a holding folder. A "whitelist" is supported, where you can nominate "Friends" to bypass the spam filter automatically, but there's no corresponding "blacklist" of email addresses or domains to ban.

The firewall component works like many others on the market - by alerting you with popup windows whenever a new application attempts to access the network. It comes with a database of over 4000 trusted applications straight from the box, so the interruptions are kept to a minimum. The firewall is able to monitor both incoming and outgoing data to offer more comprehensive protection than Windows Firewall. A nifty feature of the firewall module is the ability to track attempted intrusions on a map. You can see exactly where an attack is emanating from, and while it's largely irrelevant for most desktop users, it's nonetheless interesting to see who is trying to access your computer.

McAfee's VirusScan has long been an industry mainstay, and the 2006 version is a solid, robust antivirus application. It's able to scan network drives and both incoming and outgoing email. Daily updates are provided, and the engine offers heuristic analysis to prevent what McAfee calls PUPs (potentially unwanted programs) from taking root on your PC. It's a comprehensive scanning app, but it is unfortunately also quite slow. Scanning a 10GB Windows XP system volume took around 40 minutes on a 3GHz Pentium 4 with 512MB of RAM, which is fine if you're scheduling scans to run at 2am when you're away from the machine, but can be a little frustrating if you're trying to work at the same time.

Another module in the package is the Privacy Service, which has remained largely unchanged since the release of the 2005 version. It's a secure "wallet" to store personal and sensitive information, such as credit card, tax file, or banking information. Details are stored in an encrypted database, and the Privacy Service is able to prevent data from being sent to other machines. Content filtering is available, as is a "shredder", which erases files securely so they can't be restored or unerased.

All up, the various components perform well and are accessed from a single interface, which greatly simplifies management. While the scanning engine is a little slow, it's bearable, and the ease-of-use offsets any lag.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matthew Overington

Good Gear Guide
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?