We continue our series of improvements to the Security for Everyone series with an update on how we centralize the results of our testing. From now on we will have a list with the best Internet Security suites reviewed each year. Let’s start with the best suites of 2011-2012.
Before you read our recommendations, don’t hesitate to learn more about how we test each product and what each verdict means. Complete information can be found in this article: Security for Everyone - How We Review Products.
Buy for Everyone!
Out of the security suites we reviewed this year, we recommend to everyone the following:
- Kaspersky Internet Security 2012 - Kaspersky offers a very polished product, highly recommended to anyone looking for a good security suite.
- BitDefender Internet Security 2012 - we tested this product twice: immediately after its launch and a few months later. In our first round of testing we identified a few bugs which did not allow us to give it our highest verdict. The bugs have been fixed since then and, after our second round of testing, we can honestly recommend it to everyone as being a great security suite.
- Norton Internet Security 2012 - we found that Norton has a few shortcomings when it comes to its default firewall configuration. However, it is able to offer great protection to all users, with only a bit of user configuration being done.
- Trend Micro Titanium Internet Security 2012 - brings a very minimalistic approach to computer security, one which is very likely to appeal to novice users. However, more advanced users might not be pleased with its simplicity. Read the review for more details.
- Microsoft Security Essentials 2 & the Windows 7 Firewall - even though it is a combination of free security products, we found it to be offering both good protection and usability.
- ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite 2012 - ZoneAlarm pleasantly surprised us by providing a good and friendly suite. It uses the Kaspersky engine for providing antimalware protection while the firewall uses their own protection technology.
Even though we placed the products in the order we recommend them, we encourage you to read each review independently before making a decision. Each security suite has its own strengths and weaknesses and some can be a better fit to your needs and requirements than others.
Buy for Geeks!
Our "Buy for Geeks!" award is for security suites which are:
- Targeted only at knowledgeable users who want advanced configuration options, OR
- Are not friendly enough to casual users, OR
- Have some important shortcomings which prevent us from recommending them to every computer user.
The security suites we recommend for "geeks" are the following:
- ESET Smart Security 5 - even though it is really light on performance and easy to use, we identified some protection issues which did not allow us to recommend it to everyone. Read the review for more details.
- Avira Internet Security 2012 - Avira provides really effective antivirus and firewall protection. In fact, when it comes to securing your system, it is one of the top performers. However, the suite needs some usability improvements before it can be recommended to everyone. For now, geeks will be the only able to enjoy its effectiveness and tweak the suite to their liking.
- BullGuard Internet Security 12 - BullGuard have a product that offers a great level of security. However, their decision to change what was a perfectly good user interface with something new, was not very inspired. The new interface lowers the level of usability and friendliness this suite once had and doesn't allow us to recommend it to everyone.
- avast! Internet Security 7 - Avast! provides one of the most easy to use security suites available on the market. However, we found it having a less than ideal integration with Windows 7, an average firewall and some installation bugs. Therefore, we can recommend it only to people willing to invest a bit of time to improve its default configuration.
- AVG Internet Security 2012 - AVG offers a great firewall and really good integration with Windows 7. However, its antivirus and antispyware protection, plus the default configuration for these modules, do not allow it to offer top notch protection. Also, AVG does not offer web browsing protection for Google Chrome. For more details on its strengths and weaknesses, read the review.
- F-Secure Internet Security 2012 - we found F-Secure to be offering a less than ideal default configuration. If you are not afraid to spend some time to improve it, you can get really good protection.
- Panda Internet Security 2012 - we found that Panda is offering a lesser experience than with their 2011 versions of security products. For more details, check our review.
- McAfee Internet Security 2012 - McAfee has not made major improvements to their security products for more than two years now and it shows. Their suite provides average protection and it needs an interface improvement, plus a much better default configuration. However, knowledgeable geeks will be able to get better protection by customizing the product in a better way.
- Outpost Security Suite Pro 7.5.1 - Agnitum has created a niche security product aimed at knowledgeable users, who want control over every aspect of the security suite. If you consider yourself a knowledgeable geek, read this review. You might be interested in trying out Outpost Security Suite Pro 7.5.
- Comodo Internet Security Pro 2012 - Comodo offers an average product. Its antivirus module has a poor default configuration and its scanning speed is one of the slowest you can find. This product works well for users who are technical enough to improve its default configuration and to compensate for some its protection shortcomings.
Just like with the security suites recommended to everyone, you should read the reviews before dismissing a solution simply because it received a different verdict. The "Buy for Geeks!" list of products can include some hidden gems you might want to try and use.
Our "Stay Away!" badge is pretty self-explanatory. These are products we do not recommend using and purchasing. You should use the trial versions before purchasing these products and make sure you really want to use them.
The suite we don’t recommend using are:
- Webroot SecureAnywhere Essentials 2012 - Webroot made a big bet and started using only its cloud based technology to protect their users. This means you install a security suite which needs only a 644KB file to function, uses very few system resources and it is incredibly fast at scanning your computer. However, there are quite a few downsides which don't make it a great purchase both for geeks and normal users. Read our review to learn more.
- GFI VIPRE Internet Security 2012 - GFI have put together a product which looks dated and has many usability issues. Also, the way it is integrated with Windows 7 and the major Internet browsers lacks the elegance and effectiveness of its competitors.
- CA Internet Security Suite Plus 7 - we found CA to be providing below average protection and lacking in friendliness and ease of use for novice users.
- Rising Internet Security 2011 - Rising was a poor performer, especially when it comes to its antivirus protection modules.
Test Comparison - What is the Best Free Online Antivirus Scanner?
How Security Products Are Made - An Open Discussion with BitDefender
Best Practices on How To Make Safe Banking & Financial Transactions Online