Assessing the Effectiveness of McAfee Antivirus Plus

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Antivirus might be just what you need as we go through the Mcafee antivirus review. The software called Mcafee has many security features. Plus, it has total protection and the best antivirus that is designed to work on multiple platforms. It works on platforms like Windows and mobile devices, and web protection, and it doesn’t limit how many devices you can protect. 

While some of the features on the Windows and mobile apps are being phased out, McAfee’s antivirus also offers perfect protection like a security suite.

Keep going to learn about the MacAfee virus, and more about the features, and benefits of this powerful security solution, as we take you through antivirus review 2023.

 McAfee antivirus has features like McAfee security and total protection plus. Mcafee provides support to many users globally who are looking for antivirus software. With McAfee, account users can access the software promptly. Macfee can work with around 10 devices.


McAfee Antivirus is a cost-effective solution for households seeking unlimited protection for all their devices. MacAfee, which is a premium antivirus has an annual subscription fee of $64.99. MacAfee allows you to install the software on every device you own, up from its previous price of $59.99.

The software, which has many additional features, works on multiple platforms. The software works on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS, and now includes protection for ChromeOS devices and ARM-based laptops.

 McAfee’s expansion to ChromeOS is noteworthy as it joins Trend Micro Maximum Security as one of the few products to support this platform.

While the McAfee website and product boxes may display the number 10 licenses, rest assured that the subscription is unlimited. According to McAfee contacts, displaying “unlimited” can sometimes confuse customers when compared to other product boxes on store shelves.

Compared to other antivirus solutions in the market, McAfee’s unlimited licensing is rare. Competing companies typically offer subscriptions for one, three, five, or ten licenses.

Compared to its competitors, McAfee offers more affordable pricing. For the price of a slightly lower subscription, you can get ten licenses for Sophos, or three licenses for Bitdefender, ESET NOD32 Antivirus, or Kaspersky Anti-Virus. Norton offers just one license. Other antivirus products like Bitdefender, Webroot, and Trend Micro provide a one-device license for about $40 per month.

Free antivirus software can provide unlimited protection, though it often has limited features. For instance, Avast One Essential is a free-to-use version of Avast One that offers protection for all four popular platforms. However, it is a stripped-down version with fewer features than the paid version.

After activation, download and install the product. The installer is user-friendly and doesn’t require much assistance. Once installed, the product immediately starts protecting your device. In some cases, installation may encounter a glitch, as I experienced while testing.

A user can also decide to uninstall McAfee which is very easy to carry out. However, my McAfee contacts were able to resolve the issue by connecting me to a VPN.

McAfee Antivirus has undergone significant and numerous changes since my last review, following the company’s decision to shift to a purely consumer-focused model.

McAfee antivirus which provides protection plus now features a redesigned interface. MacAfee has six panels including Check your Protection Score, Antivirus, and Tracker. Also, Protect More Devices, Browser Security, and Secure Apps. 

Along the left side of the main window are icons for Home. My Protection, Protection Score, Account, Help, Settings, and Feedback.

For Android and iOS users, the mobile apps have also received a makeover, integrating McAfee’s protection into one app instead of three. However, Mac users will have to make do with the older interface for the time being. 

Lab Results 

Regarding anti-malware, it’s imperative to consider the results of independent testing labs. Three out of four independent testing labs regularly include McAfee Antivirus in their testing efforts. This is a positive indication that they consider it a significant product. 

While McAfee’s test scores range from perfect to good, it still performs well in the latest rounds of testing.

AV-Test Institute rates antivirus products depending on their ability to protect against malware, performance, and usability. In their latest test, McAfee web and software received the highest possible score of 18 points. This is an achievement shared by many other antivirus products such as Avast, Kaspersky, and Norton Antivirus Plus.

SE Labs uses a capture and replay system to challenge multiple antivirus tools with identical web-based attacks. In the latest round of testing, all the tested products, including McAfee, received the highest certification of AAA. Other antivirus products that reached the AAA level include Microsoft, Norton, and Webroot Secure Anywhere Antivirus.

