7 all-in-one security suites: Anti-malware for all your devices

We look at their usability and what features each offers outside of traditional anti-malware protection

Let's face it: No matter what device you use, you're in danger. Security threats and malware lurk on Windows PCs, Macs, and Android and iOS devices. If you use more than one device - like most of us do - that makes it even more difficult and expensive to be vigilant and keep yourself safe.

That's where all-in-one security suites come in. They protect not just a single device, but multiple ones, and offer comprehensive security for a far lower price than if you had to buy software individually for each of your devices.

All of the suites reviewed here protect Windows, Macs and Android devices. A few add iOS security as well. Most offer some kind of Web-based dashboard for installing and managing the software on each individual device.

Note that this isn't an evaluation of how well these products actually protect against malware -- for that, it's best to check out a report from a lab such as AV-TEST, which recently rated a variety of applications for how they protect Windows 8.1 systems and Android devices.

Instead, I've looked at each suite's usability and what features it offers outside of traditional anti-malware protection. I've included quick snapshots of the strengths and weaknesses of the product for each operating system -- Windows, OS X, iOS and Android -- and evaluate the Web dashboard that some of the suites offer to help you manage the security of all your devices.

In this roundup, I've reviewed seven all-in-one protection suites:

Bitdefender Family Pack

Kaspersky Internet Security - Multi-Device

McAfee LiveSafe 2014

Norton 360 Multi Device

Panda Global Protection 2014

Trend Micro Titanium Maximum Security

Webroot SecureAnywhere Internet Security Complete

Bitdefender Family Pack

Bitdefender

Price: $9.99/mo. or $99.95/yr. for 3 users; $11.95/mo. or $129.95/yr. for 5 users

Number of devices: Unlimited

The Bitdefender Family Pack isn't so much a well-integrated suite for protecting multiple devices as it is a way to package several of them in a single product to save you money. Each component must be installed separately, via a Web link, and although there is a basic Web dashboard, that dashboard won't let you install and uninstall the software.

Windows

Bitdefender offers a full suite of PC protection tools, but the interface is so confusing, you'll take some time figuring out how to use it. There are two dueling interfaces, a compact one on your Windows system and a Web dashboard, which is necessary not just for getting an overview of all of the devices protected by Bitdefender, but also to use some of Bitdefender's features, such as Parental Controls and Facebook protection.

The Windows component is simple to use. To access or customize any feature, click the associated icon in the application, such as firewall, privacy protection or anti-malware scanning. It offers two different modes: Autopilot and User Mode. In theory, in User Mode, you'll receive notifications if major actions need to be taken, such as rebooting in order to finish cleaning an infection. In Autopilot, Bitdefender takes those actions without asking you. In practice, I found no difference between the two modes, likely because I never encountered an issue that required a major action to be taken.

Bitdefender offers the full complement of anti-malware along with a firewall, and goes well beyond that. There are parental controls, and the ability to find and remotely wipe devices. It also scans your Facebook pages for malicious links. And there's 2GB of free cloud-based backup so you can sync files among all of your devices.

OS X

Bit Defender's Mac protection is the most basic of those included in any of these suites. It's a straight-ahead anti-malware scanner that lets you scan your entire system, what it calls critical locations or a custom location. But there's nothing beyond that -- you can't even schedule scans for more convenient times, like overnight for instance.

You can download add-ins for Safari, Chrome or Firefox that offer protection against phishing attacks and block downloading malicious content. But this isn't part of the package itself, and you don't need to buy Bitdefender to use them -- just install them as you would any other browser extension. They're free.

iOS

There is no iOS protection.

Android

Bitdefender's Android app comes with full suite of protection: anti-virus; anti-theft, including remote locate, remote lock, remote wipe and even a "remote scream" feature that helps you find your device if you've mislaid it; browsing security that includes anti-phishing and blocking malicious downloads; and a Privacy Adviser with some features not found in the other Android apps reviewed here.

It gives your Android device an overall privacy score based on the apps you have installed on it. It also lists every app on your device and color-codes it for privacy risk (red for big privacy risk, orange for moderate privacy risk and green for no privacy risk). Tap any app to see details about its privacy problems; tap the Uninstall button to uninstall the app.

