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F-Secure Internet Security 2009 review: F-Secure Internet Security 2009

The Good F-Secure Internet Security 2009 uses multiple antivirus engines; includes a disk utility feature; and has an online tutorial.

The Bad F-Secure Internet Security 2009 costs more than the competition; hides its disk utility feature; has a noisy firewall; and suffers from some uneven system performance and antimalware effectiveness in third-party testing.

The Bottom Line While offering roughly the same features and performance as its competition, F-Secure Internet Security 2009 is about $20 too expensive.

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6.7 Overall
  • Setup 7
  • Features 6
  • Performance 7
  • Support 6

F-Secure Internet Security 2009 is a complete suite of antivirus, antispyware, antispam, antiphishing, and personal firewall tools for personal desktops. We've been hearing good things and looking forward to reviewing F-Secure for years, however, several little things bothered us about this release. F-Secure Internet Security 2009 costs more than the competition without adding any "must have" features; the firewall prompts were noisy; and we noticed local system degradation on some of our test machines, even though in formal CNET Labs testing, the product performance was on par with its 2009 competition. Our uncertainty about F-Secure Internet Security 2009 continued to effectiveness testing--one of the test organizations reported high marks, the other did not. In the end it's not the performance, but the cost, roughly $20 to $30 more than the competition, that holds us back.

We had no problems installing F-Secure Internet Security 2009. A reboot is required. We did, however, have trouble with one or two installations. Although the CNET Labs tests showed F-Secure performs on par with its competitors, we noticed in one installation a marked slowdown in system performance. A second installation did not show this.

Should you decide to uninstall, F-Secure does not provide its own uninstaller. You must use the Microsoft uninstaller found in Add and Remove Programs within the Command Console. After a reboot we found no Registry files, but we did find several program and log files in an F-Secure directory tree on the root drive.

The F-Secure interface is clean. The left-hand navigation is clean, as is the right window pane where details appear. Configuration settings are no more than one click away for those who want to change a setting.

Missing is the obvious "Scan now" option; we found it later, though.

F-Secure Internet Security 2009 covers all the bases, including antivirus, antispam, antispyware, and firewall protection. There's even parental control built in (not a separate download). But beyond that, there wasn't some additional feature this year that stood out as groundbreaking.

For antivirus protection, F-Secure licenses multiple antivirus technologies from other vendors. This has the potential to knock F-Secure out of the ballpark, yet it doesn't. While it gets very high marks in live malware testing in one test, another testing organization scored it considerably lower. While the F-Secure malware scan on our test machine was thorough, finding one virus on our machine that other scanners had not identified, when it came time to remove the malware, we were presented with a choice. Huh? Most antivirus products today simply quarantine the offending file for later inspection, but F-Secure stops and makes you decide before progressing. While you can configure the removal options, we found the default surprising.

We also found the F-Secure firewall to be especially noisy, more so than usual. Not only did F-Secure not recognize common programs like Skype and Google Toolbar update, but it continually flagged us about a copy of Secunia's scanner (in beta) on our test machine--even after we clicked "allow." The messaging is also a problem. Most programs use a discrete pop-up in the lower right corner of the desktop. F-Secure uses a rather large message space in the middle of the screen shortly after boot. We'd appreciate it if F-Secure could in future releases increase its white list of known programs and also reduce the amount of space its messages occupy.

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