(Last updated on January 15th, 2021)
McAfee or F-Secure, which software is a better option in 2021?
Read this ultimate McAfee versus F-Secure comparison to make a smart choice.
Every one of us spends a considerable amount of time online each day. And we do have several things to do that keep us online: our jobs, our studies, family connections, entertainment, shopping, you name it.
But the problem is that the more time we spend on the internet, the more we begin to trust it as a secure medium. But that is far from the truth. As Joanna Rutkowska would tell you, “In computer security, (trust) is capable of destroying (your) whole security integrity.”
Did you know that a new malware attack takes place every 14 seconds in 2019? And this situation is expected to become even more serious by 2021, with malware attacks happening every 11 seconds. This scenario is certainly not desirable.
So, the first thing we need to focus on is getting some top-notch antivirus protection from these growing threats. You may already be using a free antivirus software, but free programs don’t have the advanced features required for robust protection against the latest digital threats.
A premium antivirus program may cost you a few bucks but will provide complete digital security to yourself and those you love. The premium programs also incorporate cutting-edge technologies to provide protection against ransomware, spyware, identity theft, and other related threats.
Best Antivirus Suite for 2020
Overall Score: 9.9/10
60-day money-back guarantee
Right now, we think that Norton is the best antivirus software your money can buy. It regularly earns perfect or near-perfect scores from independent labs and has the least impact on system performance compared to rival products. Its products combine top-notch security with an array of excellent security features and, best of all, offer exceptional value for money.
Overall, Norton 360 Deluxe (currently at 70% off) is our pick for the best antivirus suite in 2020. It is competitively priced and comes with almost everything you could possibly ask for, such as a firewall, a fully integrated VPN, dark web monitoring, cloud backup storage (50GB), a password manager, and parental controls. You can cover up to 5 PCs, Macs, smartphones or tablets with this suite.
If you want full-on identity protection and don’t mind paying more, Norton 360 with LifeLock Select (currently at 35% off) gives those in the US a full range of identity protection features, more backup space (100GB), as well as all the above.
In this guide, we give you a head-to-head comparison of two popular antivirus programs: McAfee and F-Secure. Let’s see which one of these software promises better anti-malware security with minimal impact on system performance.
In a rush? Below is a quick summary of this comparison.
A Quick Rundown of the Winners in Each Category
Winner: McAfee. McAfee has one product that comes packed with all the advanced functions. This puts McAfee ahead of F-Secure in this category.
2. Malware Protection
Winner: Both. Both companies remained head to head throughout the three independent assessments. That’s why both win this category.
3. System Performance
Winner: McAfee. In this category, McAfee turned the tables on F-Secure, leaving it behind in the evaluation from AV-Comparatives.
Winner: F-Secure. F-Secure presents a more compliant interface with more information available on the Home screen. Whereas, McAfee doesn’t offer much in terms of security updates on its interface.
Winner: McAfee. McAfee’s pricing is not only easier to wrap your head around; it’s also pretty reasonable compared to F-Secure. That’s why McAfee wins here.
6. Customer Satisfaction
Winner: McAfee. F-Secure’s lack of presence on one of the reviewing websites puts it at a disadvantage. That’s why McAfee is the winner here, as well.
McAfee is a clear winner as it offers more security-enhancing features and extra utilities in its security suites than F-Secure. Also, independent tests show that McAfee is better than F-Secure in terms of both malware detection and system performance.
Let’s get into a detailed analysis now.
You can tell a lot about what to expect of antivirus software by going over its features. The ideal software should have most, if not all, of the advanced features conducive to today’s cybersecurity environment. So, let’s see how McAfee and F-Secure compare in this area.
Let’s first look at McAfee’s range of features.
McAfee has kept it pretty simple and rather attractive with its product design. All of the advanced features are incorporated into a single product: McAfee Total Protection.
The flagship product from the company comes packed with complete malware protection utilities, including anti-virus, anti-spam, and defense against ransomware.
- A two-way Firewall keeps all the suspicious incoming and outgoing information at bay until you consent to execute it. The firewall gets regular updates to keep it up to date to emerging malware.
- A Network Monitoring function keeps your home WiFi safe from any external threats on the network and ensures your safety across this channel.
- A Password Manager secures passwords and other credentials on your device, so your information doesn’t get misused when you’re online.
- Another similar feature is File Encryption that protects your documents and other personal data from misuse.
- An ID Theft Module protects you while you’re shopping or banking online so that nobody can steal your identity using your information. You can also get expert advice 24/7 from company personnel in case of an issue.
- Additionally, there’s a Safe Family module. An extremely useful function that protects your kids while they are online and keeps them from accessing unwanted content. The module also helps to restrict web time for the kids and develop healthy habits.
