McAfee AntiVirus review 2021

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McAfee AntiVirus review 2021

What is McAfee Antivirus?

McAfee Total Security Antivirus provides protection for Windows, Android, macOS, and iOS devices. McAfee antivirus provides excellent value for money.McAfee has been a pioneer in the cybersecurity field and is famously providing cybersecurity products and protection for many fortune 500 companies.

McAfee is offering protection against ransomware, hacking attempts, spyware, malware, and various other threats.

It is also one of the handfuls of Antivirus products that comes with anti-crypto-jacking measures. Crypto-jacking attempts and programs have skyrocketed over the last couple of years.

mcafee antivirus review 2020
mcafee antivirus review 2021

McAfee Antivirus offers the best in class protection against malicious URLs as well to ensure a much safer online experience.

How to install McAfee Antivirus on your PC

mcafee antivirus installation
mcafee antivirus installation

To install McAfee Antivirus on your PC, you have to go online and activate your license key. Choose the most relevant link to get a considerable bonus for a limited time.

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Setting up auto-renewal can get you a protection pledge from McAfee. This ensures the support of cybersecurity experts at McAfee in case of malware infestation even when the antivirus software is working at the time. McAfee experts promise to remotely remediate the problem for $89.95. If the experts could not figure out what went wrong, then the company refunds the complete purchase price.

The installation process requires downloading many files during the installation process because the installation kit occupies only limited space and the rest of the files are downloaded when the installation process begins. This ensures that the user gets to install the most relevant and up to date application.

After the LiveSafe option is selected, it is in need of online activation. To get this done, the user has to create a new McAfee account by providing an email address and a password.

email-activation mcafee antivirus
email-activation mcafee antivirus

Activation is done within a couple of seconds and after the account is created, the user can manage all the profiles associated with the account via account management options.

Users can manage licenses and access other McAfee products through this as well.

After installation is complete, the user is greeted to an interface with useful tips and information. Also scan for virus, cleaning cookies and trackers, and speed up apps features are also available with a click of a button.

It is best to run a full scan after installing the antivirus program. This allows the user to get rid of existing malware. A full scan can take a couple of hours when scanning for the first time.

mcafee antivirus full scan
mcafee antivirus full scan

McAfee Antivirus features

The AV-Test Institute rated McAfee antivirus with a perfect score.

The SE Labs gave McAfee antivirus a AAA certification.

AV comparatives tested McAfee antivirus in three different instances. One of the tests gave it a Standard certification. Another gave it an Advanced certification. The last one gave it an Advanced plus certification.

mcafee total protection 2020 review features
McAfee total protection 2021 review features

Anti-malware protection with WebAdvisor

McAfee comes with excellent anti-malware protection. It either quarantines the malware or safely removes the malware while leaving the infected file now clean and intact.

McAfee is capable of detecting more than 90% of the malware.

It takes a considerably long time to analyze new sets of malware samples and when we used malicious URLs to test the McAfee antivirus, it was evident that McAfee was capable of blocking access to malicious URLs and eliminating any malicious payload. Even the most recent malicious URLs were blocked by McAfee.

mcafee antivirus EICAR file detection
McAfee antivirus EICAR file detection
mcafee antivirus virus detection
McAfee antivirus virus detection

It also provides notifications regarding the dangers that one of those malicious URLs might pose.

McAfee was able to defend itself against 100% of the malware payloads.

Anti-phishing protection

Creating a Trojan that steals sensitive information, the user has to code the program in a way that it is capable of bypassing layers of inbuilt antivirus protection and security features. This is why it is considered as hard to create a trojan program.

Phishing works in a different way. Phishing scammers create fake websites that mimic the famous social media websites and financial websites. To lure users, the scammers use URLs with minor spelling differences. Sometimes, the netizens are being targeted via emails and social media to log in to phishing websites thus compromising credentials in the process.

Bank websites, financial websites, online gaming websites, dating websites, social media, and forums are common targets for scammers.

Such websites are quickly getting blacklisted, so the scammers keep uploading a copy of the site to a new URL.

