Panda Internet Security 2009’s interface is less polished than that of Webroot Internet Security Essentials 2009 (right), but it’s easy to use.
Tabs allow you to choose between viewing the program’s overall status, scanning your PC, viewing the results of previous scans and checking your quarantine area.
The main configuration options for virus scanning and firewall settings are in the Status tab. Basic options are clearly marked, but some may confuse users. For example, the range of tools available to detect malware includes Panda’s TruPrevent behavioural analysis, which protects against unknown threats. However, the documentation provides only the vaguest idea of what it’s supposed to do, and it’s disabled by default.
TruPrevent blocks unknown programs by analysing their actions and trying to determine whether they look risky. To keep it running in the background requires considerably more memory, raising the minimum specification to 1GB of RAM, but it’s worth having. It prevented one of the nastiest malware attacks in our test, which had previously rendered our test system inoperative when we had TruPrevent disabled.
Not all the options are clearly labelled. The firewall blacklists can be found behind an obtusely labelled option that invites you to ‘Specify the addresses, ports and protocols that your computer can use to communicate with other computers’. There’s very little information provided about other advanced settings; this includes important ones such as heuristic scanning, which analyses the code of hostile programs to identify them as a threat. To stay secure, you should avoid disabling any settings if you’re not absolutely sure of what they do.
Panda Internet Security 2009 couldn’t quite match the outstanding performance of our current Best Buy winner, McAfee VirusScan 2009. At its default settings, it missed three of the most virulent malicious programs to which we exposed it. That said, this program is still great value and did a decent job of protecting our computer, and enabling TruPrevent makes it even more powerful.