Security Suite Smackdown, Part I

Review: Eight of the biggest names in security go head-to-head in this roundup of the best-and worst-of the apps that aim to keep you safe. (

Fall and winter are a great time for malware purveyors. All those pure, innocent, uncorrupted new PCs being unboxed, set up and connected to that font of all that is dangerous, filthy and malevolent: the Internet.

Okay, maybe you dont believe the information superhighway is quite that tainted, and maybe it isnt.

But if you hook up your brand-new PC to it without some sort of protection, theres a reasonable chance that youll come to have a different opinion, and quickly.

Because, make no mistake, malwares alive and well.

The traditional types—viruses, spyware, Trojan horses—are all still out there.

And thats not even considering the attacks of the phishers, spammers, grifters and online predators.

/zimages/6/28571.gifFor advice on how to secure your network and applications, as well as the latest security news, visit Ziff Davis Internets Security IT Hub.

Innocent bystanders have moved vast amounts of money, personal information and business intelligence online, and that attracts criminals.

Fortunately, the new PC season is also the time when security software makers come to market with the latest versions of their flagship products, the security suites.

/zimages/6/28571.gifMcAfee chides Microsoft over Vista security. Click here to read more.

These apps aim to give you an impregnable defense, protecting you from every threat under the connected sun. Anti-malware—anti-virus, anti-spam, anti-spyware, anti-phishing—if its out there, theyre against it.

Add in firewalls, content filtering, parental controls and keylogger detection, and youve got a online suit of armor thats theoretically proof against any and all threats. And the armor has done a reasonably good job, by and large.

However (to stretch the metaphor a bit), just as a full suit of armor can be so bulky you cant move when wearing it, these suites are often so bloated they slow mighty computers to a crawl.

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