The latest edition of McAfee Total Protection has been updated with an easier-to-use interface for less experienced users. However, the question arises as to whether this will be enough to compete with the best antivirus software on the market such as Norton or Bitdefender in terms of protection against online threats.
McAfee is well-known in the US security software industry and was formerly a security division of Intel. With the new version of McAfee Total Protection, a more accessible interface has been created for less experienced users. McAfee often compares itself to Norton or Bitdefender, but has sometimes performed less impressively in the past. However, the latest versions of McAfee are considered to be efficient and low on resources. We'll see if this remains true in 2023.
No surprise, the level of protection against malware provided by McAfee Total Security remains excellent, and we see its remarkable performance on the AV-Test and AV Comparative labs. On the former, the solution does a flawless job on the months of September and October 2022 with a perfect score in protection. As for more widespread malware collected over 4 weeks, it is flawless over the 2 months: 100% of the 21,050 samples in the AV-Test set are correctly identified.
The results are similar on AV Comparatives, starting with the September 2022 Malware Protection Test. On this test, the lab runs several separate measurements, starting with an offline and online analysis on 10,029 common threats. Distinguishing between the two cases measures the effectiveness of the solution without an Internet connection, and in this case McAfee is neither remarkable nor catastrophic with 82.5% of threats detected. There are worse (Trend Micro with only 41.1%) but this is a far cry from the 96% achieved by G Data. Switching to online scanning, and thus mobilising the McAfee cloud, increases to 99.6% detection, quite simply the best score in the ranking. AV Comparatives also performs a protection test on the same game, which evaluates the ability of the antivirus to effectively block the threat, knowing that it is not impossible that malware that is not detected by the analysis is still effectively blocked when it is executed and the behavioural detection comes into play. And this is what happens as McAfee then gets 100%.
AV Comparatives uses separate metrics for offline and online sample analysis. On the former, McAfee is among the worst performers in the comparison with Trend Micro, Microsoft and Norton, while most still manage to exceed 90% detection. Online, on the other hand, the figure rises to 99.6%. The other important figure from AV Comparatives is the protection rate. How many threats are actually blocked at runtime, and not just on a static analysis? In the end, McAfee was one of the few solutions tested that came close to perfection, but did not achieve it with 99.8%. Conclusion: even if all the safety nets do not work, malware does not infect the PC. However, this score must be qualified, because in its latest "real world" protection test, which tests security solutions under real conditions on the web, McAfee did not allow any attacks that could compromise the system.
The other test from AV Comparatives is the Real World Test, where software is subjected to 'live' malicious URLs at the time of the benchmark, and all technologies, including URL blocking, are put to good use. The initial results of this test again show quite a success for the solution with no infections, and only 0.2% of threats where the decision is left to the user, and no infections.
In terms of false positives, McAfee stands out among the best on both labs. Over the period tested, AV Test notes only one false alarm. In AV Comparatives, the suite had 7 false positives in the Malware Protection Test and 4 in the Real World Test, a figure that is higher than in previous years, but which reflects the increased aggressiveness of the detection engine. The result, however, is a very effective and reliable antivirus in both senses of the word.
If McAfee struggled a bit with the performance impact of its solution last year, things are a bit better in 2023. For AV-Test, McAfee is slightly above or below the market average depending on the benchmarks. On the AV Comparatives side, the latest test is for October 2022 and it shows a similar finding on the various measures.
Interface and ergonomics
2021 had been a big redesign year for McAfee Total Security, with a brand new interface, which we appreciated for its welcoming and didactic feel. It should be noted that McAfee is, like Norton, a suite that really emphasises simplicity of access for the general public rather than complexity.
