The antivirus world's other heavy hitter doesn't put in quite as good a performance as this year's Norton, but still serves up a very respectable performance across the board.

It suffered from the one of the longest boot-up times and the absolute highest CPU load during scans, but compensated by being by far the least memory-hungry program on test.

You might not want to play games while it's running – and there's no gaming mode provided – but for most apps it'll be just fine.

In other areas, Internet Security proved a mid-level package. Its initial scan took a lengthy 17 minutes, which dropped down to just four minutes on a subsequent runthrough – roughly the same as Norton.

It caught 100 per cent of the malware on our test system without falling prey to any false positives, and on a purely aesthetic level, it features a much better interface that makes it easy to access exactly the features you want.

As with all major internet security suites, a capable software firewall is built in, and can be activated and then generally ignored until it spots something you should know about.

Bonus features on offer here include parental controls, file shredding, antispam and a gigabyte of free space (the Norton equivalent is only available in the 360 edition). The upgraded version, Total Protection, offers all these features, plus an encrypted vault to store files, home network defense and a more advanced version of McAfee's SiteAdvisor for spotting bad links.

For most however, Internet Security will be all you need, and while it may not have come out the winner this year, it remains a strong performer.

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