McAfee Internet Security 2009 does a reasonable job, but it also leaves room for improvement.
McAfee Internet Security 2009 is a complete Internet security package for Windows-based computers. It includes antivirus, firewall features and Internet content filtering.
Installation proved to be a simple process. (Install options also enabled installation from the web.)
The main control panel divides the protection features into four categories: Computer & Files, Internet & Network, E-mail & IM, and Parental Controls. The menu system for these is reasonable but at times we wished there was a 'Back' button. Simple and advanced versions of the menu also exist (meeting the needs of power users without bewildering the rest of us).
The interface also grants access to logs, account details and Windows tools, including Scheduler and Disk Defragmenter. Each menu item offers a brief description along with its on/off buttons, a great support feature for novice users.
Importantly, the firewall can easily be configured to allow access to new applications. It also includes a lock-down feature to completely block internet access in an emergency. (Although Enex should point out here that pulling the network plug might be an even faster security measure.)
Virus protection can be applied to standard emails and files delivered via instant messaging applications. Email services are also protected by a spam filter. A privacy filter can be applied to emails and instant messaging services preventing unwanted dissemination of critical data such as addresses or credit card numbers.
Another good feature is for old, unwanted files to be absolutely removed by secure deletion. The Shredder feature ensures deleted files are completely wiped rather than simply making their storage space free for use, as per a standard file deletion.
Password vault circumvents the need to remember a proliferating number of passwords.
A backup and restore feature (requiring download and installation of .NET 1.1) provides a last line of defence in the event of a serious security breach. When all else fails it's good to know that lost information can be restored after a machine is back on its feet.
A network management tool allows local computers to be identified and monitored to ensure each is protected by the latest version of McAfee. System administrators will be pleased to able to instantly check the protection status of machines under their control.
Internet content filtering is included in the McAfee Internet Security 2009 package (under parental controls), but it is crippled by a couple of unhelpful features. McAfee have an extensive list of undesirable sites captured by their filter, but the trick to good filtering is categorisation.
McAfee allows users to assign different age ratings to Windows user accounts, but does not allow parental control over what subject matter should be excluded from a child's viewing. Parents will need to experiment to determine the best age level to assign to individual users according to their own standards.
With the government wanting to enforce the blocking of illegal 'blacklisted' sites at the ISP level, it might also be worth considering the implementation of a whitelist, given that the McAfee IS filter (and others tested by Enex) blocks sites such as www.kidshelp.com.au — a site which should be accessible to children. Furthermore, many parents are unlikely to follow recommendations and create Windows accounts for their children.
This product does not allow for content filtering of the main administrator account. That said, options do exist for restricting web surfing by time, and search engines can be automatically set to safe mode, restricting the types of sites returned.
With drive-by downloads a nasty reality, McAfee's Site Advisor is a welcome inclusion in this package. During testing, dangerous sites were identified and the browser was redirected to a warn page. Warnings can be overridden if the user wants to visit the particular page (and has appropriate permission). It's good to see that even pages with links to dangerous sites are marked with caution messages.
A user interface needs to provide a balance between offering the user adequate information, and being easy to use. McAfee IS 2009 does a reasonable job, but it also leaves room for improvement. Enex suggestions include a back button for configuration screens, and a more accessible firewall-lockdown button.
The internet content filter appears to have a high level of accuracy. We would prefer filtering to be category-based rather than age-based, because parents should be able to decide specifically the categories their children need to avoid.
The McAfee IS 2009 package is very easy to install and provides an excellent range of system protection tools. Configuration is not arduous and, once completed, the user should be able to relax (of course, Enex recommends vigilance for suspicious emails and staying informed about warnings provided by Internet Security).
Overall this was a very pleasing package, and importantly it is offered at a reasonable price. Its support channels include FAQs, a virtual technician and, for stickier problems, communication with a human. Communication with a real person is free if by email or chat; a telephone service is also available.
|Subcategory||security - security suite|
|Subcategory||security - security suite|
|License Type||box pack|
|Model||Internet Security 2009|