AV-Comparatives publishes several tests. McAfee performs well across several of them, earning one Standard and two Advanced+ certifications. This is comparable to Norton. While Avast, AVG, and Bitdefender Antivirus Plus are the only products that hold an Advanced+ rating in the latest reports from all three tests.

An average lab score that puts all the lab scores on a 10-point scale gives McAfee a score of 9.7, which is quite good. While Kaspersky does slightly better with a score of 9.8, and AVG and Bitdefender have a perfect score of 10. McAfee still performs well overall. Avast, which is tested by all four labs, receives the highest score of 9.6 points.

Overall, the results of independent testing labs suggest that McAfee Antivirus Plus is a reliable and effective antivirus solution.

Malware Protection 

Apart from depending on independent testing labs, it’s also necessary to conduct hands-on malware protection tests. This is to evaluate antivirus products with identity theft protection in mind. This process is essential and critical, especially for products that don’t appear in lab reports. 

McAfee software is tested in three labs. Though, hands-on testing can provide an opportunity to experience its antivirus protection. The Total Protection Ultimate package is considered the best in the market and includes a total protection plan. McAfee offers life-safe and total protection to multiple devices, and support is available.


To conduct and evaluate hands-on testing, a collection of malware samples is opened. This is done to determine the antivirus’ effectiveness in detecting and removing threats. With the newest malware collection, McAfee software was able to put together almost all the samples immediately upon launch. The remaining samples were detected and blocked after launch.

 Mcafee is one antivirus with total security and beats other antivirus brands. Mcafee also provides webcam protection. McAfee is an excellent antivirus. McAfee’s detection rate of 98% and a score of 9.7 out of 10 points beats almost every other product tested. With the same sample set, G Data Antivirus and Zone Alarm ranked higher at 9.8 points, and Norton led the pack at 9.9.

To assess how antivirus works, a feed of the latest discoveries from MRG-Effitas is used. This feed provides a list of malware-hosting URLs discovered in the wild over the last few days. This is then fed into a program that records whether the antivirus blocked access to the URL, eliminated the malware download, or did nothing.

McAfee’s Web Advisor component managed to block 10% of the URLs in several ways.  MacAfee blocked this by diverting the browser to a warning page for some or stopping the browser from opening altogether. For the remaining 90%, McAfee scanned the downloads and blocked 83% of the URLs at the download stage, for a total of 93%.

This is still a good result, but previous tests have shown that McAfee software has always reached 100% protection. Norton on the other hand while tested with the same set of URLs, scored 94%. Sophos, Trend Micro, and Zone Alarm all scored 100% in their latest malicious download tests.

Overall, hands-on malware protection testing confirms that McAfee Antivirus Plus is a reliable and effective antivirus solution. Mcafee automatically after installation and offers a layer of real-time protection.

Scan and Scheduling 

Running a full scan after installing a new antivirus is pivotal and necessary. This can identify and remove any existing malware on the system. The antivirus scan is the total protection basic.


 In the case of McAfee Antivirus Plus, the initial full scan took two hours and 53 minutes, making it the slowest among current products and more than twice the current average. However, optimization during the scan allowed a repeat scan to finish slightly faster, at two hours and 16 minutes.

In comparison, most competing products required little time for the initial scan. Some even gained more speed during the process of a scan as McAfee detected malicious attacks. 

For instance, Trend Micro’s initial scan time went from 93 minutes to three minutes. Vipre Antivirus Plus finished its second scan in just 16 minutes, down from 100 minutes for the first scan.

While real-time antivirus protection should be enough to handle new threats, McAfee schedules a full scan every other week as an added layer of protection. Users have the option to switch to scanning once a week or once a month or create a custom schedule that suits their needs.

Phishing Protection

Phishing attacks have become a prevalent, common, and effective way for hackers to have access to account credentials. In contrast to traditional malware attacks, phishing attacks rely on tricking users into voluntarily giving away their login information. 

Fraudulent sites can spread in several ways like spam emails, fake social media messages, and malicious ads. These sites can target any website that requires login credentials, including banking and gaming sites or dating apps.

Phishing sites are designed to closely mimic the actual site, often featuring identical logos and layouts. Since these sites are constantly being created and taken down. It can be difficult for antivirus software to keep up with them.

