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?

Darien Graham-Smith
13 Mar 2014
Price when reviewed 

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

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 subcategoryInternet security

Operating system support

Operating system Windows Vista supported?yes
Operating system Windows XP supported?yes
Other operating system supportWindows 8 and 8.1

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