To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

PC Tools Internet Security (2012) review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £23
inc VAT

With a single-user price of just £13, it's hard to quibble over PC Tools' chatty firewall, but more accurate rivals have cheaper three-user versions

To understand how we go about the UK’s most accurate and realistic anti-virus testing, read How We Test: Anti-virus software.

The performance and accuracy of PC Tools’ Internet Security suite has come on in leaps and bounds in the last couple of years. This year, although it fell slightly short of perfect accuracy, PC Tools was compromised in only 4 per cent of our test exposures (one sample) to online threats.

PC Tools Internet Security (2012)

Its performance in our false positive tests wasn’t quite as good, as the program’s firewall had to be given permission to allow 40 per cent (eight) of our benign test programs to access the internet, as well as producing a more useful – but still confusing to inexperienced users – notification about a BitTorrent client setting itself up as a local proxy. While having to approve pop-ups on a fairly routine basis is annoying, at no point were any of our harmless test applications blocked from installing or running.

PC Tools Internet Security (2012)

As well as a firewall, PC Tools has email and anti-spam defence and a browser defence plugin for Firefox and Internet Explorer, which will flag up and block potential threats within your browser. This is all standard stuff for any internet security suite, but it’s nicely implemented here.

PC Tools’ main interface gives you an at-a-glance look at the status of the software’s various modules, allows you to quickly enable or disable them, provides information about how many threats its detected in its lifetime, as well as providing access to a shiny green scan button. The blue and white colour scheme and interface are only slight tweaks to the last version, but the whole things look reasonably up-to-date.

PC Tools

PC Tools Internet Security is remarkably cheap. Like most modern anti-malware suites, a current subscription will automatically update itself to the latest version, no matter what the version number or date on your copy’s box says, so you can buy the boxed 2011 edition at £13 for a one-user licence and it’ll transform itself into the latest edition the first time it updates.

This is particularly convenient, as boxed copies of the 2012 version have yet to hit the shelves as we go to press. Three-user boxed versions of PC Tools Internet Security 2011 are a little thin on the ground, but the pre-order price for the 2012 edition from is £23. PC Tools Internet Security is fantastic value if you want simple firewall, web and email defence without any extraneous bells and whistles. However, for better protection, we still prefer BitDefender Internet Security 2012.

For straightforward advice on getting the best anti-malware deal, and keeping your software up-to-date year-on-year, then read Avoiding the anti-malware trap now.


Price £23
Rating ****