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Comodo Internet Security Pro 2014 review

Pros

  • Automatic sandboxing
  • Complete secure browser
  • 24/7 online support
  • Nicely priced

Say 'Komodo' and most people think of a small, Indonesian island full of giant, bacteria-drooling lizards, but 'Comodo' with a 'C' is the name of an Internet security company specialising in antivirus and other software. It was set up in 2001 and is based in New Jersey, USA, though the company has offices in both Manchester and Bradford.

Comodo Internet Security Pro 2014 is the company's mid-range IS product, with the free Internet Security Premium below and Internet Security Complete above. It offers most of the core features we'd expect of an Internet security product, but few of the extras that are common in rival suites.

Once installed and run, the freshly redesigned interface is clear and uncluttered. There's a big, comforting green arrow telling you everything's secure and, separately, the status of updates, threats and intrusions. There's also a game mode button, to lighten security for improved performance, and a scrolling bar of icons to access tasks like scanning and the 24/7 online support.

Online support is one of the headline features of the suite and in use, we found it quick and effective, even when the operator had to take control remotely to complete a task. It can be used to resolve a virus attack if the software can't manage to do so, and forms the basis of a $500 (£290) guarantee Comodo supplies with the package.

A secondary screen shows the status of the antivirus, sandbox, HIPS and the firewall. The first and last of these are standard fare for an IS suite, but Comodo makes a lot of its sandbox, offering a virtual desktop, too, so you can load up and check new apps before giving them access to your system's facilities.

It can spot existing apps, too, and sandboxed an old copy of PaintShop Pro we have on our test system for screenshots. It was easy enough to tell it to release the poor app and it was none the worse for the experience.

HIPS stands for Host Intrusion Prevention System, incidentally, and this monitors operating system activity looking for unusual actions, ones which are possibly produced by malware.

Then there's Comodo Dragon. Still not a lizard, but instead a secure browser based on Chromium but with the bits Comodo considers insecure enhanced with its own security. To this end, there's a web inspector and PrivDog, which automatically 'sanitises' ad networks and trackers.

All of which is good, but there are several things missing from the package. While Comodo's Internet Security Complete offering includes online storage for backup, there's none here and no backup utility to use with your own storage.

There's no PC tune-up, either, though Comodo Cleaning Essentials, a free install, will hunt out rootkits and cleans other malware traces – it took over nine hours to scan our modest test system. If you're considering Comodo Internet Security Pro in a family environment, you may also miss any parental controls.

Running an AV scan on our 30GB test basket of assorted files took 50 minutes 13 seconds and examined 84,077 files, giving a scan rate of 27.9 files/s. This is the fifth slowest of any IS software we've reviewed.

On repeating the scan, the program took 19 seconds, but didn't look at any files. This is unusual, as even when software heavily fingerprints files to reduce the number it has to rescan, it rarely looks at zero.

When looking at the resource hit of the software, we saw only a 5 per cent increase in test copy time when a background scan was running. This is a good result, and in fact the fifth best of those suites we've tested.

AV-Test, the German AV evaluation site, hasn't yet published test results for version 7 of Comodo Internet Security Pro 2014, but version 6 results were good, though not group-leading. It scored 13.5/18.0, divided down into AV-Test's usual three categories.

It did best under the Protection category, with 5.5/6.0. Protection looks at malware detection, and Comodo version 6 scored 99.5 per cent for zero-day infections and a full 100 per cent on more well-established threats. This was against an industry average of 94 per cent and 97 per cent respectively, so it seems a bit harsh to drop Comodo half a point.

Under Performance, which looks at the resource hit of the software while visiting websites and downloading, installing and running other programs, Comodo version 6 did less well. It matched the industry standard of a four second hit and this gave it a score of 4.0/6.0.

This was the score it got for the third category, Usability, too. This looks at false alerts while working with legitimate software and websites. Sadly, it's rather prone to producing false warnings and blocking valid software while it's being installed, producing four warnings and 11 blocks during the test cycle. This was against an industry average of zero.

Overall, this suggests Comodo Internet Security Pro 2014 is good at detection and removal of malware, but might be a bit over-zealous in its actions. This was reflected in its sandboxing of our older version of PaintShop Pro.

Verdict

What Comodo Internet Security Pro 2014 does, it does well. The suite has a good antivirus and anti-malware regime, a complete secure browser to use in place of IE, Firefox or Chrome, and one of the best remote support systems we've seen. It's auto-sandbox is useful for assessing new applications, too.

However, for an IS suite there are plenty of things it doesn't do. There's no parental control, no backup – local or online – and no tune-up facilities to clean your PC. The program's low price is partial compensation for this, but its AV-Test results don't really put it in the top league.

Specifications

Manufacturer and product

Comodo Internet Security Pro 2014

Antivirus protection

Yes

Antimalware protection

Yes

Antispam protection

Yes

Browser protection

Yes, Comodo Dragon included

Two-way firewall

Yes

Parental control

No

Multi-platform support

PC-only, Android support available free, Mac and Linux available

Online storage

No

PC tune-up

No

Extra features

Virtual desktop, sandbox, GeekBuddy

Number of devices covered

3