PROS / McAfee gives you unlimited licenses so you can protect all of your devices, including cell phones and tablets.
CONS / This program received the lowest score for protection in our review.
VERDICT / McAfee Internet Security is rich in security features but lacks significantly in its ability to effectively block malware.
McAfee Internet Security is a well-known name in the computer protection industry. It has many key features beyond antimalware and antiphishing that are important inclusions for internet security software. The tools provide extra security that isn't found in antivirus software alone. However, its protection scores fall well behind the competition.
During the March and April 2016 evaluation of McAfee on Windows 10 machines by independent software testing lab AV-Test, McAfee received the lowest score for protection of all the internet security suites we reviewed: 3.5 out of 6. It was better at protecting against known malware threats than new, unknown viruses, but an overall score of 58 percent is significantly lower than most suites, which scored between 92 and 100 percent for protection. This is, however, better than protecting with just Microsoft Windows Defender, the basic internet security program that comes standard with Windows 10 computers. AV-Test shows Windows Defender scored even lower in protection than McAfee.
In other areas, McAfee scored much higher. Tests show that McAfee is about average when it comes to performance. This means it causes your computer to lag about as much as other internet security programs do. It does a good job of differentiating between true threats and good files, only blocking malware. McAfee received a perfect score for usability, the test that evaluates this function of internet security software.
McAfee's internet protection program includes unlimited licenses so you can extend protection to all of your internet devices, including mobile devices such as cell phones and tablets. This is the only internet security suite in our review to offer unlimited licenses; the most any other suite offers is 10, with three or just one being more common. This computer security program also gives you control over its scanning behavior. You can select automatic scans of all files or just programs and documents. You can control whether it scans email attachments, instant message attachments and network drives. McAfee boosts your computer performance by erasing files that don't need to be there.
This is one of the internet security suites to include a proprietary firewall. A two-way firewall is foundational to internet security because it filters which applications can enter or leave a PC. A firewall also hides your PC from the internet, preventing hackers from easily accessing your system and sensitive files.
Another good feature is the parental controls. These tools let you set limits on when your children can access the internet. They also let you block specific content and websites from view while your kids are online, further limiting potential internet threats.
McAfee Premium Security Suite
Like most of the programs on our internet security suite review, McAfee offers a premium version that includes more protections than either its basic antivirus or its regular internet security suite.
The online help is well done. There's a knowledgebase, FAQs page and community forums. You can contact support technicians by phone or online chat 24 hours a day. However, the online chat feature tends to act more as a forum to gather your contact information to pass along to a live representative who will then call you.
McAfee Internet Security, like the best internet security suites, includes antiphishing, a firewall and parental controls. While it doesn't drain your computer resources too much while running, it's disappointing that McAfee scores so low for protection in independent internet security tests.