- You can also use this module to track your kids’ activities online as well as in real life as the module also includes a location-tracking facility.
- Lastly, the product also packs some cool PC Optimization tools that help to speed up your system by cleaning it of junk files, shredding utility (permanently delete sensitive data) and organizing front-end activities.
Now let’s look at the range of antivirus products from F-Secure.
F-Secure has its features spread across four different suites. The entry-level product is F-Secure Antivirus. This product includes functions as:
- Comprehensive malware protection from viruses, worms, spyware, and related online threats.
- The software gets regular updates, so you can always enjoy top-notch security against new malicious programs.
- There’s a Malware Removal feature that cleans any pre-existing corrupt coding making your system good as new.
The next product up the protection ladder is F-Secure SAFE. This product offers everything from the previous package plus some extra features:
- Complete Browsing and Banking Protection lets you surf, shop, or bank online without having to worry about getting your sensitive information seized by hackers.
- Full-on Ransomware Protection is also part of this suite that protects your private information such as documents and media files etc. from hackers.
- Family Rules, the Parental controls module, puts you in charge of what your kids get to access online, what apps they use, and how much time they spend online. This module also allows device-tracking utility to locate your children while they are away.
F-Secure FREEDOME provides the next tier of protection. Apart from everything from previous products, this suite also offers additional features:
- A safe VPN feature protects you while you’re browsing and keeps hackers from following your digital footsteps and keeps your identity hidden. Even your service provider won’t be able to trace you.
- You can also use this function to access content restricted by geo-locations.
- The VPN tool further encrypts your data when you’re connected to a public WiFi and saves your information and devices from external threats.
Finally, F-Secure TOTAL is the most premium security suite offered by the company. Some more features come with this suite, such as:
- The SENSE Home Protection feature, which provides advanced protection to any devices connected to your home security router.
- The KEY Password Manager secures your passwords and login information in a digital vault to keep it safe from misuse.
Of all F-Secure products, F-Secure Antivirus is the only Windows-only product. Rest all come with universal licenses. F-Secure offers customer support for all its premium products via online chat or phone call.
Want to know about F-Secure’s business products? Click here for more information.
Winner: McAfee. Although F-Secure has a number of amazing features, not all different products’ users can enjoy the same features as they can with McAfee.
2. Malware Protection
This is where the proven usefulness of an antivirus program comes under the grind. The best software should provide reliable protection against all kinds of malware, including viruses, worms, botnets, Trojan horses, ransomware, spyware, etc.
Let’s look at some test results from two independent testing organizations – namely, AV-Test and AV-Comparatives – and see how they rate our today’s products.
AV-Test rates antivirus products on a scale from 1- 6 (6 being highest) on three different tests: Protection, Performance, and Usability. Here, we look at the Protection test results from August 2019.
McAfee performed exceptionally on this test, receiving a perfect 6 out of 6.
F-Secure was also spot on with the highest score of 6.
Now let’s see how AV-Comparatives rates the two products in their Real-World Protection and Malware Protection Tests. As per their June 2019 assessments in the Real-World Protection Test, McAfee didn’t do very well on this one and received the STANDARD award. F-Secure was ahead this time with the ADVANCED award.
Looking into the Malware Protection Test results, we find McAfee forging ahead with the ADVANCED+ award. Whereas, F-Secure secured the ADVANCED award, once again.
However, both products gave off a higher number of false alarms.
Winner: Both. Overall, both companies gave a similar performance in the independent tests. That’s why this category belongs to both McAfee and F-Secure.
3. System Performance
An impressive feature-set and total malware protection are essential, but not at the cost of your system performance. That’s why an antivirus program should run smoothly utilizing minimum resources on your computer.
Let’s go back to our testing organizations to gauge which software among McAfee and F-Secure blows the other in this area.
McAfee gave a fantastic performance on the AV-Test Performance Test and scored a perfect 6 out of 6.
F-Secure matched McAfee on this test as well and scored the highest 6 out of 6 score.
Now we are going to turn to the Performance Test from AV-Comparatives. Their April 2019 evaluations put McAfee at the ADVANCED+ level. F-Secure was behind this time receiving the second-place ADVANCED award.
Winner: McAfee. McAfee beat F-Secure in the second assessment.
Intuitiveness and easy-of-use are of huge significance when it comes to a user interface. It’s just like the same relationship between a website and its navigation. If it’s too complex to follow, users can’t get the most out of the software.
Let’s see, of both our brands today, which one has designed their interface for optimal use.
McAfee uses a simplistic user interface with a toolbar on top that provides access to different functions: PC Security, Identity, Privacy, Account, and then back to Home page. A vertical dark grey rail on the left-hand side displays the security status of your system.