Dashboard

The Web dashboard does double-duty. First, it controls individual components such as Facebook protection, parental control and locating your Android device.

It also acts as a traditional dashboard, giving you an overview of all the devices you have protected. However, in this role, it's only moderately useful. You can see all the devices on which you've installed Bitdefender, but you get information only about their operating systems. You won't be able to see the results of scans or any potential issues such as outdated virus definitions. And you can't install and uninstall software from the dashboard either. All in all, it's no winner.

Bottom Line

Bitdefender's confusing interface and lack of iOS protection puts it near the bottom of the list of useful all-in-one security software. That being said, its features goes beyond what others offer in some cases, including solid Android protection and the ability to remotely wipe laptops if they're lost.

Kaspersky Internet Security - Multi-Device

Kaspersky Lab ZAO

Price: $79.95/yr., $149.95/2 yrs. or $199.95/3 yrs.

Number of devices: 5

Kaspersky Internet Security - Multi Device offers simple, straightforward protection, and also provides advanced PC tools for those technically sophisticated enough to use them. It's marred by not having a Web-based dashboard and offers only rudimentary iOS protection.

Windows

The Windows interface is simple and clear, with large icons representing the various security features, including scanning, parental control and others.

Kaspersky doesn't have the kind of Windows tune-up tools that Norton does, but it does have several technical modules that experienced users might welcome. The Application Control feature gives a snapshot of the current state of your PC, including how many applications and processes are running and how much memory they're using.

If you suspect that any applications are malicious, you can block them, and later enable them if you want. Also useful is a network activity monitor, which shows your network traffic over time. With it you can also see all of your open ports, which protocol they use, and what applications, if any, are currently using each port.

One unusual component is called Safe Money; it helps ensure that when you visit a bank's website, you're actually visiting that site and not a scam page. It does this by comparing the URL of the site you're visiting with the bank's real URL, checks whether the page has a valid certificate, and then opens the site in a protected browser mode to safeguard personal data.

OS X

The suite's OS X protection mirrors the Windows version. However, as with other Mac security applications, it doesn't include all the features that the Windows version has, such as Application Control, the network activity monitor and Safe Money. Still, it's one of the better Mac protection suites, and includes not just anti-malware, but also anti-phishing, protection against dangerous websites and parental controls.

There's also protection against keyloggers and screen capture malware, so that your login information and passwords are much less likely to be stolen. Unlike the flat-looking Windows interface, the Mac UI features glowing green highlights and rounded 3D objects.

iOS

iOS users won't find much here, and they can download the iOS app free without having to buy the full suite. It provides a browser that protects against phishing and malicious links, but you need to use it instead of Safari. As with similar browsers, it looks and works much like Safari. But that's all you get -- no anti-malware and no lost device protection.

Android

Android protection is solid. There's the usual anti-malware, along with remote location of a missing device, remote wipe and remote lock. And it lets you block unwanted phone calls and text messages. There are some unusual features as well, including the ability to show only certain features of your phone when other people are using it.

The main interface has big, colorful buttons at the bottom for each of the app's features (scanning, anti-theft and so on) and, at the top, a very large icon that tells you whether your device is safe or whether there are any issues with it. Tap the icon to see the problem and solve it.

Dashboard

Kaspersky doesn't include a Web dashboard for managing security on your devices. Because of that, you'll have to install the Mac and iOS modules separately from the PC one.

Bottom Line

Kaspersky Internet Security Multi-Device sticks to the basics and doesn't provide the range of Windows tune-up tools that other suites such as Norton and McAfee include. It also lacks a Web-based dashboard and doesn't offer iOS protection. However, its anti-malware coverage for Windows, OS X and Android is solid and useful.

McAfee LiveSafe 2014

McAfee

Price: $79.99/yr.

Number of devices: Unlimited

McAfee offers a solid set of tools for protecting your Windows, OS X and Android devices, although it offers only minimal iOS protection. If you have a lot of gear to protect, you'll welcome the fact that it lets you protect an unlimited number of devices for one price.

