McAfee Internet Security 2014 review
Always a recognisable name in the security business, can McAfee's feature-packed Internet Security 2014 suite cut the mustard?
McAfee gives its partners leeway on price – we found a year-long, three-PC licence online for only £12. For that price, the features are impressive. Dig around and you'll find a firewall, an email scanner and a web protection module, plus parental controls and 1GB of online backup.
Secondary tools include a secure-file deletion tool, a system cleanup utility and a vulnerability scanner. Considering this, the default installation of 470MB is pleasingly compact.
Unfortunately, McAfee makes a poor fist of its core job. In our malware tests, it put in a poor performance, protecting us against only 81% of real-world threats. It also performed underwhelmingly in our false-positives test: as its 78% score indicates, McAfee regularly threw up unnecessary warnings and demanded our involvement when we tried to launch harmless software. Set-and-forget security this certainly isn't.
McAfee Internet Security 2014 also proved a disappointment in terms of system responsiveness. On our Atom-based system, it slowed our benchmarks to a crawl: in the Explorer test, we saw performance fall to 74% versus Microsoft Windows Defender, while our applications test produced an ignominious 64% result.
Even the McAfee software itself felt sluggish: we often found ourselves waiting a second or more for a response after clicking a button in the interface.
The final indignity is CPU usage. Launching a quick scan caused the processor load to shoot up to 100% for several seconds, before dropping back to around 35%. Thankfully, the software waits until your system is idle to launch its background scans.
Parts of McAfee's package are good. It's includes online backup; the firewall is easy to configure; and McAfee's parental controls do a decent job of blocking porn, gore and gambling sites. However, in the critical areas, McAfee Internet Security 2014 is a letdown.
|Software subcategory||Internet security|
Operating system support
|Operating system Windows Vista supported?||yes|
|Operating system Windows XP supported?||yes|
|Other operating system support||Windows 8 and 8.1|