McAfee Internet Security 2015 review

McAfee has improved its threat response massively, but its protection scores still aren't good enough

Our Rating 
2/5
Price when reviewed 
23
23

Specifications

OS Support: Windows Vista SP1, 7, 8, 8.1, Minimum CPU: 1GHz, Minimum GPU: N/A, Minimum RAM: 2GB (Vista, 7), Hard disk space: 500MB

McAfee Internet Security has had a torrid time in our tests, consistently letting threats through. This year, McAfee has turned things around a bit, successfully defending against 86 attacks. However, of the remaining 14 threats that weren't eliminated immediately, 11 compromised the system without McAfee taking any action. Its protection score was 206 out of 300, which moves the software off the bottom of the table, although there are still plenty of better choices out there.

Read our comprehensive guide to Internet Security 2015

It's a shame that the malware protection isn’t better, as the other tools inside the software are genuinely useful. Shredder, for example, securely erases files so that data thieves can’t recover them later if your PC or hard disks are stolen. Another arguably even more useful tool is Vulnerability Scanner, which checks for important updates in software installed on your computer. On our PC, for example, it found a long-abandoned installation of QuickTime that we hadn't bothered updating that could present a security risk in the future.

McAfee's interface is big, bold and very simple for an inexperienced user

McAfee's interface is big, bold and very simple for an inexperienced user

We also like QuickClean, which looks for redundant files on your PC and deletes them to free up hard disk space. Its targets include Windows Recycle Bin, browser cache files, temporary files and, slightly annoyingly, browser cookies. If a website isn't in your favourites list, this clean-up operation will delete its cookies, meaning you'll have to log in again when you next visit. This also applies to browser extensions that require a sign in. There's no way to get the tool to clean only specific areas of your PC: it's everything or nothing. Overall, though, it's a handy one-stop-shop to clean your PC quickly.

You get online backup space provided by Mozy, although the 1GB you're given is frankly pitiful. Still, it's good for perhaps a (very) few of your most important documents.

McAfee's Threat Map is an interesting but not particularly useful addition

McAfee's Threat Map is an interesting but not particularly useful addition

McAfee constantly lets you know it's there thanks to pop-ups that appear above the system tray when new devices are connected to your local network and when you insert USB disks. While we appreciate its attention to detail, the approach feels too hands-on and we'd recommend switching them off. While the software can be naggy with USB disks, we had few issues with its handling of legitimate software. McAfee scored 838 out of a possible 846 in our false positive tests, losing points for blocking a piece of legitimate software without even asking first.

The settings area of McAfee Internet Security is frustrating to use. Various settings are hidden behind unnecessary menus, and there's no quick way of searching for the options you're looking for. It looks like a badly designed web page, and behaves like one too. We're sure this will confuse and irritate even the most technically competent users.

McAfee Internet Security is a mixed bag of features and frustration. It has plenty of useful tools and its malware protection has improved, but it’s still not good enough. Symantec Norton Internet Security 2015 is a much better choice.

System requirements
OS Support Windows Vista SP1, 7, 8, 8.1
Minimum CPU 1GHz
Minimum GPU N/A
Minimum RAM 2GB (Vista, 7)
Hard disk space 500MB
Buying information
Price including VAT £23
Supplier www.very.co.uk
Details www.mcafeestore.com
Product code Internet Security 2015