Windows

McAfee offers all the protection you need for your Windows system and does it so easily that, once you install the program, you really never need open it. However, if you want to do things such as schedule scans, turn the firewall on or off, or use additional tools such as a file shredder, its primary interface is simple and straightforward to use.

One of the more unusual tools is its Traffic Monitor feature, which analyzes traffic between your PC and the Internet. The overall analysis shows your incoming and outgoing traffic levels over time, as well as current traffic and the current bandwidth use. You can also see all the currently active programs on your PC.

More useful is the Traffic Use view; it shows you which programs used the most bandwidth over the past 24 hours. It's not an easy tool to find, though, because it's not available from the main menu. Instead, you'll have to click the small Navigation button on the upper right corner of the main screen, then scroll down to the Traffic Monitor link and click it.

The tune-up tools are somewhat basic compared to Norton, consisting of a QuickClean feature that, as the name implies, deletes unnecessary files. There's also a defragmenter and a file shredder, but not much beyond that.

There is also a Windows 8 app called McAfee Central that is supposed to work in concert with McAfee LiveSafe. I tried it two times with separate LiveSafe installations.

The first time I found it confusing to use, because when I'd click it to perform a task, such as to customize my firewall, I was often switched over to the desktop app to actually do the work. The second time I installed it, the app incorrectly reported that I didn't have the McAfee desktop app installed, even though I did.

OS X

The Mac security software offers the usual anti-malware, firewall and protection against malicious Web sites. But as with other software in this roundup, you don't get the full range of tools offered for Windows PCs, such as the Traffic Monitor feature or the tune-up tools.

That being said, it does offer parental controls via its Family Protection module. That offers more than the usual protection, because it also can filter TV shows watched on the Mac, as well as YouTube and iTunes filtering.

The interface is simple and compact, with the main panel on the right reporting on the security state of your Mac, and a smaller navigational panel on the left letting you use its features, such as performing or customizing scans, looking at the application's logs and seeing any software it has quarantined.

iOS

LiveSafe doesn't offer true iOS protection -- there's no malware scanning or protection. Instead, there are two separate apps (both available for free even if you don't buy the entire multi-device LifeSafe package): A password manager called McAfee SafeKey and a privacy vault that protects files on your phone, including photos and videos, backs up your contacts and lets you locate your phone if it gets lost.

The interfaces for both are simple and straightforward, although the file protection can be awkward to use. Rather than browsing through your files and folders, and marking those you want to protect, you have to manually add them to the McAfee vault, and then delete them from their original locations. Even worse is that new videos and photos aren't automatically added to your vault if you use the iPhone's camera app or another camera app. Instead, you need to first go to the vault, and then take a photo or video from there.

Android

McAfee's Android app offers comprehensive protection. In addition to guarding against malware, it locates, locks and wipes lost or stolen devices; checks apps to see whether they invade your privacy; and lets you block unwanted phone calls and text messages.

It's straightforward and simple to use. The left-hand side of the screen provides navigation for the actions you can take (such as find a device or do a security scan) and the right-hand side lets you perform the actions and shows you their results.

Noteworthy is the privacy scanner, which checks apps for potential privacy invasions. Other Android apps do that, but where McAfee stands out is providing two other privacy control features: locking apps so that only certain people can use them and creating profiles to hide or display apps, depending on the person using the device.

Dashboard

McAfee has a reasonably useful Web-based dashboard that offers more than the basics of just installing software. You'll see the current status of the protection of each of your devices -- whether protection is up to date, when the security software on it was last updated, when the last scan was done and when the next one will be done.

You can also install software on your current device or send a link to another device that, when clicked on, will go to a download link. It's not nearly as comprehensive as Webroot, but it's better than most reviewed here.

Bottom Line

If you've got an iOS device you want protected, McAfee isn't for you, because it won't protect the operating system in any realistic way. Its Windows component doesn't offer all the bells and whistles as Norton's, although parents will be pleased by its ability to filter out questionable content on TV, YouTube and iTunes.

If you have many Windows, OS X, and Android devices, though, this suite may well be your best bet, because for the price of one, it protects an unlimited number of devices -- as many as you want.

