Like most of its major security software competitors, CA has jumped on the suite bandwagon in a bid to take responsibility for the security of your PC.

eTrust Internet Security Suite 2.0 has all of the major bases covered, integrating personal fi rewall software with anti-virus, anti-spam and anti-spyware components to create a singlesource PC security solution.

The main difference between CA's suite and those of its competitors are the methods by which the products have been aggregated. Almost all of the programs you'll fi nd here arrived by way of licensing agreements or acquisitions, resulting in a somewhat predictable mix of strengths and weaknesses.

On the upside, each of the components comes from a strong lineage, often best in class. On the downside, the suite suffers from the usual trials associated with attempting to integrate four different products under a single banner.

In the zone

The most noteworthy component of eTrust Internet Security Suite is its firewall, a licensed and rebranded version of ZoneAlarm 5.5. The rock-solid performance we've come to associate with the ZoneAlarm name is a definite plus for the suite, but it doesn't include advanced features such as the Triple Defense Firewall integrated into ZoneAlarm 6.0.

Be that as it may, eTrust Personal Firewall provides more than enough protection for the average user's PC, with appropriate default security settings and meaningful on-screen alerts when required.

The eTrust Anti-Spam component included with the suite arrived via CA's acquisition of Qurb and its proven anti-spam knowhow. If you've long been seeking a worthy anti-spam solution, you'll reach your goal with this product.

eTrust Anti-Spam works with both Outlook and Outlook Express, combining a scoring-based approach to message analysis with an automatically generated approved senders list.

The result is a system that rarely misidentifies legitimate messages as junk, and does a great job of keeping you informed (via toolbar balloon messages) when likely spam messages have been received and quarantined.

Combine these capabilities with excellent antiphishing/ fraud capabilities and you'll never have to worry whether emails are legitimate.

Antibodies

Both the Anti-Virus and Anti- Spyware capabilities included in eTrust Internet Security Suite are solid, if not particularly spectacular. The EZ Anti-Virus component is the better of the two, offering strong real-time and on-demand scanning capabilities and an integrated email scanner.

Using this segment of the suite is easy and intuitive; users will fi nd it straightforward to get things sorted with minimal effort, although advanced users may fi nd the interface and features like scheduling a tad trivial.

The spyware protection aspect of the suite comes in the form of eTrust PestPatrol Anti-Spyware. While it offers one of the fastest scanning engines out there, don't expect performance in line with anti-spyware heavyweights such as Spyware Doctor.

PestPatrol had a tough time removing some of the more advanced threats present on our test system, and we were particularly disappointed by the component's active protection capabilities. While present, they weren't enabled by default, potentially leaving systems at risk of infection.

eTrust Internet Security Suite 2.0 will still require more work (and a standardised interface) before it can compete with its stronger competitors. That being the case, the protection it offers is sufficient for most PC users, but it's possible to get more for your money from higher octane alternatives such as ZoneAlarm Security Suite or Trend Micro PC-cillin Internet Security. Dan DiNicolo