capsule review

Comodo Internet Security Complete 2011

At a Glance
  • Comodo Internet Security 2011 Complete

    PCWorld Rating

The good news is that Comodo Internet Security Complete 2011 ($70 for one year and three PCs, as of 12/2/2010) blocked a full 25 out of 25 of real-world attacks in our hands-on testing of the product.

The bad news? Just about everything else.

With only a 92.4 percent detection rate of known malware samples, Comodo's security levels are decidedly shaky. This score is well below average for suites we tested, and a far cry from the over 99 percent detection rate put up by the top performers. Comodo also missed a number of samples in the WildList test--every other product we tested detected all WildList samples. While the WildList isn't a good indication of a security product's overall effectiveness, a decent security product should be able detect all WildList samples.

Comodo's rate of false positives was among the highest of the applications we reviewed, and the utility came in last when it came to cleaning infected machines.

Combine that with middling scores for PC speed during scans and while running in the background and the overall picture isn't rosy: Comodo's overall performance rating landed it in last place in our evaluation.

Were Comodo a little easier to use some of this might be forgivable. But the app is convoluted and chaotic, a mess of tabs with a screen full of green and red icons beneath each one. There's little sense of organization on any of the screens, although in its defense, at least Comodo makes it easy to figure out how to run a full manual scan without having to hunt around for the option. Be warned, though: Those scans put a real strain on your PC, and fans blow hard while Comodo is at work.

Installation is a real headache. An exhaustive registration Web page had to be completed--right down to our mailing address--before we ever downloaded the application, and we had to run two lengthy product updates after we finally got the app installed, the latter included more than 100MB of new virus definitions. It's also worth noting that, in my hands-on experience, Comodo seemed to have some of the slowest servers around, so those downloads are hardly trivial updates. (There's even more fun in store when you uninstall the app, as Comodo leaves behind a utility that has to be removed via a separate uninstall.)

That said, we found a few things to like in Comodo: A sandbox system similar to the one Kaspersky uses is available that runs potentially unsafe applications in a protected part of the PC. It requires no user intervention, automatically dropping applications into the sandbox if it doesn't recognize them as safe (unfortunately, the overly cautious Comodo puts OpenOffice in this category). An Internet proxy service you can use to better protect yourself when connected to a public Wi-Fi hotspot and integrated online backup utility are also baked into the app, both useful additions to a security-minded user's arsenal.

Nevertheless, without a solid level of core security offered, it's hard to make any sort of recommendation in Comodo's favor. All told, if it wants to live up to its "Complete" name, this application needs a serious interface redesign and a new engine under the hood.

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Pros

    • Internet proxy service built in
    • Blocked all of our real world threats

    Cons

    • Very difficult to use
    • High rates of false positives
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