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Review: G Data Internet Security 2012

10 May 2011, Mike Williams

Internet security suites are often overly complex, the sheer volume of features making it hard to find the ones you need.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. G Data Internet Security 2012 has plenty of functionality – there are two antivirus engines, strong real-time protection features, a powerful firewall, antispam, browsing protection and more – yet the program also pays real attention to usability, with a clean interface that will have most users feeling at home right away.

The program’s console displays all the information you need in clear view, for instance: the date of your last virus signature update, the status of each security module, your overall security status, the program licence expiry date, and more.

Common actions are available from sensibly categorised lists.  Do you want to run a quick antivirus scan?  Turn off your firewall, just temporarily, for testing?  Manually check for a signature update?  There’s no hunting through complex menus, everything you need is only a couple of clicks away.

And the more advanced controls are just as easy to locate.  If you’d like to tweak the firewall, say, just click Firewall > Open Firewall, and you can redefine your trusted networks, view the logs, and create or edit firewall rules to suit your needs. So there’s no problem uncovering Internet Security 2012’s features, then – but how well do they perform?


One of G Data’s primary selling points is their use of two antivirus engines in a single product, a technique that makes a real difference to their detection rates.

The February 2011 AV Comparatives report on on-demand detection, for instance, saw G Data AntiVirus 2011 come top of the list, detecting an impressive 99.8% of the malware on test. And Internet Security 2012 seemed just as effective to us, with the program picking up 100% of our own samples.

Performance suffers a little, though, as files must be examined twice.  And so it was no surprise to see the program take a resolutely average 167 minutes to fully scan our test system.

Still, perhaps part of the reason for the lack of speed is that G Data Internet Security 2012 doesn’t hog all your system resources. Even while scanning it achieved no more than 6% CPU utilisation on our system, and so we were able to carry on working on other things as the program ran in the background.

And if that’s not for you, there’s always the option to schedule unattended scans to run whenever you like.  Or you can simply allow the program to scan your system when it’s idle.

G Data Internet Security 2012 may not be the fastest malware detector, then, but this was never a real problem for us. And its accuracy and high detection rates are more than adequate compensation.


The browsing protection on offer here is a little basic, by comparison to some security suites. So there’s no browser toolbar; no warning icons for search engine results, highlighting dangerous links; no password manager or other high-level extras.

Of course if you prefer the lightweight approach then this may be a good thing, and certainly G Data Internet Security 2012 does well on the browsing fundamentals.

The program checks the URLs you visit against a database of malicious sites, for example, blocking access if there’s a match. And even if the page passes that test, Internet Security 2012 will still scan your HTTP traffic, removing malware before it can cause any harm.

To get a feel for how this might work, we tried to visit twenty malicious sites.  IE warned us of 5; Firefox 8; but Internet Security 2012 was the clear victor, alerting us to 15, an 75% success rate.  (And the program’s behaviour monitoring may have detected any malware downloaded on the remaining sites, though we didn’t stop to test this.)

Not a perfect record, then, but effective enough to be useful. And for good measure, Internet Security 2012 can also scan your instant messaging traffic; it only integrates with Microsoft Messenger and Trillian, however you can have it check other programs, too, simply by specifying the port you’d like to be monitored.

Capable firewall

G Data Internet Security 2012 additionally includes a capable firewall, which by default runs in “autopilot mode”, making intelligent decisions on what can (and can’t) go online without ever hassling you with alerts.  (But if you’re the hands-on type then you can turn this off, as well as customising the firewall’s protection with many other manual tweaks.)

You also get a spam filter, which isn’t bad by the standards of a security suite: it blocked 72% of our test junk emails, and only misidentified a single message (and that was a mailing list email).

And this is also very configurable, so adjusting your whitelist, blacklist, keyword filters and a host of other low-level tweaks may improve the filter’s detection rates.

Elsewhere, bonus extras include rather basic parental controls, which allow you to restrict access to the web both by content, and time of day.  And the option to create a bootable CD may help you to remove viruses from an already-infected PC.

G Data Internet Security 2012 is missing high-end features like system tuning, backup and recovery, then. If that’s a problem then you should probably wait for the 2012 edition of Internet Security’s big brother, G Data TotalCare.

The suite is otherwise very capable, though: easy to use, highly configurable and with excellent malware detection rates. If you’re looking for a relatively lightweight suite that won’t get in your way, then G Data Internet Security 2012 is definitely worth taking for a spin: grab a copy of the trial and see how it works for you.

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