Internet security is essential even if your surfing habits are minimal, but choosing the right protection suite can be a daunting task. Having put F-Secure's upcoming Internet Security 2010 suite up against Sunbelt's Vipre Antivirus + Antispyware both did the job admirably, and the choice really comes down to technical ability and features.
F-Secure Internet Security 2010:
User friendly interface; parental controls; browser link checks
Excellent advanced tools; battery conservation mode; small install and memory footprint
F-Secure: £39.95 for a one-year three-PC licence; Sunbelt Vipre: £29.95 for a one-year single-user licence
There are many anti-virus and internet security suites available these days, and it can be difficult to decide which one to install. In this review we'll be putting two of the latest to arrive on the scene, F-Secure Internet Security 2010 (IS2010) and Sunbelt Vipre, head to head to determine which is better at protecting your valuable data.
Both install very easily, although IS2010 provides a more robust set of options when choosing the manual install route. The IS2010 install comes in at around 70MB, and Vipre at a very lean 16MB.
The products work just fine on Windows XP and Vista, but for those of you who have already upgraded to the Windows 7 release candidate, or are planning to upgrade to the new Microsoft operating system when it becomes available, it's worth noting that several security applications don't yet work on Windows 7.
IS2010 had no problems on Windows 7, but we had to use a new beta version of Vipre in order to get all the functionality working properly. This should be a full release soon, so we'll give it a pass on that one.
Anti-virus programs have come a long way in recent years in terms of monitoring systems without significantly impacting performance. Some of this is thanks to improvements in hardware, but a lot of it is down to more efficient processes.
We installed both suites on separate partitions of a Samsung netbook with 2GB of memory, and ran Passmark's Performance Test before and after to gauge the impact of the applications on the system. Happily, neither IS2010 nor Vipre had any discernable effect on the Performance Test score, which consistently came out around the 200 mark before and after installing the security suites.
Vipre takes up only around 17MB of system memory across just two processes, while IS2010 is a bit more heavy handed, requiring around 35MB across nine separate processes.
The main screen on both products provides status information, but F-Secure's newly revamped interface wins out as the most user friendly with its large icons and simple menus, while Vipre goes for a more matter-of-fact layout.
IS2010 does offer a bit more in the way of features, with optional packet logging for technical users, customisable parental controls and a plug-in for internet browsers with icons next to each link to represent the safety of the site being pointed to. Unlike AVG, which has a similar feature, this is not just within the search results but with all links, even in webmail applications.
The parental controls can be configured for children and teenagers, and can limit the number of hours spent online and/or the times that the internet can be accessed, as well as restricting the sites and type of content.