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F-Secure Internet Security 2009 review

Verdict

A credible contender, but not the lightest or the most effective.

Review Date: 13 Feb 2009

Reviewed By: Darien Graham-Smith

Price when reviewed: £34 (£39 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

Ease of Use
3 stars out of 6

F-Secure acquitted itself with honour this month, but didn't quite break into the top rank. Its 87% score in our malware test was creditable; its 37% in our web threats test less so. Its strongest suit was its firewall, which managed to conceal our PC from would-be attackers, so that our security scan couldn't even confirm the machine was switched on.

In many ways, F-Secure is pleasing to use too. Its main interface is compact and clean, although this is largely achieved by hiding controls - six main tabs contain more than 30 links, which open further configuration panels. These might be daunting for beginners, but they mainly follow Windows user interface guidelines, and will feel intuitive to more knowledgeable users.

We also liked the simplicity of its email integration. F-Secure didn't add any buttons or toolbars to our mail client, but simply brought up a summary window when infected mail was found, detailing the nature of the threat and the action taken.

Unfortunately, simple doesn't necessarily mean nimble: F-Secure Internet Security 2009 had one of the largest RAM footprints of any suite this month, and slow startup times. That's hard to excuse given its relatively sparse feature set - just the bare essentials plus parental controls.

If you have three PCs to protect, F-Secure is reasonable value (£50 exc VAT for a two-year licence), and unusually it comes with a bootable Linux-based recovery CD - a nice touch. It's not ideal for everyone, but technical users may appreciate its no-nonsense approach.

Author: Darien Graham-Smith

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