Norton 360 Multi-Device

Symantec

Price: $39.99/6 mo., $69.99/yr., $134.99/2 yrs. or $199.99/3 yrs.

Number of devices: 5

It's this simple: If you want a suite with the greatest number of options -- not just for Windows security, but for optimization, startup and troubleshooting -- this is the one to get. It doesn't stint on protection for other devices, either, but Windows is where it really shines.

Windows

The range of tools you get with Norton is astonishing. As a start, it has all the security features you want, and they're eminently customizable. But it goes beyond that and offers a powerful suite of system tools as well.

It's all organized on the main screen via four main icons: Security, Identity, Backup and Tuneup. Underneath each icon you'll find a wealth of options and tools.

Tuneup, for example, includes a disk optimizer, file cleanup, startup manager and a comprehensive diagnostic report. Startup manager is an example of balancing ease of use with power -- it presents each application installed on the system, shows you community usage (how many Norton users have installed it) and rates the resource usage on your system, so you can decide whether to shut down those applications that use too many resources. And besides just turning them on or off, you can delay their start so that your system boots up quickly and then the applications load afterwards.

Admittedly, when you dig down, the wealth of options can be confusing. Firewall has five sets of settings: General, Program Rules, Traffic Rules, Intrusion and Browser Protection, and Advanced Settings. And each of those has many settings to turn on and off. It's a techie's dream and a newbie's nightmare.

There's also a Windows 8 app called Norton Studio that lets you see the status of each of your devices, including a snapshot of the most recent Norton activity -- the results of scans, any malware found, phishing sites encountered and blocked and so on. That's nice, but even nicer would be a single, integrated Windows app for Windows 8 devices. Instead, there's a desktop-based app that does all the work -- the same app that you install on other versions of Windows -- and then there's Norton Studio, which gives you an overview of your devices.

OS X

Norton's OS X protection, like those of every other suite reviewed here, doesn't match up to its Windows protection -- in this case, because it doesn't include tune-up tools, or nearly the depth of features you'll find on the Windows version. But it offers a solid suite of Mac protection tools, including antivirus, firewall, phishing-blocking, email and instant messenger protection, and identity protection.

In fact, you'll find a surprisingly deep level of features. For example, the firewall includes location awareness, meaning that you can configure different blocking settings for the different networks to which a Mac connects.

The interface is a bit un-Mac-like. It's got three big, oversized icons for Antivirus, Firewall and Identity that mimic the look of the software's PC icons and aren't quite as elegant-looking as you'd expect from a Mac. But it does the job.

iOS

Norton's iOS protection offers more features than the other suites covered here, including anti-theft components and the ability to back up your contacts. Like the others, though, it doesn't offer malware scanning, although it will check for malicious websites.

Android

Although Norton falls down when it comes to iOS protection, its protection on Android devices is stellar. There's anti-malware, a module for scanning apps for potential privacy problems and one for locating, locking and wiping your device remotely. The tools for blocking spam phone calls and text messages are exemplary, using the Norton Spot ad detector, which you'll have to download as a separate free app (It's available whether you buy the suite or not.)

The interface itself, at least on a tablet, is done quite well, with a scrollable panel on the left-hand side for all the app's features, and a larger panel to the right, which gives you the options and notifications for the feature you're working with.

The privacy scanner includes a feature that many others should emulate. When it finds an app with potential privacy issues, it displays those issues, as do other similar apps. But you can also tap a "Trust" button to say that you trust the app, something that similar privacy scanners don't do. That way, any apps that you trust won't show up as privacy risks, making it easier to see new risks at a glance.

Dashboard

The good news: Norton has a Web-based dashboard. The bad news: It's not overly useful -- certainly not nearly as useful as Webroot's. Yes, it lists the devices you have installed the software on, and lets you add new devices and install software on them. And it also lets you see files you've backed up. But that's about the extent of it, apart from being able to manage the anti-theft features of your Android device.

Bottom Line

Norton protects Macs, Android devices and iOS devices, which makes it one of the few comprehensive suites that lives up to its promise to protect all your devices.