The latest reported phishing sites are scraped from websites that track them to test an antivirus program’s ability to detect and block phishing sites. This test includes known and verified frauds as well as those that have been reported but haven’t yet gone through analysis.

To test McAfee Antivirus Plus’s phishing protection, the reviewer launched each URL simultaneously in four browsers. One browser was protected by the product in testing, while the other three depended on built-in protection from Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge. After running through hundreds of reported phishing URLs, and that couldn’t be reached or were not able to be verified were discarded.

Based on these tests, McAfee’s Web Advisor component blocked 10% of the URLs by diverting the browser to a warning page or stopping the browser from opening at all. For the other 90%, McAfee scanned the downloads to ensure they were safe. Generally, McAfee blocked 83% of the URLs at the download stage, for a total of 93%. While this score is not perfect, it’s a good result and provides users with solid phishing protection.

Testing Ransomware Protection

McAfee’s ransomware protection operates in the background, without any visible presence. It is integrated with the real-time protection feature and detects brand-new ransomware attacks based on their behavior.

 The antivirus makes protected copies of the files being encrypted and isolates the ransomware, restoring the files from the backup. This process is similar to Trend Micro’s approach to ransomware protection.

To test the zero-day capability, the author turned off the real-time protection and ran the ransomware component. However, turning off the real-time protection also disabled the ransomware component.

To test on-sight malware recognition, the author was able to use hand-modified versions of each sample, but McAfee blocked them all. The author then created a new set of modified samples.

McAfee caught four out of a dozen samples as ransomware and another seven as generic malware. However, one ransomware sample was missing, which was a surprise.

The author tested McAfee’s ransomware-fighting skills using KnowBe4’s RanSim, a ransomware simulator. At first, McAfee quarantined RanSim’s launcher and data collection components, but after adding them to the exclusions list, it did not recognize the RanSim threat. This outcome is typical of antivirus protection software.

While the test results show that McAfee can recognize ransomware. Results may not always recognize modified ransomware samples, and may often identify ransomware as generic malware.

Firewall Protection

McAfee software, which has extra features, is unique in offering a high-standard antivirus program that includes firewall protection. In testing, the firewall successfully blocked all web-based attacks and hid all ports. However, since the built-in Windows Firewall can do the same, this test is only critical if a third-party firewall fails it.

Early personal firewalls presented incomprehensible queries that confused and frustrated users. McAfee has addressed this issue by allowing its firewall to make decisions in its default Smart Access mode.

While there are numerous ways to fine-tune the firewall, many users should not change the settings. Users who miss pop-ups can switch to Monitored Access. 

In testing the firewall, it was noted that it asked what to do when an off-brand browser attempted to access the internet. And whether to allow access to Opera and Windows Defender SmartScreen.

 However, the firewall correctly steered clear of malware attempts to modify its registry data. It protected its 14 processes and seven essential Windows services. However, two services were stopped and disabled, and it is unclear why the developers didn’t extend protection to all of them.

Firewall protection must remain unobtrusive to prevent users from accidentally breaking their systems. McAfee’s default setting allows the firewall to make the correct decisions, making it user-friendly.

Protection Center and Protection Score

 To access the Protection, Score feature, click the circle icon in the left-rail menu. This leads to a page explaining the feature and a link to McAfee’s Protection Center online. The Protection Score rates the user’s protection level on a scale of 0 to 1,000 points and offers recommendations for improvement, making it easy to understand.

 According to McAfee’s studies, more than half of the users who were given a simple way to improve their score would take the opportunity to do so. This led to better security and identity protection.

Developers who often visit antivirus companies recognize McAfee as the best antivirus, particularly for mobile security. McAfee offers excellent protection features that outperform those of other devices.

Nevertheless, most of the possible improvements are related to identity protection, which is only available in McAfee’s suite products. After a few minor items, the Protection page displayed a message. The message indicated that there were no items left to improve the score.

Besides, the Protection Center provided links to download and install McAfee’s VPN and parental control products, which were not pertinent to the feature. McAfee confirmed that this issue would be fixed, and we will revisit the Protection Center when reviewing McAfee’s suite products.

