4 security suites that protect all your devices

McAfee, Symantec, Trend Micro and Webroot offer protection for all your devices plus Web-based management.

By Preston Gralla, Computerworld |  Security, McAfee, Symantec

On PCs, McAfee gives you malware protection, a firewall, anti-spam software, Web security, parental controls, a system cleanup tool, online backup, a "digital vault" that protects files you don't want seen by anyone else, a disk defragmenter...and yes, more as well. It's all presented in a neat, compact interface that makes it simple for you to see at a glance what tools you're currently using and to turn any on or off. McAfee Total Protection also lets you customize the way those tools work to a significant degree.

One of All Access' more intriguing tools is what it calls Home Network Defense, which lists every device connected to your network and provides details on each (if it can find out those details, which isn't always). If you find any devices you don't recognize, you can use Home Network Defense to block them from the network. In addition, whenever a new device makes a connection to your network you get a warning. You can then examine the alert, decide whether it's an intruder, and can block it if that's the case.

McAfee All Access: WindowsClick to view larger image.

For each device, Home Network Defense can give you the device's name, type (Windows computer, for example) manufacturer, model, IP address and MAC address (a universal ID for devices that connect to the Internet). If it can't find out many details about the device, it provides bare bones information -- just the IP address and MAC address.

The tool is a useful one, although not nearly as useful as it could be. During testing, I found that it only rarely provided details about most devices connected to my network. In almost every case, it merely reported the IP address and MAC address.

It makes sense that it couldn't identify devices such as the Sonos wireless speakers that I've got connected to my home network. But it also couldn't identify many common pieces of hardware, such as a MacBook Air and an Acer Aspire One netbook. It did, however, properly identify my Linksys WRT160N router and a computer on which I'd installed Windows Home Server.

Home Network Defense shows not just basic information, but details about the security state of each device on your system, such as whether it has security software installed or whether it has file- and printer-sharing turned on (which can be a security risk).

But I found this feature to be only partially useful. Although the software claims to show the "protection status" of each device, in my tests it only reported whether the devices were using McAfee security software. It showed several of my PCs as being unprotected, even though they had non-McAfee security software installed.


Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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