Obvious gimmicks wear off pretty quickly. Indie band Keane thought they were going to change the face of music by releasing a single on a USB drive rather than CD, but it never really caught on.

It's much the same with PC security. Releasing a security package on a mini USB drive inside a credit card-sized carry case verges on the absurd, yet CA software's Internet Security Suite is worthy of your cash.

You can install the suite on up to three PCs, and at £40 that's good value. The Ultra Flash Drive is reusable once you've used your license keys, which is always handy. Pre-installation is important, so anti-virus software or total security packages should be removed.

The manual points out Internet Security Suite will conflict if they're not; older versions of eTrust EZ Antivirus or CA Anti-Virus can remain, though.

Suite dreams

While even the heavyweight Internet security suites from Symantec or McAfee provide a whole host of tools, CA keeps it simple at anti-virus, personal firewall, anti-spyware and anti-spam.

It's that concentration on the big four threats and a speedy interface that makes the software a winner, but its protection and general friendliness puts it among the best we've seen this year.

It terms of protection, this boasts certified protection status from a variety of independent sources including the Virus Bulletin and West Coast Labs' Check Mark. The anti-virus works smoothly. Whitelist anti-spam (a list of contacts that the user deems acceptable) is bolstered by a "spam score" for unknowns.

The speedy anti-spyware is good at identification and offers real-time analysis, which usually only comes with dedicated anti-spyware or more expensive suites. In addition, you get daily protection updates, free upgrades to the latest product features and free 24/7 online support with a one-year subscription.

All in all, this is a cracking product from a relative newcomer and we can only expect better in years to come.