Relatively fast scan times; effective link scanner.
Greatly slows down boot time; default protection levels are too low.
When we ran our annual antivirus roundup in the May 2010 issue, many of you wrote in asking why we didn’t include Product X or Product Y. Fair question, so here’s the deal: We could have filled an entire issue reviewing just AV products, but that would have grown old by about page 32. Rather than do that, we’re devoting space each month to cover apps that didn’t make the cut, and CA Internet Security Suite is first up to bat.
Navigating CA's seemingly simple menu system is harder than it looks.
After we installed CA ISS, it quickly became apparent that power users are not the target demographic. CA took a wrecking ball to last year’s version and completely redesigned the UI in an attempt to “eliminate the technobabble that makes PC security difficult to understand and control,” but in doing so, it made it needlessly tedious to poke around under the hood. The main interface consists of four index card–shaped menus that you can cycle through like a tie rack. Sounds easy enough, but if you want to set up a scan schedule, for example, you’ll need to bring up the My Computer card, click the Update Settings link, highlight the Threat Settings tab, and then scroll to the bottom. You’ll fumble around like this until you get accustomed to the interface, and when you do, you’ll discover there’s not a whole lot to play with. Strike one.
Strike two came when we tested for performance. CA ISS added 30 seconds to our test bed’s startup time, trailing only Trend Micro (32 seconds) as the worst offender we’ve analyzed all year. When we fired up PCMark, CA ISS came in dead last and was the only security suite to turn in a score lower than 5,000.
|CA ISS ||Norton ||ESET ||MSE ||McAfee|
|Scan 1 (min:sec) ||12:09 ||16:18 ||7:45 ||16:56||13:33|
|Scan 2 (min:sec)||3:19||4:47||7:43||16:56||6:45|
|Boot (seconds added)||+30 ||+18 ||+12 ||+9||+13|