McAfee Total Protection makes much the same point as F-Secure SAFE, but the copy delivered by the American is more successful, and further refined in the latest version of the suite. The idea that seems to have governed this redesign is to offer the essential information and features that the user may need and nothing more, that is to say: the security status of the system, the latest actions taken, and access to the main modules. McAfee has reworked its copy a little and now refers directly to specific modules: VPN, antivirus or deleting surfing traces, rather than to large thematic sections. A hamburger menu has also been introduced to provide more direct access to the features. It is true that this was one of the criticisms that could be made of this interface, which is simplifying and standardising again, while letting the user access the main functions more directly, such as launching the VPN to hide his IP address.
The module interface itself is quite similar to previous versions, with a simple harmonisation of fonts and visuals to fit in with this redesign. On all screens, a path bar allows you to navigate between the different levels, effectively fixing one of the biggest complaints about version 23.
Generally speaking, McAfee is undeniably a security suite that takes you by the hand at all times, and that won't please everyone. Nevertheless, this little retro-pedal, even if we found the previous interface quite relevant to the target, perhaps brings McAfee closer to its historical users. There are only a few things that rub us the wrong way. For example, the password manager or the identity checker open web pages in the browser. That these sections are available in a web interface is to McAfee's credit. On the other hand, one would have preferred to have these sections in the application as well to keep the navigation consistent throughout the rest of the suite.
Web console and mobile applications
There's something new on the web about McAfee, but not necessarily where you'd expect it. For example, there's no need to hope for an admin console for the suite worthy of Bitdefender's or Kaspersky's: the interface remains similarly minimalist, really only being used to get apps to different devices. On the other hand, the new version of McAfee inaugurates a new web application, McAfee Personal Protection (see Additional Features), a rather well-made identity protection module, and which takes up the codes of the ergonomics offered in the Windows suite.
From a mobile application perspective, it's a bit confusing really. Specifically, the publisher is supposed to have merged its three apps (Mobile Security, Web Advisor and TrueKey) into one, which takes the design of the Windows version. In concrete terms, this application does exist on the Play Store, and is called McAfee Innovation. However, when we try to install McAfee on our Android smartphone using the QRCode from the Windows application, the link we are redirected to is that of the old McAfee Mobile Security, still available. A bit strange, and perhaps justified by the fact that this new version skips a few features like anti-theft or system optimization. But how much longer will McAfee Total Security be offered for Android users?
With this in mind, the new application to replace them all is rather pleasant to use, and could be described in some ways as a 'light' version of the suite for Windows, rather like displaying a website in a 'responsive' version. It has the same approach based on a flow of cards that inform you about the level of security, the actions you can take, or more general recommendations on good security practices, with precise action buttons contextualised according to the question asked by the widget. It's quite a radical change compared to a classic mobile suite ergonomics, but the Services tab provides more traditional access to the various features: antivirus scanning, wi-fi network security analysis, VPN activation...
On iOS, the features are more reduced but the interface benefits from the same redesign. The whole antivirus scanning part logically goes out the window, as iOS does not allow app developers the same level of interaction with the system as Android. What remains are the Wi-Fi network analysis features, VPN activation, secure browsing and identity protection. Again two features seem to have been dropped: the photo vault and contact backup/restore.
While McAfee's interface has evolved considerably since our last test, the software's core functionality hasn't really moved, and it didn't need to any more than that either. The software's analysis engine is still based on the same building blocks: behavioural analysis 'boosted' with artificial intelligence and 'classic' analysis reinforced by the Global Threat Intelligence cloud. Together, as can be seen in the test lab results, there is solid protection against both known and unknown threats, and with a fairly low number of false positives.
The firewall is always there with different modes of operation depending on whether you want to let the software determine which applications are trusted or if you prefer to keep control. Rules can be created for specific applications, network connections and ports.
The web browsing protection features are obviously back, with McAfee among the first to provide its Web Advisor service, which assigns a trustworthiness score to the links you visit, via a web extension. Nothing new here: the extension works with the sites you visit, but also search results and links offered on social networks including Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.
