McAfee Internet Security 2012 review

Features beefed-up child protection

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  • Tackles current online threats
  • CPU use not too bad


  • Mediocre performance
  • Long scans
  • Inconsistent

Things are changing rapidly in the antivirus world, and the way we use our computers is too. McAfee has acknowledged the change in the way we're using the internet, which is why the McAfee Internet Security 2012's child protection doesn't just block inappropriate websites - it can also prevent the previewing and downloading of explicit videos and music on iTunes.

While these new features show an impressive grasp of new trends and potential threats in technology, a few old school quirks did pop up. And when we say "pop up" we mean it literally. Time and again McAfee Internet Security 2012 popped up windows and messages letting us know what was going on.

Informative, maybe, but an annoyance most antivirus tools now avoid. The desktop interface is packed with more text and drop-down menus than other, more user-friendly products.

Still, it's easy enough to run a full scan of the PC, with little impact on our test system's performance. CPU usage remained around the 55 to 69 per cent mark while scanning. It's quite a big increase on the usual CPU usage of an idle PC, but many anti-virus programs we've tested have put a much bigger stress on a PC while running.

McAfee Internet Security 2012 review

Scan times were quite long, especially compared to some other internet security packages.

This combination of long scans and little CPU activity led to some rather inconsistent results, with some malware found without problems and other pieces of malware left undisturbed.

Overall, McAfee Internet Security 2012 is a competent and well-made anti-virus program, with a market price of around £30 in the UK and $60 in the US, for a one-year subscription for up to three computers.

However, considering the strength of its brand and the years of antivirus experience McAfee has, we're a bit disappointed that all McAfee Internet Security 2012 could muster this year was "competent" and not "outstanding".

Maybe it's taken its eye off the ball, focusing instead on products such as McAfee All Access 2012, which cover the majority of our internet-connected non-computer devices.

In a way it makes sense, since a few years ago we mainly accessed the internet through desktop PCs or laptops, which would almost certainly have antivirus software installed. Now, more and more of us are accessing the internet through devices as diverse as tablets, smartphones, games consoles and even TVs.


With All Access 2012 and the family protection features found in McAfee Internet Security 2012, McAfee has proved that it has a good grasp on our changing internet habits, and has come up with some good solutions to a new wave of security threats.

However, with McAfee Internet Security 2012's rather mediocre performance, we worry that McAfee may begin to neglect the PC side of things.