Most of the screen is dominated by a big white window that switches to show different functions. On this window, the Home Page only shows scanning options and access to one more tool for removing cookies and trackers. This interface doesn’t have an optimal design, but it is still easy to use.
Now let’s have a look at the F-Secure interface.
F-Secure also has a simple design using blue, green, and light grey as accent colors. White is the dominant color on this interface. The Home screen displays information about protection status as well as a Virus Scan button to start an immediate scan.
On the left-hand side is a light grey panel that consists of stacked blocks to access different features and functions. The ‘Tool’ button takes you to further settings not displayed on the Home screen.
F-Secure has quite a user-friendly interface, and the layout is easy to follow even for light computer users.
Winner: F-Secure. F-Secure has a slightly better interface than McAfee because it makes slightly better use of its Home screen.
The best antivirus priced wrong can turn away a good number of customers. That’s why pricing has to be reasonable for the majority of the end customers. Let’s see which one of McAfee and F-Secure takes the lead on better product pricing.
McAfee Total Protection suite is available at $24.99 per year for a single license. You can add more licenses to get protection for more devices.
Each additional license costs less and less. For instance, 5 licenses cost you $39.99 per year, whereas 10 licenses come for $44.99 per year only. With this pricing plan, you get more value for money with each additional license.
|McAfee Products||Regular Price||Discounted Price|
|McAfee Total Protection (1 Device)||$79.99/year||Check here|
|McAfee Total Protection (5 Device)||$99.99/year||Check here|
|McAfee Total Protection (10 Device)||$119.99/year||Check here|
Now we’ll see how F-Secure prices its products.
F-Secure Antivirus suite costs $35.99 per year for one device. However, you can add two more devices for merely $4, totaling #39.99 per year for 3 devices.
F-Secure SAFE costs $34.99 per year for 3 devices. Here, you can cover 2 more devices for an additional $10 per year.
Next Product, F-Secure FREEDOME costs you $34.99 per year for 3 devices. You can add more devices, up to 7, for a cost of $69.99 per year or $89.99 for two years.
(Above prices for both F-Secure SAFE and F-Secure FREEDOME are discounted rates.)
Finally, F-Secure TOTAL comes at $99.99 for 3 devices, $109.99 for 5 & $129.99 for 7 devices per year.
|F-Secure Products||Regular Price||Discounted Price|
|F-Secure Anti-Virus||$35.99/year||No Discount|
|F-Secure SAFE||$49.99/year||No Discount|
|F-Secure FREEDOME||$89.99/year||No Discount|
|F-Secure TOTAL||$89.99/year||No Discount|
|F-Secure Business Products||Varies||No Discount|
Winner: McAfee. McAfee has more straight-forward pricing, and it’s pretty reasonable too compared to F-Secure prices.
6. Customer Satisfaction
They say a happy customer is a repeat customer. So, let’s now turn to independent review websites to see how satisfied both McAfee and F-Secure keep their customers.
We’ll first look at the feedback ratings from Consumeraffairs.org. They rank different antivirus products according to customer responses on a 5-star scale. This website gave McAfee 3 stars, which is a modest score.
F-Secure has not been rated by this source, probably for the lack of customer responses.
Now we’ll turn to another similar website to investigate their ratings, G2. This website uses a scale from 1 to 5 (5 being highest). As per their ratings, McAfee was able to score an excellent 4.3 out of 5, while F-Secure was a little ahead this time with a 4.6 rating.
Winner: McAfee. Although F-Secure was a little ahead in the ratings from G2, it was not up for rating from Consumeraffairs.org. That’s why McAfee wins this category.
Although F-Secure was able to leave McAfee behind in the Malware Protection test from AV-Comparatives. McAfee still takes the lead in other significant areas such as features, system performance, pricing, and customer satisfaction. A complete antivirus product has to offer a lot more than just malware protection. That’s why on an overall scale, McAfee wins this competition.
Our recommendations: If you want to get the highest level of security and performance, there's no better choice than Norton, which protects over 50 million users worldwide.
After reviewing dozens of antivirus products from some of the biggest names in the cybersecurity realm, we believe that Norton 360 Deluxe is the best antivirus suite available on the market. It provides flawless anti-malware protection without slowing you down. Plus, you get almost all the advanced features you could ever want.
If you're willing to pay more for advanced identity protection features, we recommend Norton 360 with LifeLock select (only available in the US). It's a bit pricey but worth the price.
Anas Baig is a consumer privacy advocate and cybersecurity journalist by profession. Has has more than 7 years of professional experience under his belt. Anas has been featured on numerous media publications including The Guardian, Lifehacker, The Next Web, Infosecurity Magazine, Security Boulevard, Hacker Noon, CMS Wire, IAPP, SC Magazine, and many others. His interest includes Digital Privacy Rights, Information Security, Networking, Privacy, and Data Protection.