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    Review of Computer Associates CA Internet Security Suite 2008

    For May we're testing the 2008 version of CA's Internet Security Suite. In the store, it looked pretty flashy, and more importantly we all love the idea of one product that does everything well.. As opposed to buying 4 different products and using all of them correctly.

    To start off, nice easy install, pick what you want and let it go, woohoo! One big application, I like it, no individual applications! The "Update product" feature was nice to! again, updates all applications installed. For testing, 3 different machines were used (3 device licence).

    PC #1: Full Install - Pentium 3 with 512meg of RAM..
    PC #2: Partial Install - Anti-Spyware, Anti-Malware, Phishing filter and AntiVirus. Laptop P3 with 512 Meg of RAM.
    PC #3: minimal -Anti virus and Anti Spyware only. IBM Netvista P4 with 512 Meg of RAM.

    3 similar machines, also yes the machine with the minimalist install was the best.. We wanted to test what a full install would do to a machine borderline on the specs..

    Scans with Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware/malware were very fast, and didn't bring any of the machiens to a crawl, good job. Parental controls seemed to work ok, no issues.. I've seen the stats that CA's Anti virus product fared poorly at's test. I don't have their test tools, so I trust their results. also rated CA's security suite tied for tops in the detection of rootkits which is excellent! In terms of spyware.. I ran Ad-Aware afterwards and usually it bever found any spyware that made it past CA's anti-spyware, a couple of pieces made it through.. but not to bad.. nothing should of made it through, since both were online updated at the same time..
    Phishing filter was useless.. The 'bad guys' out there are to quick, and using legit domain names, get around the phishing filter.. and to boot, this feature slowssss down the ability to surf to the point that your http request times out.. You're better off writing the website you are going to on paper, and mailing it via USMail to Bill gates and wait for the reply! I was very disapointed with this feature.
    The Desktop backup was annoying, on the machine with the full install, I kept getting the red 'x' over the CA's icon in the taskmgr because I wouldn't keep the backup uptodate.. and I couldn't find a way to uninstall this.. very frustrating.. I installed this application, didn't use it, but no way to easily uninstall just one section..
    Anti-spam worked well with the addition of the spam folder in outlook.. but with the percentage of people using webmail and regular email clients such as outlook express, eudora, thunderbird etc.. falling and anti-spam pretty much standardized this portion should be an easy portion of the suite to make work, and likewise it did.
    The firewall, not to bad, the pop-ups were ok.. but to the average user, they are just going to click 'ok' to everything that pops up after a while.. Also, there is the windows firewall, if you are a home user, the CA firewall works well, but read the alarts and understand a bit.. If you are a corporate user, then have your security department use the windows firewall and have it configured as to your corporate standards.. The CA firewall is just redundant with the windows firewall..

    So to recap, the applications work decently, lower scores on anti-virus testing, sluggishness with the phishing and firewall being redundant.

    Application integregration is something I was looking forward to with this security suite and is one of the selling features of this product. the suite has a nice menu with each product, and a nice overall menu which is good.. But when you dig down a bit, each application is separate and just linked to the menu.. There is no application link or sharing of data between the apps.. I would of liked to see this, but from a developers perspective, its the easiest to just link apps from the menu/web page.. That way it makes it easier from a developers point of view to add in new products/apps. From a users point of view, corporate users/system administrator wants to have all the logs, all events, updates all in one place. Here it is difficult to find data/logs in the applications in this suite, yes they are there, but buried, and usually nasty flat text files. huh? text files? I expect any moderm application to display anti-virus/spyware logs on cleaned/infected files to at least be displayed in a decent format.. Text files are a thing of the past.
    Also, going back to that CA icon in the taskmanager.. great idea, and I like the idea of the red 'x' or yellow warning arrow to show that some attention is needed.. But sometimes, I ensured everything was uptodate, scanned, and the red mark was still there.. ok, so where is the logs or the message to say what still needed attention.. Frustrating.. yes!

    This would be an 'ok' product if it was shareware, freeware or some small companies first crack at the security suite arena.. BUT this is Computer Associates (CA), even if this is their first all in one integrated security suite software, how can you justify the mediocre performance and abysmal application integration.

    Normally I wouldn't say this, but I'm going to buy the 2009 version of this software just to see if CA learnt their lessons from their 2008 version! So watch out for that review in March or April 2009.

    Mark Breakdown:

    Category: Comments:

    Performance: Scan speeds were very fast, rootkit detection excellent! Anti-virus/spyware test below average, anti-phishing slowed the PC down considerably.

    Supportability: This is CA, a very very very very large company, and yes the support site was good, blogs and support sites out there were good to. 9/15
    Ease of Use/Configuration: Very easy to install, this was made for your grandma to install and run.. Just keep clicking yes to everything and boom its done.. BUT if you have issues, want to tweak configs, or worse yet, wish to uninstall applications in this suite, good luck, either do a complete uninstall, or heck, just blow away windows and start over again. Poorly done CA!

    Compatibility: This works on windows! woohoo so its compatible! Honestly this product worked on all the machines, and works fine with Outlook express.. I didn't try this with Eudora or Thunderbird.. but I doubt it would work with them (anti-spam for email only)..

    Features: On paper this product has all the features needed for a security suite.

    Personal: Good idea for a product, I want one full featured security suite. In this case, I was definately disapointed... Some good features with this product, but to many issues with this product.. If it was free and for personal use, I'd be a bit more easier on this product.

    Overall: Lets hope that CA gets its act together and fixes all their issues and produces a good 2009 security suite.. If they don't, well don't expect CA to be offering products in this sector for much longer because the competition is cheaper, more feature rich, smoother and better integrated their their 2008 security solution. 45/100