PROS / McAfee AntiVirus aces performance tests at independent software labs.
CONS / Online backup is not an included feature.
VERDICT / McAfee Internet Security is rich in features and unusually effective at fighting malware and preventing phishing attempts.
"Editor's note: A newer version of this product is available. The developer lists the new version as offering the following features: unlimited device licensing, a password manager, and support for Mac OS X, iOS and Android. We will evaluate, rank and review the new version of this product when we next update the Internet Security Suites Software reviews. When AV-Test releases its next round of test results, we will evaluate that information as well."
In your research to find the best internet security suite for your PC, you would be hard-pressed to find a more effective product than McAfee Internet Security. Because it is more than an antivirus product, it goes beyond antimalware and antiphishing features. McAfee is quite a performer and competes with the best to win our Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award.
In terms of performance, protection and usability, McAfee beats most internet security software competitors, according to tests by AV-Test in March and April of 2014. Tests to determine whether this software influences computer speed while installing and running programs, copying data, downloading software and visiting websites showed that McAfee’s average effect on speed was one second. In comparison, the industry average was three seconds. McAfee also excelled in performance results. When forced to deal with 138 samples of brand new (zero-day) attacks, this security software stopped all of them, compared to an industry average of 94 percent detection. McAfee also made no errors in detecting 20,646 samples of widespread and prevalent malware that AV-Test had discovered during the four weeks prior to the beginning of the test period. The industry average was 98 percent.
As one of the best internet security software products, McAfee gives you fine control over scanning behavior. You can select automatic scanning of all files or just programs and documents. Or you can specify items to exclude. You can also control whether to scan email attachments, instant message attachments and network drives. McAfee can boost computer performance by erasing files that don’t need to be there. In fact it permanently erases files with a shredder so that nobody would be able to retrieve them with file recovery utilities. One of the reasons that McAfee is among the best internet security software ranks is that it treads lightly on system resources. You can adjust the settings to minimize effect on PC speed. Or you can scan more thoroughly. You can configure scans to strike a balance between thoroughness and speed.
McAfee Internet Security is one of the internet security suites to include a proprietary firewall. A two-way firewall is foundational to internet security because it filters which applications can enter or leave a PC. A firewall also hides your PC from the internet and blocks internet access entirely. The current Windows firewall is excellent. However, if you prefer your internet security suite and firewall to be from the same publisher, then that’s what you have with McAfee. With the McAfee firewall, you can configure it from within the application. Of course you don’t have to use the firewall that comes with this software as it works perfectly well with the Windows firewall.
If you do not update Windows and your applications, you are exposing yourself to vulnerabilities. Each update to Windows and Windows applications fixes the vulnerabilities in previous versions. For that reason, McAfee takes a system-wide perspective and includes a vulnerability scanner to update your Windows installation and your applications.
This suite sports a competitive feature list. It blocks spam and dangerous email. It protects your identity. Whenever you attach removable storage media such as a USB thumb drive, McAfee automatically scans it for threats. Likewise it checks email and instant messages. Similar to most of the best security software products, McAfee includes a password manager, a bootable rescue CD, file shredder and parental controls. However it does not include online backup.
Help & Support
Online help is well done. There’s a knowledgebase, answers to frequently asked questions and community forums. An automated McAfee Virtual Technician diagnoses and repairs many technical issues. You can always contact support technicians by phone or online chat.
McAfee ranks high on our list of the top 10 internet security suites. Malware detection rates are among the best in class. Features includes antiphishing, a firewall, password management, parental controls and a file shredder. Because of its strong performance and extensive features, we recommend this powerful software for those who don't need online backup features.