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Panda Internet Security 2009 review

Verdict

An improvement on last year's package, but sadly still flawed.

Review Date: 13 Feb 2009

Reviewed By: Darien Graham-Smith

Price when reviewed: £43 (£49 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Value for Money
4 stars out of 6

Ease of Use
4 stars out of 6

Panda is a popular choice in its native Spain, but we found its 2008 package offered poor protection and consumed too many system resources. This new version is a definite improvement but, as this month's results indicate, it still isn't a great all-rounder.

First, the good news: Panda's file-based malware detection is getting better. Last year it was placed firmly in the bottom half of the pack, but the 2009 edition's 87% score is only a short distance behind Labs winner Avira. It distinguished neatly between types of malware too, separating hacking tools and backdoors from adware, spyware and so forth - not that useful to the average user, perhaps, but interesting.

And in the network scan Panda performed as well as we could have asked, alerting us to the attack and shutting down connections from the attacking PC. Sadly, this wasn't repeated in our web threats test. With a hit rate of just 3%, we think it's fair to say that browser protection isn't Panda's strength. System resource usage wasn't as disastrous, but boot time and RAM footprint were still only average.

If you can live with those weaknesses, Panda has other good points: configuration is simple, and the antispam toolbar it inserts into Windows Mail is clear and easy to work with. We were also charmed by the occasional broken English ("please wait while the file is reconstructed") that hints at its exotic origin.

Nor is the price bad if you have three machines to protect. But ultimately, it's hard to recommend a package that offers such poor protection against web-based exploits.

Author: Darien Graham-Smith

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