McAfee Total Protection 2021 Review: Antivirus and Security Software for All Your Devices

McAfee can often be overshadowed by its partnerships with other companies – most recently Intel, of which it was a part from 2011 to 2017, and which still owns a 49% stake – and the colorful life of its founder, the late John McAfee.

It has been making antivirus and computer security software since 1987, and although today’s McAfee (essentially Intel’s security division has evolved into a separate company but using a well-known name) is quite different from the Old McAfee, it’s still a great security suite. Online security experts from the research institute gave it an “exceptional” rating of 6/6.

As is now the industry standard, McAfee Total Protection is a subscription service that you pay for every year and can cover a number of different devices. The price for the first year varies – we’ve seen it as low as £ 15, and a free trial is available – but the renewal price is always at least double what you originally paid. It’s worth shopping around to see which antivirus service is cheaper in the long run rather than being drawn to a first-year offer for a new customer, as you’re unlikely to be using the software for a year and then that you stop.

What you get for the money from your subscription is an anti-virus app, firewall and internet security suite, password manager, secure file deletion (shredding), identity protection, a secure VPN, PC optimization features and parental controls. It’s a large package, and it’s hard to see what more they could have done with it. Do we really need this PC optimizer when there are so many more on the market and their usefulness is questionable? Well, that avoids paying for another subscription, we suppose.

While most of the app’s functions except Parental Controls can be accessed from one place – the main hub app – web browser security is handled through an extension, so it’s worth worth browsing through the options and installing things like that once you’ve installed the main app. While the extension is available for Edge and Firefox, another feature, Web Boost – which blocks annoying autoplay videos that slow down your browsing – only works with Chrome.

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How we tested

We installed McAfee Full Protection in a virtual machine running a fully updated and activated copy of Windows 10 Home, and run it proofread on the clean machine, before exposing it to the test files in there. ‘EICAR (European Computer Antivirus Research Institute) and It detected 100% of our test files.

McAfee Total Protection: £ 39.99 per year,


Evaluation: 9/10

  • Anti-virus
  • Web protection
  • Firewall
  • Parental control
  • Automatic and manual scans

Confidentiality management

Your privacy is an important part of McAfee’s total security offering. There is ID protection that checks the dark web to see if your information has been included in a data breach circulating among criminals. Getting notified by a service like this is often an early warning that someone might be trying to access your accounts, so you know it’s time to change your password and, if necessary, activate. two-factor authorization.

The real key password manager makes this easy, suggesting strong passwords and saving them for you so you don’t need to remember a different string for each site you use. It also resides in a browser plugin and there are mobile apps so you can access your passwords on your phone or tablet as well.

File shredding allows you to securely delete data to minimize the risk of it being restored and used by a potential attacker. You can choose from basic shredding that overwrites data twice, up to “full” shredding that overwrites it ten times, but takes longer.

Read more: How good is NordVPN for security and streaming?

VPN, known as Secure Connection, is a bit of a mixed bag. You get unlimited data transfer so you don’t have to worry too much about logging out once you’re done banking, but it’s terribly slow and can’t be used to bypass geoblocks. on streaming services. At least it doesn’t keep logs or collect any information about your browsing habits.

File shredding allows you to securely delete data to minimize the risk of it not being deleted

(Ian Evenden)

There is no specific ransomware protection included with McAfee, which is a shame as this is a fast growing malware sector, and other security suites have already expanded to cover it. . The McAfee ransomware recovery tool, however, is free to download from the company’s website.

Parental control

Accessing McAfee Parental Controls involves downloading another app that you install on the machine you want to control. You will need to create an account, then you will be able to connect on several machines, modifying their level of protection according to who will use them.

Read more: Why should you use a virtual private network

Content blocking allows filtering of web content, with age-based presets, and complete blocking of certain apps. You can then change it manually as your child grows or their needs change. All searches that match the blocklist are saved and reported to the parent’s account. Location tracking can be activated, showing the location of the child’s device within ten meters, and allows them to check in when they have reached their destination to calm parents’ nerves.

How does McAfee work?

The hub app, once installed on your computer (which is available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android) needs to be configured to work properly, but once you’ve enabled its background scanning and plugins to browser, it fades in the background. It will let you know when it has quarantined a downloaded file or blocked a suspicious website, but if not, it is not a problem. It also does not slow down the host computer too much, except during the most vigorous full virus scan.

A vulnerability scanner verifies that you have the most secure versions of all your applications

(Ian Evenden)

In addition to the antivirus software, you get a firewall, which you can configure to take care of itself or to react with varying levels of paranoia to applications that try to access the Internet, up to completely shutting down the Internet. network access.

A vulnerability scanner checks for security vulnerabilities that can be fixed by Windows updates and ensures that you have the most recent and most secure versions of all your applications. Scans like these, and antivirus, can be both scheduled or manually triggered.

The verdict: McAfee total protection

As an IT security suite, McAfee’s total protection is certainly complete. Aside from the lack of ransomware protection (although known ransomware sites are filtered by web protection) and the disappointing VPN, there are no glaring holes in the barrier of protection it puts between you. and the worst parts of the internet. Its antivirus capabilities are also exceptional, although prevention is always better than cure.

McAfee is priced competitively with other big names in computer antivirus such as Norton and Kaspersky, and as such, you plan to pay an annual subscription. For a single user, we think there are better options available, but the 10-device Family Pack is decent value, especially if you think you’ll be using all the tools it puts at your fingertips.

For family and identity protection, McAfee’s Total Protection is at the top of its game, and by bundling additional tools like PC Optimizer and Secure File Lock Vault, comes better value.

McAfee Total Protection

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Looking for more options? For another online security option, read our Norton 360 review

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions we earn income if you click the links and purchase the products, but we never allow this to distort our coverage. Reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

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