A competitor to products from Symantec, McAfee and Kaspersky, VIPRE Interent Security 2012 offers to safeguard up to 10 PCs for $69.99. The VIPRE suite combines a firewall with protection against malware, including rootkits. Does a lack of parental controls kill the value proposition?
VIPRE is GFI Software’s security solutions line. The VIPRE Internet Security 2012 suite we’re looking at here adds a firewall and anti-spam tools to differentiate it over the base VIPRE Antivirus 2012 product. Prices for VIPRE Internet Security 2012 are as follows (all one-year subscriptions): one computer, $49.95; two computers, $59.95; three to ten computers, $69.95. Two- and three-year licenses are also available.
Obviously the ten-computer license is the best deal. For a one-year license, the price amounts to about $7 per computer if you install it on ten PCs, much less than the cost of rival suites. The more PCs you own, the sweeter the deal can get.
Download and Installation
An Internet connection is required for the installation. The VIPRE installer pulls the latest files from the company’s website. The install process took significantly longer than expected since the program wanted to perform a quick scan of my computer before completing. On the other hand, the whole download totaled less than 100MB -- which is relatively small -- and it took only five to ten minutes over a standard cable Internet connection.
User Interface (UI)
VIPRE’s UI is somewhat busy. Still it's functional, and it provides a clear overview of the status of your computer. I like how it’s easy to change the firewall settings, add exceptions, and un-block applications and ports.
Other settings are easy to change, as well. There’s a link to change these settings next to each of the components in the Overview section. We use the default settings for all of our security software reviews.
VIPRE includes some minor extra features such as a file eraser, which is nice to have for deleting files like monthly bank statements.
Parental controls, though, are missing from this suite. All of the competing solutions we’ve reviewed in this series --including McAfee, Norton, and Kaspersky -- have included them.
We conduct a series of extra tests on Internet security suites as opposed to basic anti-virus suites.
We used PCFlank's Exploits Test to test the firewall component; detailed test information can be found here. The tests essentially bombard your system to determine its reaction to various types of attacks and unexpected packets. In this test, VIPRE Internet Security 2012 successfully defended itself.
To test the AV effectiveness of VIPRE Internet Security 2012, I used several virus files from Eicar.org, an IT security Web site. Please see the test description for extensive information on the tests.
VIPRE performed very well in this test, preventing me from downloading the files to my PC hard drive. This is the level of pro-activeness we like to see in an Internet Security suite.
We use Spycar.org to test the anti-spyware module. This test mimics spyware behavior on a computer, determining whether the anti-spyware component can block or detect it. We run all available tests.
I ran the tests and VIPRE successfully blocked all of the attempted exploits.
We measure the performance impact of security software using Futuremark PCMark. Again, VIPRE did well here. I witnessed less than a five percent difference between the before and after scores; this small of a difference can be attributable to benchmark error. I did not notice the computer feeling sluggish in everyday use after installing VIPRE.
VIPRE performed well in just about every area of our tests save for parental controls (and that's because it doesn’t have any). The lack of them destroys the value proposition for those interested in such features, but not for those who aren't concerned with parental controls -- people who don't have children at home, or who only plan to use the software in a small business setting, for instance.
In every other area, we didn’t have issues with VIPRE. The software is proactive, and it prevented me from downloading malicious files. The interface isn’t pretty, but it's quite functional.
If you don't need parental controls, the value prop is best for the $69.95 ten-license pack, which brings the cost down to only a few dollars per license for those who take full advantage of the ten licenses. That's a better deal than you can receive with any of the competing suites we've reviewed in this series so far.