Many antiviruses like McAfee provide virus protection that is necessary for devices with Mcafee protection giving users the confidence to work with their devices.

MacOS Devices

To add a mobile device to your McAfee subscription, you can click on the “Protect more devices” panel in the main window of the Windows edition. Once you do, you’ll see a list of all devices currently connected to your McAfee subscription and a QR code. By scanning that code with your Android device, you’ll start the process of installing McAfee.

On the other hand, you can choose to send a link via email or SMS, but the QR code makes things much more straightforward. McAfee requires several permissions, as it is synonymous with Android security products, but it helpfully guides you through the process.

The Android version of this software has undergone significant changes since the last review. It now feels more like an interactive experience than just an app. It offers a steady stream of recommendations for configuring and optimizing your security. Every moment you make progress, your protection increases, and you’ll receive a congratulatory pop-up with flashy fireworks.

Originally, you’ll run a scan, configure safe browsing, and enable the VPN. You can also scan your Wi-Fi network’s security and add it to the trusted list if desired. Your Protection Score steadily increases as you complete these tasks.

On the other hand, as previously mentioned, you won’t be able to improve your protection score steadily. There have to be identity protection features that are only available in suite-level products.

McAfee Antivirus 

McAfee basic Antivirus offers VPN protection within its mobile apps, but it’s not available on desktop installations. With a simple tap, users can access the fastest server, which encrypts all web traffic, making it impossible for anyone, including the Wi-Fi network’s owner, to snoop.

The VPN also hides your IP address, making it impossible for websites to detect your location. Besides, you can use the VPN to spoof your location, providing access to location-locked content.

A user is guaranteed McAfee total protection and can choose from 48 countries with the McAfee VPN, which makes it simple to use. As much as users have the choice to choose an antivirus that works for them, McAfee is still the best.

The VPN is made to work when connected to an unsecured Wi-Fi network. Nonetheless, users can choose to have it on all the time or activate it manually. The VPN now has some technical features, such as the use of the Wire Guard protocol.

The Android version now offers “App-level protection,” also known as split tunneling. This feature allows users to use a VPN for security-sensitive apps while allowing lag-sensitive apps to connect directly.

When a mobile device switches between Wi-Fi networks or cell towers, VPN must reconnect. There is a slim chance that some data might go through in the clear before the connection is secured again.

To combat this, users can turn on “Safe Reconnect,” a feature that suppresses all web traffic until the VPN is back on. This is similar to a “Kill Switch,” but McAfee refers to it as Safe Reconnect.

Wi-Fi Scan 

McAfee’s Wi-Fi Scan feature helps spot and inform users when they connect to an unencrypted Wi-Fi network. Though connecting to such a network is not safe, at times it might be necessary. If users connect to one, the feature offers to turn on the VPN. 


Additionally, you can perform a more detailed scan anytime you want. If the quick scan determines the network is safe, add it to your trusted networks. 

The feature notifies you when you connect to a network, telling you whether it is safe or not. For those who use McAfee, you can customize this to notify you only about unsafe networks.

It also claims to notify you when your network is under attack, but I could not find a way to test this feature. This is a great feature to complement the VPN and enhance the security of your device.

McAfee Antivirus Plus

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McAfee Antivirus Plus doesn’t rank at the top. It receives good ratings from both independent testing labs and our tests. The most complete protection comes from installing it on Windows, though certain long-standing features are scheduled for removal.
 McAfee’s Android and iOS apps have been overhauled. Focusing on safeguarding the customer’s privacy, identity, and devices, with the Protection Score at the forefront to encourage improvements.
The Android app lost anti-theft features, and the Mac version has fewer features than the Windows version. However, McAfee’s unlimited licensing makes it an attractive choice for households with multiple platforms. Additionally, it now works well with Chromebooks and ARM-based laptops.
For antivirus protection on a limited number of PCs, other Choice options are available. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus excels in independent lab tests and has many useful bonus features, while Webroot Secure Anywhere Antivirus is the smallest antivirus program and includes a unique journal and rollback system for repairing ransomware damage.
 Finally, the best choice depends on what you need to safeguard. We, therefore, advise users to use MacAfee. Users can learn more about antivirus in the services we review.