McAfee Internet Security (2015) review
Once Norton’s biggest rival in the security software business, McAfee has been struggling to maintain the pace over the past few years, producing sluggish software that hasn’t performed well in our malware tests. This doesn’t look set to change in the near future, even now that it’s under Intel’s umbrella.
The feature set is limited by Norton and Kaspersky standards, but McAfee still crams in a firewall, web-protection, anti-spam features and parental controls, alongside clean-up tools, a vulnerability scanner for checking missing patches and updates, and a home network scanner.
These features are arguably the best thing about the package. The parental controls, for example, make short work of setting up internet content and search restrictions for specific Windows accounts, and can also be used to restrict access to specified times.
The vulnerability scanner does a great job of spotting missing patches and updates, then downloading and installing any Windows updates for you. Although McAfee’s Site Advisor is available as a free browser plugin, its at-a-glance site ratings are helpful and reassuring.
While the dashboard looks dated, it’s perfectly functional, with the major security tools up-front and the secondary features sensibly organised. However, the interface feels sluggish and slow to respond. Even the system tray applet suffers; click on it and you have to wait a second or two to check the status of the current scan.
Performance could also be stronger. On our old dual-core machine, it took more than eight minutes complete a quick scan, using 73% of the CPU and 1.45GB of the available 2GB RAM while it did so, slowing everything else to a crawl.
Is the struggle worth it? Not really. Its protection score was only 89%, meaning there were 11% of threats that compromised our test systems; it also blocked one of our legitimate applications without so much as a prompt. Overall, this package is a big disappointment.