McAfee AntiSpyware 2006
Strengths: Integrates well with McAfee's other security products.
Weaknesses: Real-time protection could be more proactive.
Verdict: Good integration with McAfee's other security apps and a choice of management console make this an attractive choice.
This product can either be bought as a standalone or as part of McAfee’s Internet Security Suite. If you opt for the Enterprise version, you also get centralized management using McAfee ePolicy Orchestrator 3.02+ or McAfee Protection Pilot 1.1+. These applications let you manage, control and schedule updates and spyware scans over the whole network, so that you can control what’s going on.
A single agent on a user’s PC is all that is needed. It provides the usual scheduled scanning, but has McAfee’s AutoProtect feature too, which prevents potentially malicious software behavior.
There’s also a range of real-time monitoring options, including monitoring Internet Explorer settings and system file changes. When we tested this option, the software would add a new entry into the log saying when a change had been detected, but it did not deal with it directly. Instead, the choice is to perform a system scan to check that new spyware has not been installed on the PC.
We would prefer an automatic option to pass the offending process or file directly onto the cleaning application.
Scheduled scans are very good with McAfee, although it took a long time to perform a scan on our test PC. It categorizes the found components, so you can see how many objects a single piece of spyware has installed.
It also does this for tracking cookies, which means that you often get a long list of categories for lots of different sites. This makes it hard to pick out the important bits of information.
For each bit of spyware, you can opt to get more information from McAfee’s website, but a lot of the examples we found were not listed on the site, so it was hard to get more information.
The usual cleaning options are available, including forcing termination of processes and deleting harmful files. One of the benefits of McAfee’s AntiSpyware is that it integrates with the company’s firewall and antivirus scanner, so you get a comprehensive level of protection.
AntiSpyware 2006 did well in our tests, but a more proactive approach from the monitoring tools would help.