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Review: F-Secure Internet Security 2008

From antiphishing to antispam, F-Secure says its new Internet security suite handles it all. CMP Channel Test Center takes a look to see how it does.

The combined antivirus and antispyware components scan files whenever they are accessed and on a schedule. The schedule can be daily, weekly, or monthly. It can also scan whenever the PC has been idle for a specified time, allowing for more frequent scans for high-risk systems. Internet Security 2008 can disinfect, quarantine, or delete infected files and spyware.

The software CD doubles as both an installation CD and a scanner. The CD connects with the F-Secure site, downloads the virus database, and scans the local machine without installing the software. This is a very handy way to clean and repair an unknown or unstable system. Despite not being installed locally, the CD's antivirus scanner checked the entire test system (clean) here at the CMP Channel Test Center very quickly -- in less than 30 minutes -- all 55,647 files.

F-Secure leverages its DeepGuard technology to identify good and bad programs. Using behavior analysis, all dangerous processes can be killed automatically and immediately. If a process is ambiguous, a pop-up box appears asking the users to identify the program. This means that even if the antispyware or antivirus didn't get around to removing the malware, it will get zapped the second it tries to execute.

Nothing happened when installing malware executables. That was a little perplexing until a look in the logs revealed that Internet Security 2008 prevented them from launching at all. A notification explaining that the movie file was actually a Trojan in disguise would have been helpful, but there was none.

The desktop firewall component sheathes all open ports to hide it from the Internet. The firewall automatically configures recognized applications, such as Firefox, for Internet access and displays a prompt only for the unknown applications. This reduces the number of pop-up dialog boxes a user is faced with commonly seen in competitor products. Considering how easy it is to get in the habit of hitting "Allow" for everything, minimizing the prompts can only help.

The spam filter integrates with Outlook, Outlook Express, or Windows Mail using whitelists and blacklists. The parental control module can define blocks of time (in half-hour increments) during which Internet access is allowed and set up multiple profiles to filter content.

System builders can sell the OEM version of Internet Security 2008 with new computers. The product can be installed and preconfigured prior to the sale.

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