The Good: A big brand name. Wide-ranging protection, varying from viruses and worms, through to hackers and phishing scams. Also contains an unusual feature in the way of a two-way firewall, stopping malicious activity both incoming and outgoing, giving a layer of protection most other antivirus software does not include.
The Bad: Not especially great when it comes to detection of various viruses. Can be resource-intensive and even slow down a PC. Not possible to schedule weekly scans.
The Verdict: A good-quality, multi-tiered security software, but without any overwhelming features or anything particularly outstanding. Boosted by its brand name, but suffering from lack of resource streamlining, yet still provides a competent and useful package of security for the user.
McAfee is one of the best-known brand names in antivirus software. This program provides a wide-reaching area of security for your computer, and does so respectably, though not amazingly. Numerous features and levels of protection mean McAfee is still a quality piece of software, and can protect your computer from threats whether they be downloaded, through your browser, or through file transfers.
A multifaceted approach to security means McAfee covers just about every potential avenue that a threat may use to access or infect your computer. Apart from standard virus scanning, McAfee also provides protection in the form of pointing out malicious websites, scanning and detecting threats in files received online through instant messaging or e-mails, and threats sent over networks. This broad spectrum is a great feature for someone looking for an all-encompassing security software and means that costs are lowered for the user as one package is cheaper than several.
Particularly useful is a feature called SiteAdvisor, which, through the use of a toolbar, gives a security rating or any warnings necessary based on whatever site you happen to be on at the time. It also provides support for flagging up suspicious or reportedly malicious links on internet searches such as in Google’s results. This allows browsing in confidence and is done in a largely non-invasive way, making this a positive feature for all users.
Somewhat unusually, the McAfee virus scanner also provides a two-way firewall, which prevents malicious incoming and outgoing internet traffic. This might be useful for those wanting an extremely high level of security, but it could interfere with gamers and others who have programs that legitimately create traffic that goes in and out of the computer’s internet connection in various ways.
McAfee is also frequently updated and this is done in moments of minimal computer usage, which is a nice feature reducing performance impact. Although not very streamlined in terms of resource usage and potentially slowing down some computers, it’s clear steps are being made to reduce this problem. Solid customer support rounds out the positive features. McAfee does a lot and does it solidly, but does nothing to an outstanding degree, making this a good piece of security software for casual users who want an all-in-one package.