The main protection modules
- McAfee Global Threat Intelligence: protection via the cloud
- Behavioral analytics
- Web Advisor: protection against malicious sites and fraudulent links on social networks
- Vulnerability protection
- Pare Feu
Additional features available
The major new feature from McAfee concerns the identity protection part, with new tools that complement the password manager. So, just like what F-Secure already offered with Identity Protection, McAfee Total Security allows you to subject your email and password to an analysis of listed data leaks. If leaks have been found (and they most likely have), the service walks you through what changes to make, and then allows you to classify the leak as treated. Quite well done and educational, the feature also allows you to monitor other information: phone number, date of birth, passport, supplementary health, bank card, tax number and bank account.
We had appreciated the late but welcome arrival of a VPN in the Total Security package and it is renewed here, and rather well integrated into the interface of all versions of the suite, even mobile. There is no change in this respect: the settings remain very minimalist. At most, it is possible to choose a server in a particular country or to use the nearest connection, and to set automatic activation on LAN or Wi-Fi networks.
Safe Family still offers a pretty solid parental control solution even if it is, for the sake of it, presented as a dedicated app. Easy to set up and install it allows you to protect your children's web browsing, among other things, but also to set time slots for use and locate your children on a map, with the app also available in a mobile version.
A key feature of the suite is finally back, namely the TrueKey password manager. The password manager hasn't really moved and will be of most interest to users who don't already have a dedicated solution. It allows you to store identfiers via a web interface and extension and generate secure passwords.
- True Key: password manager
- McAfee Safe Family: parental controls
- Private file locking
- McAfee Web Boost: Web browsing optimization (autoplay blocking of videos...)
- Application optimizer
- Deletion of cookies and trackers
- Vulnerability scanning and outdated applications
French technical support is available by phone and via a chat system from 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday. Unfortunately, the publisher does not offer any solutions for the weekend apart from access to the community via a forum and a traditional online FAQ. Users can, however, count on a quality service during the week, with trained and competent agents. A big plus for a family security suite.
Heavily challenged by fellow countryman NortonLifeLock, McAfee has halved the price of its Total Protection premium security suite in one year! The latter, which costs 44.95 euros/year for ten devices, is now one of the cheapest in its category. The company also offers a 30-day money-back certain and a full refund against viruses. The other two versions, McAfee Individual (29.95 euros/year for one workstation) and McAfee Multi-device (39.95 euros for five workstations), have also seen their prices drop significantly this year. This is a very good thing, as McAfee's previous exorbitant prices were neither competitive nor justified.
- McAfee Total Protection 2022: €29.95/year subscription ( 1 PC/Mac/Android/iOS)
- McAfee Total Protection 2022: €39.95/year subscription (5 PCs/Mac/Android/iOS)
- McAfee Total Protection 2022: €44.95/year subscription (10 PCs/Mac/Android/iOS)
The 30-day trial version of McAfee Total Protection is available for get from Clubic.
McAfee Total Protection 2022 : l'avis de Clubic
McAfee has made good progress with this new version and in the category of security suites truly designed for consumer users, it even ranks among the best. Its new interface will inevitably horrify a "power user" who will have the impression of being taken by the hand all the time, but for a solution that is essentially aimed at "technophobic" users, we can appreciate the guidance work and the coherence of the interface, both between the different screens and between the desktop and mobile versions. With strengthened performance even if there are a few holes on zero day threats, and a contained impact on the system, it once again stands out as a very good family suite.
If McAfee Total Protection doesn't completely meet your expectations then head over to our review of Avast One which offers similarly easy-to-grip ergonomics. The all-in-one solution shines with its effective antivirus and unlimited VPN. If, on the other hand, McAfee's solution seems too simplistic for your expertise, take a look at our test of G DATA Total Security. Its interface is particularly customisable and it has performance optimisation features. Finally if you're looking for a minimalist solution that will take care of spotting and wiping out malware, then see our review of Malwarebytes Premium, this is the software for you.