Norton's Windows component stands out for its wide range of features -- there's simply no other application that offers such a plethora of tools. It's slightly marred by an occasionally complex interface, but to a great extent that's because of how deep the product is. OS X and mobile protection is as good or, at least, nearly as good as any competitor. It falls short only in its Web dashboard.

If you don't care about a dashboard, it's the best of the bunch.

Panda Global Protection 2014

Panda Security

Price: $79.99/1 yr., $135.99/2 yrs. or $175.99/3 yrs.

Number of devices: 3 Windows PCs (plans also available for 1 PC, 5 PCs and 10 PCs); each plan also covers 1 Mac and unlimited iOS/Android devices

Panda offers somewhat vanilla safety features, and its PC component can be a bit confusing to use. It's also marred by very poor and basic Android protection.

Windows

Panda offers a solid range of Windows protective tools, although nothing out of the ordinary. It lacks social network protection and its tune-up tools are minimal (only defragment and file cleanup).

You get to the suite's features via big, colorful icons. Navigation can be confusing at times, however, if you want to dig deeply. For example, to see a single page to customize the way many features work, you click the icon for Identity Protection. From there, you customize not just that feature, but many others, including for spam, parental controls and various virus-scanning features.

In addition, some features aren't accessed via the big, colorful buttons, but instead via tiny white icons at the bottom of the screen. That's where you'll find the optimization module and a network management component that identifies Windows PCs and Macs on your network. (However, it was unable to find several iPads and an Android tablet on my network.)

It doesn't do more than identify them, though, and shows if each has Panda protection -- but it doesn't tell you if they have any other kind of security software. And although it identified the IP address of each device, it was unable to find the MAC address.

OS X

Panda's OS X protection is exceedingly basic -- it protects against malware, but doesn't offer other features such as remote wipe or tune-up tools. There are no parental controls, either. And depending on how you install the Mac component, you may get confused during the installation process. I installed from the Web, and after the installation was apparently completed, nothing happened. I had to hunt for the app's icon in the Applications folder, double-click it, and then complete the installation by typing in my registration code.

Once you do get it installed, Panda performs real-time scanning as you open and save files, and also scans your entire Mac on a schedule that you set. You can also specify specific folders to scan. But that's it.

iOS

Panda doesn't include an iOS security component. However, there is a way to use your Mac to scan your iOS device by connecting the device to your Mac and use the OS X scanner to scan it. But it's slow and awkward, because in order to scan, files are copied from the iOS device to your Mac, and are scanned there. Don't bother trying it.

Android

Panda offers reasonable Android protection -- all the basics plus an extra. It protects against malware and can locate, lock or wipe a device. Its Privacy Auditor does a very nice job of listing apps that might be privacy invaders: It lists potential privacy problems such as Track Location, Access Contacts and Access Storage, and then shows you all the apps in each of those categories.

The extra is a task killer that lists the apps currently running on your Android device, shows you their CPU and RAM use, and lets you kill any that are currently running. (The apps aren't uninstalled; they're merely killed for the session until you re-start them.) But it doesn't block SMS spam or unwanted message senders like some other apps do.

Dashboard

You can't properly call what Panda offers a Web dashboard, because all it does is list the devices on which you've installed the software, let you install on new devices and allow you to renew your subscription. But you can't see the state of security on any device, uninstall software or do anything else.

Bottom Line

I was disappointed in Panda Global Protection for several reasons. Its Android protection is minimal, its Mac protection is basic and, for practical purposes, it provides barely any iOS protection. Added to that is that each package only protects a single Mac and that the cost ramps up quickly depending on how many Windows PCs you need to protect.

Trend Micro Titanium Maximum Security

Trend Micro

Price: $44.95/1 yr. or $69.95/2 yrs.

Number of devices: 3

Trend Micro manages to stuff just about every piece of security protection you want into almost all of your devices, yet manages to do it with clean, simple interfaces, as well as a straightforward Web-based dashboard. As with all the other products reviewed here, the most comprehensive protection is for Windows PCs, but it offers solid Android protection as well. It falls short in Mac protection, though, and offers nothing for iOS.