To ensure the safety of the users, modern-day cybersecurity analysts rely on heuristic learning and behavior monitoring of websites rather than solely depending on an online database of already detected malicious URLs.

To make sure that the anti-phishing protection is working properly, we can use the latest malicious URL samples provided by M RG-Effitas. McAfee excelled at blocking all the URLs we tested, even the latest ones.

Anti-ransomware protection with Ransom Guard

Ransomware protection feature provides an extra layer of real-time security by behavioral monitoring to identify brand new threats in case the possible threat way able to bypass the other security layers. 

When a suspicious program tries to encrypt a file or file content transformation as McAfee likes to notify, Ransom Guard makes protected copies of those files and increases its measures to monitor the behavior of the application. When it comes to a decision that this suspicious program is as a matter of fact is true ransomware, it quarantines it and restores the file affected by backup.

Vulnerability Scan

Hackers keep working to find vulnerabilities in popular applications and every major operating system to use those vulnerabilities to bypass cybersecurity protocols. This is why every decent software application provider is working constantly to provide more up to date patches and bug fixing. But, most of the users are not updating their apps as soon as the updates are made available by the vendors. This is why McAfee takes active measures to find out applications that are in need of a security update.

The McAfee Vulnerability Scanner reports on products that need a security update and just like Avast Antivirus Premium, McAfee Antivirus Plus also provides automated updating of the apps.  

Cryptojacking Blocker.

A ransomware attack results in the encryption of sensitive information and the user is being held for ransom until he/she makes a payment to get access to the encrypted files and folders. Cryptojacking is a much smooth threat. When the user visits a website, the integrated scripts on the website are then secretly using the user’s computer resources as a part of a distributed system that mines for cryptocurrency. 

The mining of cryptocurrency is not illegal and mining bitcoin is done all around the world. The problem is that these websites or scripts secretly use your computer resources to do the mining and this can significantly affect the overall system performance.

Using a Cryptojacking Blocker keeps the site away from using your resources to do the mining of bitcoins or any other cryptocurrency.

The cryptocurrency codes are suppressed by default but the user can let some sites use their computer resources by adding their URLs to the white list to allow the mining, as some websites are openly doing that with 100% transparency to provide financial support instead of relying on advertising revenue.

Robust Firewall

McAfee Antivirus provides full-scale firewall protection to ensure safety and is integrated into the standalone antivirus program, making it more practical to ensure cybersecurity.

The firewall makes all the ports invisible to protect them from cybercriminals. The Windows Firewall is pretty capable of doing just that, but the McAfee firewall provides an extra layer of Firewall protection to ensure more security.

It also eliminates any sort of outbound or inbound transmissions to ensure that cybercriminals won’t be able to bypass the security defenses by using a backdoor or vulnerabilities of installed applications.

McAfee notifies the user when an application is trying to connect to the internet, but it doesn’t rely on user input to make the decision to block them or not. In the default Smart Access mode, the firewall makes those decisions internally. However, users can take full control over the firewall by changing the smart access mode to monitored access. It is recommended to let McAfee do the tasks so leave the Smart Access mode on. There are many advanced options provided to fine-tune or configure the firewall, an important feature that network security experts may find interesting.

mcafee firewall
mcafee firewall

When the firewall is running on the monitored access mode, even the well-known applications like Firefox and Chrome can trigger pop up notifications when trying to access the internet.

The Intrusion Detection

The intrusion detection feature is capable of warding off exploits generated by the CORE Impact penetration tool and none of the exploits were successful in infecting the system.

Some of the malware is capable of disabling the firewall before being active in the system and to make sure that is not the case with the McAfee firewall, several attempts were taken to disable several McAfee related processes and services, but it wasn’t possible to do so. This ensures the cybersecurity of the overall system as the malware coders cannot disable firewall or antivirus features to get access to a system.

My Network Page

The My Network page lists all the connected devices on your network. McAfee does its best to identify the devices by the predefined names or vendor given names, but if it cannot, then the device is listed with its IP address. You can also view device-related information such as MAC addresses. The user can edit the name of a device in the network list to make it easier to identify.

