F-Secure Internet Security 2008 security software - Review

F-Secure Internet Security 2008 security software - Review

A no-nonsense internet security suite

Pros: Less expensive than rivals, no annoying pop-up alerts

Bottomline: A full range of internet security tools in an elegant package

Price: £48 (three users, two years each)

Manufacturer: F-Secure

Internet security programs should be simple to set up. In use, though, they can be the source of confusion.

Problems can range from convoluted update procedures and endless unnecessary alerts, to a dramatic reduction in the computer's performance.

F-Secure Internet Security is unusual in that although it includes anti-virus protection, a firewall, parental controls and an anti-spam feature it doesn’t hog the computer's power. Nor does it constantly pop up ominous-looking messages that ask the user to check settings.

After installation and a restart, the program presented us with a simple wizard asking us if we would like to set up parental controls. No intervention was required to activate the anti-virus and firewall features.

The program ran in the background without a noticeable impact on the performance of our not-too-modern test computer. Running a full computer scan was similarly business-like, taking just five minutes.

Not only does this flag up any viruses that may be lurking on your hard disk, it also alerts you of spyware – in our case, a lurking rogue dialler program.

The program’s control panel is functional and well thought-out. A status screen clearly displays whether or not each feature is enabled and functioning properly.

Crucially, fixing problems with the program is easy. All the main functions can be enabled or disabled with no more than a few clicks – something on which better known security programs have been known to fall down.

Accordingly, we found the Parental Controls easy to enable and effective. The feature works by allowing you to stop access to certain web sites or categories by tweaking the built-in child and teenager profiles.

If the PC has multiple users of different ages, it’s possible to switch between profiles but a password (held by the adult of the house) is required. Internet access can also be shut off altogether between specified times, for example late at night.

F-Secure Internet Security 2008 includes up to two years of automatic updates can be used on three home PCs, depending on the version you go for. It does its job quietly and effectively, and that, after all, is what an internet security program should do.