Feeds

Aargh! Bamboozled by security licensing - what works for my family?

Guide this reader through the vendor maze

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Readers' corner And so to El Reg Forums and Edwin, a commentard since 2007, who is having a bit of trouble in choosing IT security software for his family. He writes:

I'm rapidly losing my mind in the minefield that is security software, particularly when it comes to licensing many devices... The internet has become useless for this sort of research, I find: 90% of search result hits are resellers trying to sell me software rather than a comprehensive comparative review.

Let me sketch it out:

I'm looking for a software solution to manage security on the family digital devices (me, wife, kids of 9 and 12). Between the four of us, we have three Windows 7 PCs, three Android tablets and four Lumia phones. The software in question must:

  • provide good antivirus and general protection for the PCs for all platforms
  • provide good malware protection for the tablets
  • provide an overview of which android apps pose privacy risks
  • be free of ads and whatnot (which is why I'm abandoning Avast)

Nice-to-haves:

  • parental controls (restrict what the kids can install on their tablets)
  • have some intention of covering WinPho in the future
  • whatever system optimisation and other features they care to add

So far, I'm looking at Symantec, Bitdefender, Webroot and Kaspersky. They all seem to offer more or less the same features, though licensing is a nightmare: almost everyone will cover *5* devices, but not *6* (or, if we include the handsets, 10).

WinPho doesn't seem to be covered by anyone, though Webroot indicated they have been contemplating it, which puts my costs for one year (in USD, since that's what the websites are offering at first glance) at:

Symantec: $100. They offer Norton 360 licenses up to 5 devices, so I would need to buy one extra mobile security license. The customer service agent I chatted with suggested Norton One instead of the Norton360 family pack, because you can 'add seats'. Great idea, except Norton One costs twice what the 360 pack costs, and offers for no clear extra value that I can make out.

Kaspersky: $105. They have a 10 device license, but that costs more than taking out a 3 device overall license for the PCs and another 3 device license for the tablets (why???)

Bitdefender: $130. Bitdefender stands out here in that they offer 'family member' packages, so for households of 3 or 5 people they will cover all devices. Great licensing model, though the most expensive offering of the lot (and what's wrong with my family of *4* people?)

Webroot: $60. They are by far the cheapest option on the face of it. Their customer support also claims to offer a 10 device license, but I can't find it on their website. Plan B would be a 3 device license plus 3 copies of their Android software (though whether the android software goes by year is unclear)

In the end, it's not strictly about cost, but about functionality and reliability. Cost comes in second (very, very close second if you ask the wife).

My question is: does anyone have experience with any of these packages and different licensing models? Or is there some key player I'm completely overlooking? I appreciate that lasct question is a bit like starting a discussion about your favourite Linux editor (emacs) or hard disk model (who cares), but suggestions are welcome!

Gentle reader, what do you think? This way to the Forums. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
George Clooney, WikiLeaks' lawyer wife hand out burner phones to wedding guests
Day 4: 'News'-papers STILL rammed with Clooney nuptials
Shellshock: 'Larger scale attack' on its way, warn securo-bods
Not just web servers under threat - though TENS of THOUSANDS have been hit
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
PEAK IPV4? Global IPv6 traffic is growing, DDoS dying, says Akamai
First time the cache network has seen drop in use of 32-bit-wide IP addresses
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.