McAfee+ offers a suite of personal online security for individuals and families. While it is higher priced than some competitors, the protections are solid, and the name recognizable which makes it easier to trust.
Choice of plans
VPN and antivirus included
24/7 direct phone support
No monthly pricing
Lowest plan has no credit monitoring
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While it started as McAfee Associates back in 1987, named for its founder John McAfee, it went through a few name changes through the years, along with being acquired by Intel in 2011 to join the Intel Security division. Intel spun it off, and put it onto the Nasdaq in 2020 to become public, but by 2022 it was private again. Today, it is known as just McAfee.
Let’s look at McAfee+, which offers a comprehensive approach to identity theft and online security.
McAfee+: Plans and pricing
McAfee offers users to choose between multiple plans. Essentially, it comes down to three tiers of plans: Premium, Advanced and Ultimate, and then for the individual or the family plan. As expected, the individual plan covers a single adult, while the family plan covers up to two adults and four children under the age of 18 years old. Note that plans are only offered on an annual basis, and there is no monthly pricing.
The entry point is the McAfee+ Premium plan, which costs $44.99/year for the individual plan, and $62.99/year for the family plan. It offers identity monitoring, a password manager, online account cleanup scans for two adults, and web protection. We appreciate that it has a VPN, and antivirus, but it falls short as it does not have credit monitoring, and no credit scores or reports.
Moving up a notch takes us to the middle plan of the Advanced plan. It has a cost of $79.99/year for the individual, and $107.99/year for the family plan, and it includes all of the features of the lower plan, and adds one bureau credit monitoring, along with monthly credit scores. Beyond that, it adds lost wallet protection, $1 million in identity theft coverage, identity restoration, and a security freeze.
At the top tier is the Ultimate plan, which has a cost of $179.99/year for the individual, and $224.99/year for the family. It starts with all of the features of the lower plans, and also offers three bureau credit monitoring, along with daily credit scores. To provide some additional value to this higher priced plan, it also offers the additional features of a credit lock, and $25k of ransomware coverage.
We analyze the plans, and offer that the lowest plan does not offer any credit monitoring, so users are better off with a higher plan. Also, while the costs are higher than some other value targeted offerings, when you factor in the costs of a separate VPN, a password manager, and an antivirus program, the prices for McAfee+ are more in line with competitors, assuming you are satisfied to use each of these offerings. There is also a 30-day refund for plans, and it increases to 60 days for an auto renewal.
McAfee+ is a comprehensive cybersecurity suite developed by McAfee, which offers features and functionalities you can expect from this type of product. Here are some of the features found in McAfee+ plans:
Antivirus and Antimalware: McAfee+ offers real-time protection against viruses, malware, spyware, ransomware, and other malicious threats. It scans and detects potential threats on your system, preventing them from causing harm. Not many online identity protection suites include this, but it does form an important foundation to personal security.
Firewall Protection: A built-in firewall monitors and controls incoming and outgoing network traffic, protecting your device from unauthorized access and blocking suspicious connections.
Web Protection: McAfee's web protection feature helps safeguard your online activities by blocking malicious websites, phishing attempts, and dangerous downloads. It also scans email attachments and instant messages for potential threats. This is especially useful for children online.
Identity Theft Protection: This feature helps protect your personal information from being compromised by monitoring for potential identity theft risks. It may include features like credit monitoring, social security number tracking, and alerts for suspicious activity. Mcafee's Identity Theft Protection service monitors over 40 data broker sites to identify if personal information has been compromised.
Safe Browsing: McAfee+ provides secure browsing extensions or plugins for popular web browsers that warn you about unsafe websites in search results and block harmful ads or pop-ups.
Credit monitoring: Depending on the plan, credit bureau monitoring looks for threats on a user’s identity, and also monitors the Dark Web for threats.
Password Manager: A unique password manager tool securely stores your login credentials and helps you create strong, unique passwords for each website or application you use.
Secure VPN: McAfee+ offers a virtual private network (VPN) feature that encrypts your internet connection and anonymizes your online activities, providing an additional layer of privacy and security.
System Optimization Tools: McAfee+ also includes system optimization tools to help improve the performance of your device by cleaning up unnecessary files, managing startup programs, and optimizing system settings.
Parental Controls: McAfee+ products also offer parental control features, allowing you to monitor and restrict your child's online activities, block inappropriate content, and set usage time limits.
As would be expected from a veteran provider, McAfee offers numerous methods for support. On the direct side, there is 24/7 phone support, although we would have liked to see the number more prominently featured as we had to go through multiple screens to find it. There is a virtual assistant, and we did find a chat to a real person available 24/7 for English speaking countries (and 9am to 6 pm on business days for the rest of the world). We did not find an email, or a support portal as alternate methods for direct contact.
There are some options on the self support as well. We found a Support Home page, with a search bar, which had jump offs to YouTube videos, a FAQ, and related articles. There are also links to McAfee social media sites, including a Twitter feed that is active with recent updates, but it was not reassuring to find the link to the Facebook site coming up as “This page is not available.”
McAfee+: Final verdict
McAfee+ offers a solid offering for personal security and identity protection. We like the choice of tiers, the numerous features, the support center, and the 24/7 phone support. We find areas for improvement with the annual only pricing, that the bottom tier has no credit monitoring, there is only a single method to contact for direct support, and that the pricing is on the expensive side. Still, when you want to entrust your personal information to a provider, you want one with a longstanding reputation that McAfee has built up over years.
Jonas P. DeMuro is a freelance reviewer covering wireless networking hardware.