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McAfee VirusScan 6.0

Richard Price
15 November 2001

McAfee VirusScan 6According to McAfee there are almost 60,000 known computer viruses out there. As more Trojan horses, worms and other e-mail nasties get created on a regular basis this number can only be growing.

It makes sense to protect yourself as best as possible. At AU$49, McAfee VirusScan is one of the cheapest --- which may explain its popularity in the corporate world --- but it does the job.

There are a number of new features in version 6.0 making it a worthwhile upgrade.

The interface has been updated and I found it easy and intuitive to use. This is partly due to the fact that it now looks similar to Norton Antivirus which I have been using for some time.

Installation was painless although McAfee objected to an installed version of Norton AntiVirus which I had to deactivate.

As well as providing protection from viruses, McAfee VirusScan 6.0 comes with an integrated personal Firewall that works for cable, DSL or dial-up connections.

Whether or not a Firewall is necessary on a computer with a dial-in-connection that is not permanently connected to the Internet is debatable. While McAfee Firewall may not be foolproof, it does offer an additional level of protection that may be enough to deter the less persistent hacker.

McAfee Firewall works by monitoring “trusted” and “non trusted” applications that need to access a network so some configuration is needed. Fortunately there is a predefined set of rules for popular Internet applications, so non-technical users shouldn’t have too much trouble setting it up.

As well as protecting against Trojan horses and worms McAfee guards against hostile Java applets and ActiveX controls. When it notices something suspicious an alert box pops up. It is left to the user to decide whether to delete, fix or quarantine the problem. While it is reassuring to know the program is working, the alert boxes are intrusive. I would be happier if the infected file was just deleted.

While the program is easy enough for non-technical users to set up, I should imagine these alert boxes may generate an unnecessary level of anxiety for non-boffins

A more interesting addition to McAfee VirusScan is the Hostile Activity Watch Kernel (HAWK). HAWK monitors your system and alerts you to suspicious activity that may indicate a virus.

While not actually cleaning the virus out, HAWK stops it from spreading further.

So Outlook users can now be alerted when their system is about to send out a mass e-mail to every one in the address book.

Like Norton Antivirus, VirusScan now downloads and installs new virus definitions automatically from the Internet ensuring which ensures a system is protected from new viruses.

PDA’s can be infected as well. VirusScan 6.0 includes anti-virus support for handheld devices and will scan for viruses while data is being exchanged or updated.

McAfee VirusScan 6.0 works on Windows 95b, 98, 2000, NT, ME and XP.

The manual is short and to the point and the best advice is what you will find in any first aid manual --- don’t panic!

Price AU$49.00 Professional 59.00




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