Panda – Platinum 2006 Internet Security review

protection against viruses, spyware, adware and more
Photo of Panda – Platinum 2006 Internet Security
£29.99

Keeping your PC secure against people who want to do it harm takes more than anti-virus software. You do need protection against viruses, of course, but in some ways the more insidious threats are adware, which reports your browsing habits, and spyware, which reports just about everything you do with your PC. Then there are hack attacks, designed to enrol your machine into anonymous PC farms which can be targeted at denying service to well-known Web sites.

The best-known anti-virus applications, from names like Norton and McAfee, have blossomed into whole Internet Security suites and this is the approach Panda Software takes with its Platinum 2006 Internet Security. Panda is a Spanish company that has been making a bigger and better name for itself in the UK over the last couple of years, partly by having its products bundled with a lot of new PCs.

The main thing it has in its favour is exceptional ease of use. Install the product, run through the registration and that’s pretty much it. There’s precious little of the configuration you often have to go through and its firewall correctly detected our network and made the appropriate allowances. We didn’t have to make any adjustments to continue accessing other PCs, which is an unusual but welcome situation.

The firewall is one element of five areas of protection in the product: the others are anti-virus, anti-spam, spyware/adware detection and privacy control. If you’re used to a suite of protection software slowing down your system, you’ll be presently surprised by how little impact Panda has.

So how does it perform? Well, it’s only one example of course, but our installation immediately spotted lots of bits of spyware, though some were reasonably legitimate cookies. It also removed a dialler and some adware that hadn’t been picked up by our previous security package.

That’s pretty impressive, as was the automatic installation of the spam filter into Outlook (Outlook Express is also catered for). In use, it’s pretty good at catching junk e-mail, generating only a few false alarms even straight out of the box. The anti-phishing solution, where suspect e-mails are annoyingly labelled [PHISING], is a bit less efficient and, for example, seems to tag all communications from eBay.

Updates happen automatically in the background, and most days you’ll get a comforting status box popping up telling you of the latest revision. Even without these updates, you’re pretty well protected by Panda’s TruPrevent technology, a heuristic algorithm which spots suspect code even before it has a virus definition to compare it against. Panda claims this has protected its customers against several fresh outbreaks which occurred this year.

Company: Panda

Contact: 0870 243 0691


Verdict
If you want an 'install and forget' solution to security, Panda's Platinum 2006 Internet Security suite should be ideal. While you can adjust most aspects of it, the defaults are sensible and the software is intelligent enough not to disturb important settings. Malware writers probably won't target it as much as they will the market leaders, either.