Windows

As with other security software reviewed here, Trend Micro's Windows protection is the most comprehensive in the suite. In addition to the expected anti-malware, it guards against email-borne spam, prevents your system from running malicious scripts on websites, has a firewall, and includes instant-messenger protection, although only for Yahoo Messenger and AIM, not for other services such as Skype. There's also a system tuner, recovery disk, privacy modules and more.

Despite the full set of features, Trend Micro's simple interface puts everything within easy reach, with five main tabs: Overview, PC/Mobile, Privacy, Data and Family. Underneath each tab are the individual modules; once you've clicked into a module, it's easy to customize how it works. This simple, clean navigation makes this suite one of the best when it comes to finding all of the software's features.

Trend Micro promises that it can check -- and tweak -- your privacy settings on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter using its Privacy Scanner feature.

After you've installed Trend Micro and log into Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, you'll see a message on the top of the page from Trend Micro, with a button "Check My Privacy." Click it and you'll be sent to the Trend Micro Privacy Scanner page. (You can also get to the page by selecting "Check social network policy" from the toolbar that Trend Micro installs in your browser.) Once there, choose either Facebook, Twitter or Google+, depending on which social network you want to check for privacy issues.

The Privacy Scanner then examines your settings on that social network and warns you about any potential privacy issues -- for example, that "Strangers can easily track you" on Twitter because your Twitter settings let people see your email address, or that "People can download your photos" on Google +. You can fix either an individual setting or all at once.

When it worked properly, I found the Privacy Scanner to be useful. But on several occasions, when I chose which social network that I wanted scanned for privacy issues, it sent me to that social network's settings page and did nothing else. In addition, I was never able to get Facebook scanning to work because it wouldn't register that I was logged in.

Along with the main desktop application, the suite also suggests you download two apps specific to Windows 8 -- apps that may be useful, but aren't particularly powerful. SafeSurfing is a separate browser that offers anti-malware protection and DirectPass manages your passwords (you can use it for up to five passwords free; after that, it's $14.95/yr. for unlimited passwords).

There are at least two other Trend Micro apps available in the Windows Store as well: Security Center, which lists malware outbreaks around the world, and SafeSync, which lets you sync mobile devices. All of these apps are available for free separately from the suite.

OS X

The suite's OS X protection isn't as comprehensive as the Windows protection, but includes the basics: Destroying malware, blocking dangerous websites, guarding against identity theft and managing your online privacy. It's all done from a simple, straightforward screen which lets you choose what you want to do, such as starting a scan and so on.

As with the Windows version, it also includes a feature designed to check your privacy protections on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter via a browser toolbar. Unfortunately, though, I was unable to get it to work on Safari, Chrome or Firefox.

Android

Trend Micro's Android protection is comprehensive and powerful. In addition to anti-malware tools, it can find, lock and wipe a missing device, and scan apps before installing them to see whether any might be privacy-invaders or data thieves. And there are other useful security tools as well, including protection against missing URLs.

The interface itself is straightforward and basic -- simply tap the feature you want to use. I was impressed by the fact that the main screen itself displays not just the features, but also gives alerts about any action you should take, such as removing privacy risks the app has found or scanning your device if it hasn't been scanned yet.

iOS

There is no iOS protection.

Dashboard

Trend Micro's Web-based dashboard is only moderately useful. It shows you all the devices on which you've installed the software, lets you install directly from it and lets you report a lost or stolen device. But that's pretty much it. It's not nearly as powerful or useful as the Webroot dashboard.

Bottom line

Trend Micro Titanium Maximum Security is a fully featured security suite, notable for its clean design that puts all of its considerable power within easy reach. Windows 8 fans will welcome the Windows 8 apps, even if they're not particularly powerful. The social media privacy checks are quite good as well -- when they work, that is. The suite is marred only by its lack of any iOS protection.

Webroot SecureAnywhere Internet Security Complete

Webroot

Price: $51.99/1 yr., $129.99/2yrs. or $179.99/3 yrs.

Number of devices: 5

This suite combines a wide range of protection across Windows, OS X, Android and iOS devices, and adds some very useful extras, notably tools for juicing up Windows performance; it also has the best Web-based dashboard of the bunch. Its iOS protection is minimal, but aside from that, this suite is a winner.