My Network page also shows the online or offline status of each device and provides protection for those devices. The user can mark a device as trusted to allow access to the network and as an intruder to prevent it from attempting to connect.

On the home screen, there is the option to protect more devices. Once selected on the Protect more devices button, the user is given three choices to choose from. A PC/Mac, Smartphone or Tablet, and unprotected devices.

The unprotected devices list the devices that could use the protection provided by McAfee in case that they are not having it already.

Shredder for secure deletion

Deleting a file in Windows OS just sends the file to the recycle bin. You can permanently delete a file but still, the deleted file remains on your hard drive sector exactly where it used to reside. Using a decent file recovery tool, anyone can recover the deleted files.

The Shredder tool that comes integrated to the McAfee Antivirus Plus handles things a bit differently. After deleting a specific file, it keeps overwriting the blank space several times with random bits to make it harder to recover.

Unlike many that come with just basic shredding capabilities, the Shredder tool offered by McAfee Antivirus comes with three shredding types. Basic Shredding only overwrites twice. Safe Shredding overwrites the blank space five times. Complete Shredding overwrites the blank space 10 times making it impossible to recover.

mcafee antivirus shredder
mcafee antivirus shredder

The user can shred files in the Recycle bin or the whole recycle bin, temporary internet files, or any specific file or folder of your preference.

System Speedup

McAfee provides a QuickClean feature to remove cookies and temporary files to free up disc space. When it has found a new batch of cookies and other system junk files, it reports the user on how much space you could save up with the QuickClean option.

mcafee quick clean
mcafee quick clean

The PC performance page has two features, Speed up apps and Speed up browsing.

McAfee System Speedup runs in the background looking for apps that are in need of more system resources as they load, and to provide the necessary system resources, McAfee then eliminates all the unnecessary background processes. According to McAfee, this feature can enhance app performance from 11 to 14%.

The Speed up browsing feature is only available in Google Chrome. To make it work, the user has to install the McAfee Web Boost chrome extension. This extension also stops auto-playing videos on a web page. Web boost saves up considerable bandwidth and system resources by stopping autoplay videos but doesn’t provide any other functionality to speed things up.

McAfee Antivirus for Android

The McAfee Antivirus application for Android is easy to install. The easiest way is to go to the online console to send an installation link. Installing the McAfee Antivirus application on Android is easy and intuitive. All you have to do is granting all necessary permissions.

The user interface is clean and simple. It provides a big scan button with few other features listed below.

Scan Types

The Scan button commences scanning protocols to detect network errors and vulnerabilities in the apps.

Deep Scan proceeds to scan all the pre-installed applications, files, and messages to make sure that there is no malware hiding in the system as active or dormant.

You can see all the devices that you have equipped with McAfee antivirus. The user can view more details such as the current status of each and every one of the listed devices.

The AV-Comparatives mentioned in one of their reports that the McAfee Antivirus for Android was able to block 99.99 percent of malware.

AV-test Institute also credited it with an excellent score.


Anti Theft module

McAfee requires Device Administrator status and access to your camera and location to work correctly.

In case your android device gets lost or stolen, you can go to McAfee online console and click on the devices and enter the PIN that you defined on that device.

You can make an alarm go on to find the location of the device, or to locate the real-time position of the device on the map.

You can select to wipe the phone’s data completely or to reset it to factory settings as well.

Backing up the data on your mobile phone to McAfee cloud is also an option.

The Thief cam features allow you to snap a photo automatically after multiple failed attempts to unlock the device.

The user can view some important device information such as battery percentage etc.

Safe Web

Safe Web feature protects the device security by blocking malicious URLs and phishing websites.

Safe Wi-Fi

The Safe Wi-Fi feature allows the user to connect to an unsecured hotspot and can back up the personal data to the McAfee cloud storage.

App Lock

McAfee offers an App lock feature to lock out specific apps behind a PIN code. This helps the user to keep sensitive data safe and sound from other parties.

App Privacy

This module reports on the permissions required by each and every one of the pre-installed apps and highlights the ones asking for too much access.

