Forty bucks buys you antivirus protection, email-attachment scanning, spyware detection, real-time, on-the-fly security alerts, and one year of daily virus-signature and program updates in McAfee’s VirusScan 2006. This includes monitoring your system for suspicious activity, such as behaviors indicative of worm and hostile-script activity.
After a swift and painless installation (unfortunately, registration is required to receive program updates), VirusScan completed its survey of our test system in a somewhat sluggish 41 minutes. But up against Maximum PC’s Payload of Misfortune™—a bundle of 12 viruses, worms, downloaders, and Trojans—McAfee nailed the lot of them. It also detected the two spyware spooks, but was only able to remove one of them on its own.
One of the highlights of McAfee VirusScan 2006 is protection from what McAfee calls PUPs—potentially unwanted programs. It’s very effective. We installed the application first and then busted out with our payload again, and VirusScan 2006 flagged all of our Internet cooties and blocked their installation. On the other hand, it also proved to be a bit on the hysterical side, frequently sounding the alarm on game and application demos, and even PUPs we had previously authorized.
We’re delighted to report that McAfee’s VirusScan 2006 is a competent Internet cootie blocker, but even in this respect, it’s still playing catch-up with Symantec’s somewhat more sophisticated and comprehensive application, and it still doesn’t stand out as a great value compared with free antivirus and anti-spyware mercenaries like AVG and Spybot.
Month Reviewed: January 2006
+ HUGS: Effective protection against Internete nasties.
- BUGS: Redundant PUP alerts; frequent reboots required.