McAfee Internet Security 2014 Review: Internet Security Software
|Visit McAfee Internet Security 2014 Website|
|Standard PC security with an updated interface while retaining the same features as the previous version|
[Editor's Note: McAfee is offering 50% off Internet Security to NextAdvisor visitors, no coupon code required. Just follow any link to McAfee from NextAdvisor to receive the discount.]
McAfee Internet Security 2014 boasts an updated interface and a powerful 2-way firewall to provide standard PC security without many bells and whistles.
The simple installation process continues to be one of the highlights of McAfee's software. Following purchase and registration, you can download and install the program directly from the website without waiting for an email confirmation like with several other security suites we've reviewed. The file installation is quick and painless so you're able to use McAfee within minutes of purchasing.
After struggling with an outdated interface for years, McAfee has given its interface a facelift. The new interface maintains the same color scheme as previous years, but creates a more visually appealing look with large buttons and improved usability. Compared to the flashier offerings of Norton or Avast!, more improvements are needed but this is a marked change from a software that has long held out on a much-needed overhaul.
The home screen displays a color-coded bar at the top which tells you the current status of your computer. The rest of the screen is laid out with four large buttons (Virus and Spyware Protection, Web and Email Protection, McAfee Updates and Your Subscription) beside a row of 3 smaller buttons (Data Protection and Backup, PC and Home Network Tools and Parental Controls). The right sidebar includes links to Home, Navigation and Help as well as a box at the bottom that cycles through pertinent information from your latest scan.
Though the new interface certainly offers better organization and usability, it can still be somewhat confusing to navigate to certain features. The Navigation page — which consists of links to every feature hidden within the button categories on the home page as well as a couple of random extras — seems unnecessary and just serves to highlight the confusion.
McAfee's 2014 Internet security software is pretty much the same when it comes to features as previous years. Some features are fairly robust, such as the Parental Controls — which allow you to create a custom profile or use a standard setting based on age as well as set an Internet usage schedule — or the 2-way Firewall which provides powerful protection against viruses and malware.
SiteAdvisor is also a nice feature for boosting browsing security. This browser application provides a color-coded rating of websites in the toolbar as well as beside links in search results pages that lets you know how safe it is before visiting. Currently it only works for Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox, but hopefully an extension to Google Chrome will be offered in the future.
Other features are less convenient. File Shredder is a good feature to have, but the explanations for the 5 shred types (such as, "Safe — It's secure" followed by "Comprehensive — It's very secure") seem silly and don't offer much explanation as to what the real difference is between the different types. Similarly, the Defragmenter link in the Navigation Center merely opens up your computer's defrag program. Good to have if someone is unfamiliar with this tool, but otherwise a waste of program space.
Antivirus and Antimalware
McAfee has a spotted past when it comes to independent testing from AV-Comparatives, an antivirus testing organization. In the most recent Whole-Product Dynamic Test, which looks at how the different components work together against viruses, McAfee scored 2 out of 3 stars and was noted in the test report as being downgraded specifically due to the high number of wrongfully blocked sites or files. McAfee's historical average for this test is only 1 out of 3 stars, and it has earned 0 stars twice. Part of why it ranks so low is because the software is designed to warn you about malicious web addresses that you might be visiting, not block them, which is one of the key components to the test. The software also historically tends to be sensitive and blocks several safe sites or files.
In our own testing of the software, it performed exactly as it should and blocked every test virus we threw at it. The 2-way firewall performs at a rate similar to what you get from the feature-rich competition, which is a definite advantage for McAfee.
Due to its simplicity, McAfee is relatively light on its feet and great at not slowing down your computer and keeping things running smoothly. Despite a score of 1 out of 3 stars in the most recent AV-Comparatives Performance test, our use of the software saw no significant performance or lag issues. The relative lack of annoying pop-ups or notifications was also a relief and we appreciated McAfee's quiet, unobtrusive performance.
Unfortunately, while McAfee has redesigned their interface, the features offered remain largely the same. If you're looking for perks like a secluded browsing window for banking and online shopping or special protection for social networking, which are becoming standard for software security suites, McAfee will only disappoint. The software continues to do what McAfee is best known for, which is protect against viruses and malware and help your computer run more efficiently. If this is all you're looking for, then McAfee is the security software for you.
System Requirements: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8
AV-Comparatives ratings on a variety of tasks related to the antivirus and antimalware product. "Known Malware" refers to a product's ability to catch pre-identified viruses, while "Unknown Malware" refers to its ability to detect brand new viruses. Older scores may reflect previous software versions.
AV-Comparatives. Score indicates overall effectiveness in a variety of tests over time. † indicates that company did not take part in all tests. See reviews for details.*Averaged 2010/2011 scores for each company's antivirus/anti-malware product by independent testing agency
**Score indicates impact of antivirus product on system performance. Average of performance tests by AV-Comparatives.
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