Guest mode

The Guest Mode locks all the applications and only allows access to the apps that you specify beforehand. Even the icons are hidden away if you haven’t whitelisted those apps beforehand.

This helps you to avoid mishaps with other people getting to see your personal or sensitive information. This feature is also good for parents to avoid children from accessing not suitable things by allowing only suitable apps.

Storage Cleaner

The Storage cleaner module looks for unwanted app data, cache files, and junk files that the user could delete to free up more space.

Memory Booster

The memory booster feature frees up memory by terminating unwanted background processes to assign the freed system resources to the more demanding apps. This feature is similar to the speed up apps feature in Windows OS.

Battery booster

The battery booster controls brightness and the screen awake time to improve battery life.

McAfee antivirus app for android also capable of tracking data usage and warns the user when they are approaching the predefined limit.

Data Counter

The user can predefine the billing cycle day as well as the monthly data cap.


McAfee for iOS devices

The iOS McAfee Antivirus application also comes with a simple and intuitive user interface.

Almost all the features that are present in the Android app is also present in the iOS app. The only significant difference being the iOS Safe Web module is based on a VPN connection, instead of the Safe Web module found on Android application.

The VPN based Web Safe module couldn’t block malicious URLs or phishing websites like its Android counterpart but provides encryption of the connection to hide ports and to keep online anonymity.

McAfee Safe Web module works well with the Safari, Chrome, and Firefox browsers.

Anti-theft module

Just like the Android counterpart, the Anti-theft module for iOS comes with the option to locate a device on a map, to sound an alarm, or to lock the device with a personalized message on the lock screen to provide the person in contact with the device to hand it over.

The user can remotely back up contacts to the McAfee cloud storage as well.

Unlike many other anti-theft module services, this module also comes with a wipeout option to wipe out all contact details.

The anti-theft module will also send you a message with details such as the last known location of the device before it runs out of power.

Media Vault

The media vault can be used to store images and videos hidden in encrypted storage to hide them from other users. To access the encrypted media files, the user has to provide a 6 character PIN.

Uninstalling the McAfee Antivirus application before decrypting the files may result in permanent loss of the data and cannot be recovered.

The users can save a photo directly to the vault, bypassing the stock gallery app.

McAfee Antivirus pros

Provides cross-platform protection for windows, android, macOS, and iOS devices.

  • Robust firewall
  • Detection and prevention of accessing malicious URLs
  • Antivirus protection
  • Ransomware protection
  • Anti-malware  protection
  • PC boost

McAfee antivirus cons

  • iOS and macOS don’t come with all the features available for Windows or Android devices. Still, iOS users get more features than the competitors are offering.
  • PC Boost web speedup only works for Chrome.


System Requirements

Computers running on Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10 are compatible with McAfee antivirus software.

Computers running on Mac OS X and later versions are also supported.

Android devices running on Android 4.1 or higher are also supported.

iPhones and iPads running on iOS 9 or later are also supported.

Price and packaging

For $59.99 per two years, McAfee Total protection provides 10 licenses and you can protect all the windows, iOS, macOS, and Android devices in your household with this license.

McAfee also provides one Windows PC only package for $39.99 per year. This package provides protection for one Windows PC.

McAfee LiveSafe is providing cross-platform support and secure Wi-Fi connectivity despite the network that you are using. It is $119.99 but using the following links you can get it for $39.99. For a limited time only. McAfee LiveSafe provides security for unlimited devices making it the best value for your money.


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McAfee Antivirus Conclusion

McAfee Antivirus program scored good results in lab tests done by AV-Comparatives, SV-Labs, and AV-Test labs.

The iOS application comes with many features that you may not find on the apps provided by the competitors.

The cross-platform support for macOS, Windows, iOS, and Android devices, excellent anti-phishing, anti-ransomware features, a strong firewall, performance booster, and other bonus features are combinedly providing best in class cybersecurity and protects the user from many cyber attacks.

McAfee antivirus provides the best value for the money and comes with many excellent cybersecurity features to provide maximum security.


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