Contenders: Kaspersky And McAfee
We aimed in the middle of Kaspersky’s AV stack and trialed the Internet Security 2012 version ($65; usa.kaspersky.com). For another $5, the Pure Total Security edition adds centralized security management for all household systems, parental controls management, a password manager, file wiping, and data backup.
Kaspersky recently overhauled its GUI, making it much simpler to work with. The company now hosts its reputation-based advice system in the cloud, which may add a little latency. But, on the other hand, it’s good to have a resource able to caution you about a given file’s trust level before you open it. The same cloud-based resources can also check application components, such as DLLs, and email for spam screening. Another clever Kaspersky addition here is malware rollback, which eliminates any system changes made by malware to the conditions of a previous session.
McAfee Internet Security ($50; home.mcafee.com/store), was recently acquired by Intel. Why? We asked, but reps only said that we’d find out very soon, wink-wink. The AV app has been around forever, of course, and is a perennial favorite for OEMs and service providers to offer as a customer incentive. In addition to antivirus, antispyware, and firewall protection, McAfee likes to talk up the product’s new anti-bot capabilities. Safeguards against malicious iFrames also bolster the app’s Web-based resume, as does “Deep Page Protection,” which alerts users before they step into a suspect Web site. We also like that McAfee automatically scans any added USB or other removable storage device.
Stepping up to McAfee Total Protection ($60) raises the package’s online storage from 1 GB to 2 GB, which is still lackluster in an age when 2 GB Dropbox and 50 GB ADrive accounts are free. The best draw in the higher-end product is anti-phishing protection. Otherwise, stick with the already well-endowed Internet Security 2012, which still provides functions like network monitoring (to show if you have rogue devices on your network) and Super Mode (a deeper inspection mode that kicks in when malware is detected).