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Review: McAfee LiveSafe offers top Windows, Android protection

Preston Gralla | July 21, 2015
McAfee LiveSafe is the best product in McAfee's sizable security portfolio. Its suite offers protection for an unlimited number of Windows PCs, Macs and Android and iOS devices, along with a Web dashboard. There's 1TB of cloud-based storage as well. The whole thing is available for $60 per year.

All in all, when it comes to basic protection, the Windows component of McAfee LiveSafe does a fine job. But when it comes to extras, such as tune-up tools and learning more about your network, I found it to be not that helpful.

OS X

McAfee LiveSafe's Mac version has anti-malware, a firewall and protection against malicious websites, but nothing beyond that. There are no parental controls, tune-up utilities or similar tools. This isn't particularly surprising. Most other Mac-based security suites I've seen lack them as well.

I found the interface, although nicely compact, to be somewhat confusing. The main panel tells you what security features are turned on, but isn't interactive. Normally you would expect that clicking "Firewall" would allow you to enable, disable or customize the firewall, for example, but that isn't the case here.

To customize how the application works, you have to click the McAfee LiveSafe - Internet Security menu item on the top menu bar and then select Preferences. From there you can configure how each security module works -- for example, you can turn the firewall on and off or select what rules the firewall should apply, depending on which network you're currently connected to.

Down the left side of the main screen are buttons for performing, scheduling and updating scans. There are also links to the history of your scans and to any quarantined items, as well as a link to the Web dashboard.

Overall, the Mac version may not be a paragon of great design. But if it's just security you're after, it does the trick.

Android

Unlike the limited capabilities of McAfee's iOS tool, the Android version is a fully featured security app. It protects your device against malware; scans apps to find privacy invaders; locates, locks and wipes lost or stolen devices; protects you against malicious websites and backs up personal information.

The left side of the app's main screen lists each security module, such as for scanning for malware, while the right side lets you perform actions related to that module and see the results of its actions. It's quite simple to use and lets you quickly get to the task you want done.

I found the privacy scanner to be the most useful tool. It warns you about any apps that might be privacy invaders, lets you lock apps that might contain sensitive data, and lets you block specific phone numbers from sending you texts or calls. You can also create profiles to hide or display apps according to whoever is using the device.

This is a stellar security app, exceptionally fully featured and far superior to its iOS sibling.

 

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