G Data InternetSecurity 2011 review

Price when reviewed

G Data is known for its belt-and-braces approach to virus scanning. Rather than producing its own detection engine, the German developer licenses engines from two of its competitors – currently Avast and BitDefender – and runs them in parallel, so suspect files receive twice the scrutiny.

It’s a strategy with a proven track record: in our last security Labs, G Data shared the top spot with Norton, and this month its InternetSecurity 2011 suite ranked slightly ahead, achieving a 99% detection rate against a 98% score from our A-List favourite Norton Internet Security 2010.

The G Data InternetSecurity 2011 front-end is simple and clear

So why are we still recommending Norton over G Data? Well, bolting two engines together may be effective, but it’s hardly efficient. Sitting idle at the desktop, G Data’s package ate up 292MB of memory when merely sitting at the desktop – twice as much as Norton and nearly five times as much as Kaspersky Internet Security 2011. That may not matter if you’re installing it on a powerful desktop system, but it’s also aimed at netbooks, which typically offer as little as 1GB of RAM.

It’s a less transparent package than Norton too. This 2011 version brings cloud-based detection and behaviour blocking, but there’s no way to tell what these technologies are doing for you, nor any visible way to configure them. It’s understandable that G Data doesn’t wish to advertise the specific capabilities of its licensed engines, especially since it might wish to switch providers at some point. But the result is an air of stubborn secretiveness that does very little to engender trust.

We also note that the firewall module hasn’t been updated since the 2010 edition, which didn’t excel in our last Labs: with default settings, it left TCP ports open and allowed an attacker to extract details of our supposedly protected PC.

Still, there’s no arguing with the effectiveness of G Data InternetSecurity 2011 when it comes to the actual business of detecting malware. When you note that it includes parental controls, spam protection and a file shredder, the price looks good too. And it’s all brought together in a fairly simple interface. For a non-technical user who doesn’t get off on tweaking, it could be a decent choice – so long as you’ve the memory to spare.


Software subcategoryInternet security

Operating system support

Operating system Windows Vista supported?yes
Operating system Windows XP supported?yes
Operating system Linux supported?no
Operating system Mac OS X supported?no

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