Windows

Webroot has been slimmed down since its last iteration, making for a simpler interface, but also giving up some of its previous features. For example, gone is a nice little feature that used to tell you how much of the processor power the software uses.

WebRoot

Webroot SecureAnywhere Internet Security Complete (Windows version)

Techies who love that sort of thing may not be as happy with this latest version of Webroot, but everyone else will. By taking away some of those less-than-central capabilities, the suite's interface and overall functioning have been made simpler.

The main screen is largely devoted to the suite's main purpose -- scanning for threats. You see the results of your most recent scan and can do a new scan by clicking a button. Off to the right are the other tools, including shields, identity protection and utilities. It's clean, simple and free of bloat.

Other important tools include a System Analyzer, which examines your hardware and software and finds out where you might have issues and bottlenecks. But although it does a good job of analysis, it doesn't help you solve the problems it finds. You'll have to figure out those fixes on your own.

OS X

The OS X version of the suite is nearly identical to the Windows version, with the same slimmed-down interface, although it lacks the identity protection features of the Windows suite. But it includes all the other features, including the malware scanner and various shields.

Mac users will be pleased with the System Analyzer because, as a general rule, there are fewer of these tools available for OS X than for Windows. In my case, it found a host of issues: I had too little RAM, my Time Machine backup wasn't turned on and there were a lot of temporary files, among other problems. As with the Windows version, though, it doesn't tell you how to solve the problems.

iOS

Webroot falls short here. The iOS module SecureWeb doesn't include any malware scanning -- all it does is protect you while you surf the Web, identifying malicious websites and phishing sites.

And SecureWeb doesn't integrate with the iOS browser; you use it instead of the browser built into iOS. It looks and works much like the iOS browser, except that it blocks you from potentially dangerous sites by warning you before visiting them. And you don't really get anything extra by buying the suite -- SecureWeb is also available outside of the suite as a free download.

Android

Webroot offers all the standard security tools you expect in a fully featured Android app, including malware scanning; locating, locking and wiping lost devices; and blocking websites that are known security risks.

Where it really stands out, though, is its App Inspector, which is the best Android extra of all the suites reviewed here. App Inspector examines all the permissions required by your apps and categorizes potential problems with them: Apps that track your location, that access sensitive information, that access your messages and so on. You tap any category to see the list of all problematic apps, then tap any of the apps to see its permissions and for more information -- you can also uninstall the app.

There's also a Battery Monitor, which shows which apps use the most battery life, and a Network Monitor, which shows which apps access your network, and shows a great deal of detail for the exceedingly technically minded, such as the protocol used, and the local and remote IP addresses the app uses.

Dashboard

Webroot's Web dashboard is the only one that does more than just let you install software or give you a system snapshot.

Not only does it show you the state of security for each device, but you can take remote actions as well. For example, you can issue remote commands to a Windows PC that include scanning, running a system cleaner, shutting down the PC, restarting it and more. In addition, if you've got any potential security issues on any device, you'll be told on your dashboard. And you can also see the results of scans and other actions you take as well.

Bottom Line

With a superb Web dashboard, deep and customizable Windows protection and reliable Mac and Android protection, this suite will be a solid bet for many people. Its one shortcoming is no parental controls. And there's no iOS defense aside from protecting you when you surf the Web.

Conclusions

Norton 360 Multi Device stands out as the best suite for all-around protection. Its modules are the best and most comprehensive, with many extras, such as very good Windows tune-up tools. In addition, it's the only one that offers anti-theft features for iOS as well as Windows PCs, Macs and Android devices. Because it protects up to five devices, it's a good deal as well.

If you're a fan of Web dashboards, consider Webroot SecureAnywhere Complete, because its dashboard is exemplary, as are most of its protection tools. Its iOS protection, though, falls short -- so if that's important to you, you won't want this suite.

Finally, if you don't have an iOS gadget that needs protection, but you have more than five devices, McAfee LiveSafe might be your best bet. Windows, OS X and Android security are solid, and for $79.99 per year you can protect as many devices as you want.

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Turnbull warns ACCC against undermining Telstra NBN agreement

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