Panda Internet Security 2012 Review

very good
key review info
application features
  • Antivirus
  • (7 more, see all...)

Panda Internet Security 2012 comes as a complete protection solution, ready to tackle all sorts of digital threats and prevent sensitive information from leaking outside the system.

The price for having the suite protecting your machine for one year is $60.99 (€49,99). Installation is not a complicated process and can be completed even by a beginner user with no problems.

Along the way you get to choose the components you want on the system and tweak the firewall so that it won’t ask for your opinion in the case of common programs (Panda Labs maintains a list of programs you can trust). The entire procedure ends with a system restart, which seems to no longer be common practice, even for Internet Security suites.

The interface is no different than what the heftier suite, Panda Global Protection 2012, offers, but the differences consist in the number of tools and modules available: Internet security 2012 does not come with system optimization utilities, file encryption and file shredding.

Under the Scan menu, besides the regular options (quick, full and custom), you’ll find the possibility to check the system for vulnerabilities. This is actually verification for new updates for the operating system.

Scanning with Panda Internet Security 2012 does not put too much strain on the computer, system resources being maintained under decent values during our tests; CPU held around 50%, on a Dual Core 2GHz system.

Our batch test of samples was the same as in the case of Kaspersky, so it included 304 hand-picked samples. After on-demand scan completed (and it did it very fast), we counted 32 threats left undetected, making an initial detection rate of 89.4%.

The number boiled down to 21 samples the moment we launched them, as the behavioral analysis engine caught them red-handed, thus improving the detection rate to 93.1%. However, elimination rate was not consistent with this value as the application failed to remove all the threats from the computer.

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The firewall included in the bundle is not too elaborate, allowing less experienced users (some basic concepts still have to be known, though) to toy around with the settings quite at ease. You can set inbound/outbound communication, define the ports and protocols that should be used.

During our testing the component showed some flaws as it reported suspicious behavior, but it did not suspend the activity in order to take action according to our answer. Thus, the connection was up and running before we could block it; also, it would take a decision on its own and enable the outbound connection, if we made no effort to set up a rule.

But that was possible only because the network had been set to a trusted location. The moment we switched to a public one the connection was automatically blocked and no communication occurred.

As far as the overall efficiency of the firewall is concerned our results showed that there are still problems with more elaborate attacks like modifying AppinnitDlls or sending info over the Internet using Windows DNS APIs. The results were similar to what we recorded when we evaluated the heftier suite, Panda Global Protection 2012.

With Identity Protection module, bent to identify sensitive details and prevent their transmission, things are fairly the same, as we noticed no improvement. The component would still react in no way when sending passwords and info supposed to be confidential over an encrypted connection (https://).

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On the upside, as long as the information is not encrypted, Panda Internet Security 2012 will prevent it from being sent. This includes the normal channels of communication, like email, supported instant messaging programs (from Yahoo! and Microsoft) or search engines. The sensitive details can be anything from PIN, credit card and bank account numbers, passwords, email and postal addresses, phone numbers or names.

Panda Internet Security’s ability to fight off spam is not the bundle’s strongest point. Outlook 2010 or the latest Thunderbird are not supported and in our tests, with over 1200 email messages we found some valid messages thrown into the junk folder, while very few spam reached our inbox.

Sending legitimate emails to trash kind of defeats the purpose of spam filtering, and we’d rather clean the inbox folder of spam manually rather than search for important messages in the junk.

Although not desirable, if relying on Panda’s spam classification, you have to look into the spam folder every now and then and fish out valid items. By reclassifying them yourself as legitimate, emails sharing the same characteristics will no longer be misjudged.

There aren’t too many settings to explore and the filtering is automatically managed through Panda’s own detection algorithm. But you can build a list of email addresses or domains you trust, which will not be filtered out of your inbox.

Parental controls are the same as in PG 2012. We found it is not too easy to reach specific restricted content, but you can get access to banned material.

Besides the modules encompassed by the suite, Panda IS 2012 also makes available a virtual environment specifically designed for safe browsing. Safe Browser is not inherent in the suite and can be downloaded separately, and is actually a modified version of VirtualBox with Firefox browser in it.

USB Vaccine, the second extra tool that you also can use individually, will remove autorun capability from removable drives, thus eliminating the threat of auto-executing malware.

An additional instrument is the virtual keyboard, available in the package to keep loggers from capturing your key strokes.

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The Good

It is a comprehensive security suite that encompasses plenty of protection layers that keep the computer safe from malware. You can easily navigate from one module from another and configuring the suite does not require excessive knowledge.

Sensitive information can be prevented from leaking outside the computer. The set of extra tools (local and online backup, Safe Browser, USB Vaccine, Virtual Keyboard) add to the value of the suite.

The Bad

Panda permanent protection crashed on us twice. Info about the state of each module is not accurately displayed at times, or it may take a while for the screen to refresh and show the correct state.

The firewall did not work as expected and showed that it cannot face more elaborate forms of attack. There is no anti-spam support for Outlook 2010 or Mozilla Thunderbird.

The Truth

Panda Internet Security 2012 is not the best suite on the market. It is capable to protect a system, but only up to a point. Not all the modules are adapted to current time and we experienced some trouble on our test system. However, malware detection rate is quite good and positions it among the best products users can grab.
user interface 4
features 4
ease of use 4
pricing / value 4

final rating 4
Editor's review
very good